Icings and their role as an important element of the cryosphere in High Arctic glacier forefields

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This study investigates icings and their role as an important element of the glacier forefields observed in the Kaffiøyra region in Svalbard. The emergence or disappearance of icings is one of the effects of changes observed in the area of a glacier and its catchment in the High Arctic. Icings were observed both in summer and spring in 1996–2015. The main objective was focused on the location and surface changes of the icings, as this is important for their responses to changes which occur across the cryosphere. In the forefields of most glaciers in the Kaffiøyra region, a generally declining trend is observed in the size of icing fields, with only occasional periods in which it increased. During the last five years, they have not been so large as they were in the preceding years. The degradation of High Arctic icings mainly occurs in summer, generally as a result of surface and mechanical ablation. The reach of icings is rather variable and their surface and thickness tend to change year by year, depending on hydrological conditions in the glacier’s system. Regardless of the causes of icings’ formation, their size, range and reach are related to the intensity of melting during a given season, which is conditioned by the weather, and especially by the winter outflow from a glacier.

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