Fluctuations of tidewater glaciers in Hornsund Fjord (Southern Svalbard) since the beginning of the 20th century

Open access


Significant retreat of glaciers terminating in Hornsund Fjord (Southern Spits− bergen, Svalbard) has been observed during the 20th century and in the first decade of the 21st century. The objective of this paper is to present, as complete as possible, a record of front positions changes of 14 tidewater glaciers during this period and to distinguish the main factors influencing their fluctuations. Results are based on a GIS analysis of archival maps, field measurements, and aerial and satellite images. Accuracy was based on an as− sessment of seasonal fluctuations of a glacier’s ice cliff position with respect to its mini− mum length in winter (November-December) and its maximum advance position in June or July.Morphometric features and the environmental setting of each glacier are also pre− sented. The total area of the glacier cover in Hornsund Fjord in the period of 1899-2010 diminished approximately 172 km2, with an average areal retreat rate of 1.6 km2a−1. The recession rate increased from ~1 km2a−1 in first decades of the 20th century up to ~3 km2a−1 in years 2001-2010. The latest period was more thoroughly studied using optical satellite images acquired almost every year. The importance of glacier morphology and hypspmetry, as well as fjord bathymetry and topography is analyzed. Large glacier systemswith low slopes terminating in deeper waters are retreating faster than small steep glaciers ter− minating in shallower water. A relation between mean annual air temperature and aerial retreat rate of tidewater glaciers was found for long time scales. A sudden temperature in− crease, known as the early 20th century warming in Svalbard, and an increase in temperatures during recent decades are well reflected in deglaciation rate. Influence of sea water temperatures on calving and retreat of glaciers was considered and is significant in short−time intervals of the last decade. Surge events are non−climatic factors which com− plicate the record. They are reflected in front advance or fast retreat due to a massive calving depending on the relation between ice thickness and water depth. Despite the influence of many factors, the response of tidewater glaciers to climate change is evident. The average linear retreat rate of all the tidewater glaciers in Hornsund amounted to ~70 ma−1 in 2001-2010 and was higher than the average retreat of other Svalbard tidewater glaciers (~45 ma−1). Thus, glaciers of this basin can be considered as more sensitive to climate than glaciers of other regions of the archipelago.

ACIA 2005. Arctic Climate Impact Assessment. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 1460 pp.

ARENDT A., LUTHCKE S.B., LARSEN C.F.,ABDALATI W.,KRABILL W. and BEEDLE M.J. 2008. Val− idation of high−resolution GRACE mascon estimates of glacier mass changes in the St Elias Mountains, Alaska, USA, using aircraft laser altimetry. Journal of Glaciology 54: 778-787.

BARNA S. 1987 (ed.) Topographic maps 1:25000, Institute of Geophysics Polish Academy of Sci− ences, Warsaw (based on aerial photos).

BIRKENMAJER K. 1978a. Cambrian succession in south Spitsbergen. Studia Geologica Polonica 59: 7-46.

BIRKENMAJER K. 1978b. Ordovician succession in south Spitsbergen. Studia Geologica Polonica 59: 47-82.

BIRKENMAJER K. 1990. Hornsund, Spitsbergen. Geologia - Geology 1 : 75 000. Uniwersytet Śląski, Katowice: 42 pp. + 1 map.

BŁASZCZYK M., JANIA J.A. and HAGEN J.O. 2009. Tidewater glaciers of Svalbard: Recent changes and estimates of calving fluxes. Polish Polar Research 30 (2): 85-142.

BROWN C.S.,MEIER M.F. and POST A. 1982. Calving speed of Alaska tidewater glaciers with appli− cation to Columbia Glacier. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper C1-C13: 1044-9612.

CARLSEN M., HAGEN J.O. and LØNNE I. 2003. Glacier front retreat in Van Keulenfjorden, Svalbard, during the last 100 years. In: S. Bondevik, M. Hald, E. Isaksson, N. Koc and T. Vorren (eds) 33rd Annual Arctic Workshop Polar Environmental Centre, Tromsø, Norway, 3-5 April 2003. Norsk Polarinstitutt Internrapport 13: 63 pp.

DOWDESWELL J.A. 1989. On the nature of Svalbard icebergs. Journal of Glaciology 35 (120): 224-234.

DOWDESWELL J.A. and HAGEN J.O. 2004. Arctic ice masses. Chapter 15. In: J.L. Bamber and A.J. Payne (eds) Mass Balance of the Cryosphere. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 712 pp.

DOWDESWELL J.A.,BENHAM T. J., STROZZI T. andHAGEN J.O. 2008. Iceberg calving flux and mass balance of the Austfonna ice cap on Nordaustlandet, Svalbard. Journal of Geophysical Research 113, F03022.

DOWDESWELL J.A., HAMILTON G. and HAGEN J.O. 1991. The duration of the active phase on surge− type glaciers: contrasts between Svalbard and other regions. Journal of Glaciology 37 (127): 86-98.

DOWDESWELL J.A., DREWRY D.J., LIESTØL O. and ORHEIM O. 1984. Airborne radio echo sounding of sub−polar glaciers in Spitsbergen. Norsk Polarinstitutt Skrifter 182: 41 pp.

FØRLAND E.J. and HANSSEN−BAUER I. 2003. Past and future climate variations in the Norwegian Arctic: overview and novel analyses. Polar Research 22: 113-124.

GEER DE G. 1923. Environs de la Station Russe d'Hivernage par Gerard de Geer 1910. 1:50000. PI.F.

GRABIEC M., PUCZKO D., BUDZIK T. and GAJEK G. 2011. Snow distribution patterns on Svalbard glaciers derived from radio−echo soundings. Polish Polar Research 32 (4): 393-421.

GRABIEC M., JANIA J., PUCZKO D., KOLONDRA L. and BUDZIK T. 2012. Surface and bed morphol− ogy of Hansbreen, a tidewater glacier in Spitsbergen. Polish Polar Research 33 (2): 111-138.

GRZEŚ M., KRÓL M. and SOBOTA I. 2009. Submarine evidence of the Aavatsmark and Dahl Glaciers fluctuations in the Kaffiøyra region, NW Spitsbergen. Polish Polar Research 30 (2): 143-160.

HAGEN J.O., LIESTØL O., ROLAND E. and JØRGENSEN T. 1993. Glacier Atlas of Svalbard and Jan Mayen. Norsk Polarinstitutt Meddelelser 129: 141 pp.

HAGEN J.O.,MELVOLD K., PINGLOT F. and DOWDESWELL J.A. 2003. On the Net Mass Balance of the Glaciers and Ice Caps in Svalbard, Norwegian Arctic. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 35 (2): 264-168.

HAMILTON G.S. and DOWDESWELL J.A. 1996. Controls on glacier surging in Svalbard. Journal ofGlaciology 42 (140): 157-422.

HANSEN−BAUER I., EDVARDSEN K., FØRLAND E.J. and LØYNING T.B. 2006. Assessment of the state of the environment and responses: climate. In: G. Sander, I. Hanssen−Bauer, A. Bjørge and P. Prestrud (eds) The Environmental Monitoring of Svalbard and Jan Mayen - MOSJ. Documenta− tion of the system and the first assessment of the state of the environment. Norsk PolarinstituttRaportserie 123: 30-41.

HARLAND W.B. (ed.) 1997. The geology of Svalbard. The Geological Society Memoir 17, London: 521 pp.

HOEL A. (ed.) 1991. The Place−names of Svalbard. Reprinted from: Skrifter om Svalbard og ishavet. Nr. 80, Oslo, 1942 + Supplement. In: A.K. Orvin (ed.) Skrifter 12. Norsk Polarinstitutt, Oslo: 540 pp.

HOPPE G. 1959. Glacial morphology and inland ice recession in Northern Sweden. GeografiscaAnnaler 41: 193-212.

HOWAT I.M., JOUGHIN I., FAHNESTOCK M., SMITH B.E. and SCAMBOS T. 2008. Synchronous re− treat and acceleration of southeast Greenland outlet glaciers 2000-2006: ice dynamics and cou− pling to climate. Journal of Glaciology 54 (187): 646-660.

IPCC 2007. Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I tothe Fourth Assessment. Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, U.K.

JANIA J. 1988. Dynamiczne procesy glacjalne na południowym Spitsbergenie (w świetle badańfotointerpretacyjnych i fotogrametrycznych). Prace Naukowe Uniwersytetu Śląskiego w Kato− wicach, Katowice: 258 pp. (in Polish)

JANIA J., GŁOWACKI P., KOLONDRA L., PERSKI Z., PIWOWAR B., PULINA M., SZAFRANIEC J., BUKOWSKA−JANIA E. andDOBIŃSKI W. 2003. Lodowce otoczenia Hornsundu. In: A.Kostrzewski and Z. Zwoliński (ed.) Funkcjonowanie dawnych i współczesnych geoekosystemów Spitsbergenu. Stowarzyszenie Geomorfologów Polskich, Poznań-Longyearbyen: 190 pp. (in Polish)

JANIA J. A., GRABIEC M., GAJEK G., KOLONDRA L., GŁOWACKI P. and PUCZKO D. 2006. Changes in the topography of selected glaciers in Southern Spitsbergen in the light of the GPS survey in 2005. Extended abstracts. Workshop and GLACIODYN planning meeting, 29 January - 3 Feb−ruary 2006. Obergurgl (Austria) IASC Working group on Arctic Glaciology: 54-59.

JISKOOT H., BOYLE P. andMURRAY T. 1998. The incidence of glacier surging in Svalbard: evidence from multivariate statistic. Computer & Geoscience 24 (4): 387-399.

KARCZEWSKI A., ANDRZEJEWSKI L., CHMAL H., JANIA J., KŁYSZ P., KOSTRZEWSKI A., LINDNER L., MARKS L., PĘKALA K., PULINA M., RUDOWSKI S., STANKOWSKI W., SZCZYPEK T. and WIŚNIEWSKI E. 1984. Hornsund, Spitsbergen. Geomorfologia - Geomorphology 1 : 75 000. Uniwersytet Śląski, Katowice: 26 pp. + 1 map.

KORONA J.E., BERTHIER M., BERNARD M. RÉMY F. and THOUVENOT E. 2009. SPIRIT. SPOT 5 ste− reoscopic survey of Polar Ice: Reference images and topographies during the fourth international polar year (2007-2009). ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 64 (2): 204-212.

KORYAKIN W.S. 1975a. Położenije i morfologija lednikow. In: L.S. Troickij, E.M. Zinger, W.S.

Koryakin, W.A. Markin, W.I. Mihalev (eds) Oledinienije Szpicbergena (Svalbarda). Nauka, Moskwa: 7-40.

KORYAKIN W.S. 1975b. Kolebanija lednikov. In: L.S. Troickij, E.M. Zinger, W.S. Koryakin, W.A. Markin, W.I. Mihalev (eds) Oledinienije Szpicbergena (Svalbarda). Nauka, Moskwa: 165-186.

KORYAKIN W.S. 1985. Kolebanija lednikov w otdelnych oblastjach archipelaga. In: V.M. Kotljakov (ed.) Gljaciologija Szpicbergena. Nauka, Moskwa: 80-89.

LIESTØL O. 1969. Glacier surges in West Spitsbergen. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 6 (4): 895-987.

ŁUPIKASZA E. 2013. Atmospheric precipitation. In: A. Marsz and A. Styszyńska (eds) Climate andClimate Change at Hornsund, Svalbard. The Publishing House of Gdynia Maritime University, Gdynia: 402 pp.

MANSELL D., LUCKMAN A. and MURRAY T. 2012. Dynamics of tidewater surge−type glaciers in northwest Svalbard. Journal of Glaciology 58 (207): 110-118.

MARSZ A. and STYSZYŃSKA A. (eds) 2013. Climate and Climate Change at Hornsund, Svalbard. The Publishing House of Gdynia Maritime University, Gdynia: 402 pp.

MEIER M.F. and POST A.S. 1969. What are glacier surges? Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 6: 807-817.

MEIER M.F. and POST A.S. 1987. Fast tidewater glaciers. Journal of Geophysical Research 92 (B9): 9051-9058.

MERCER J.H. 1961. The response of fjords glaciers to change in the firn limit. Journal of Glaciology 3 (29): 850-858.

MOHOLDT G., NUTH C., HAGEN J.O. and KOHLER J. 2010. Recent elevation changes of Svalbard glaciers derived from ICESat laser altimetry. Remote Sensing of Environment 114: 2756-2767.

MOSKALIK M., BŁASZCZYK M. and JANIA J. (in press) Statistical analysis of Brepollen bathymetry as a key to determine average depths on a glacier foreland. Geomorhphology.

MOSKALIK M., GRABOWIECKI P., TĘGOWSKI J. and ŻULICHOWSKA M. 2013. Bathymetry and geo− graphical regionalization of Brepollen (Hornsund, Spitsbergen) based on bathymetric profiles interpolations. Polish Polar Research 34 (1): 1-22.

MOSKALIK M., TĘGOWSKI J.,GRABOWIECKI P. and ŻULICHOWSKA M. (in press). Principal Compo− nent and Claster Analysis for determining diversification of bottom morphology based on bathymetric profiles from Brepollen (Hornsund, Spitsbergen). Oceanologia.

MOTYKA R.J., HUNTER L., ECHELMEYER K.A. and CONNOR C. 2003. Submarine melting at the ter− minus of a temperate tidewater glacier, LeConte Glacier, Alaska, U.S.A. Annals of Glaciology 36: 57-65.

NIEDŹWIEDŹ T. 2013. The atmospheric circulation. In: A. Marsz and A. Styszyńska (eds) Climateand Climate Change at Hornsund, Svalbard. The Publishing House of Gdynia Maritime Univer− sity, Gdynia: 402 pp.

NORDLI P.Ø. and KOHLER J. 2003. The early 20th century warming. Daily observations at GreenHarbour, Grønfjorden, Spitsbergen. Oslo, Det Norske Meteorologiske Institutt. DNMI KLIMA Rapp. 12/03.

NUTH C., KOHLER J., AAS H.F., BRANDT O. and HAGEN J.O. 2007. Glacier geometry and elevation changes on Svalbard (1936-90): a baseline dataset. Annals of Glaciology 46: 106-116.

NUTH C., MOHOLDT G., KOHLER J., HAGEN J.O. and KÄÄB A. 2010. Svalbard glacier elevation changes and contribution to sea level rise. Journal of Geophysical Research 115, F01008: 16 pp.

O’LEARY M. and CHRISTOFFERSEN P. 2013. Calving on tidewater glaciers amplified by submarine frontal melting. The Cryosphere 7: 119-128.

PÄLLI A., MOORE J., JANIA J. and GŁOWACKI P. 2003. Glacier changes in Southern Spitsbergen, Svalbard 1901-2000. Annals of Glaciology 37: 219-225.

PILLEWIZER W. 1939. Die kartographischen und gletscherkundlichen Ergebnisse der deutschen Spitz−bergen−expedition 1938. Ergänzungsheft Nr. 238 zu Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen, Justus Perthes, Gotha: 46 pp. + 2 maps.

RACHLEWICZ G., SZCZUCIŃSKI W. and EWERTOWSKI M. 2007. Post−“Little Ice Age” retreat rates of glaciers around Billefjorden in central Spitsbergen, Svalbard. Polish Polar Research 28 (3): 159-186.

SEALE A., CHRISTOFFERSEN P.,MUGFORD R.I. and O’LEARY M. 2011. Ocean forcing of the Green− land ice sheet: calving fronts and patterns of retreat identified by automatic satellite monitoring of eastern outlet glaciers. Journal of Geophysical Research 116 (F3), F03013.

SCHILD K.M. and HAMILTON G.S. 2013. Seasonal variations of outlet glacier terminus position in Greenland. Journal of Glaciology 59 (116): 759-770.

SHARP M., BURGESS D.O., CAWKWELL F., COPLAND L., DAVIS J.A., DOWDESWELL E.K., DOW− DESWELL J.A., GARDNER A.S., MAIR D., WANG L., WILLIAMSON S.N., WOLKEN G.J. and WYATT F. (in press). Recent glacier changes in the Canadian Arctic. In: J.S. Kargel, M.P. Bishop, A. Kääb, B.H. Raup and G. Leonard (eds) Global Land Ice Measurements from Space:Satellite Multispectral Imaging of Glaciers. Praxis−Singer, Zürich.

STYSZYŃSKA A. 2009. Zlodzenie Hornsundu i jego przedpola (SW Spitsbergen) w sezonie zimowym 2007/2008. Problemy Klimatologii Polarnej 19: 247-267 (in Polish).

STYSZYŃSKA A. and KOWALCZYK M. 2007. Zlodzenie Hornsundu i jego przedpola (SW Spitsbergen) w sezonie zimowym 2005-2006. Problemy Klimatologii Polarnej 17: 147-158 (in Polish).

STYSZYŃSKA A. and ROZWADOWSKA A. 2008. Zlodzenie Hornsundu i jego przedpola (SW Spits− bergen)wsezonie zimowym 2006/2007. Problemy Klimatologii Polarnej 18: 141-160 (in Polish).

SUND M., BŁASZCZYK M., EIKEN T. and JANIA J.A. 2011. The implications of surge and tidewater glacier dynamics related to climate change response of Svalbard glaciers. In: M. Sund, On thedynamics of surge−type and tidewater glaciers in Svalbard. PhD thesis, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Oslo, No. 1147: 206 pp.

SUND M., EIKEN T.,HAGEN J.O. andKÄÄB A. 2009. Svalbard surge dynamics derived from geomet− ric changes. Annals of Glaciology 50 (52): 50-60.

SVENDSEN J.I. and MANGERUD J. 1997. Holocene glacial and climatic variations on Spitsbergen, Svalbard. The Holocene 7: 45-57.

SVENDSEN H., BESZCZYNSKA−MØLLER A., HAGEN J.O., LEFAUCONNIER B., TVERBERG V., GER− LAND S.,ØRBÆK J.B., BISCHOF K., PAPUCCI C., ZAJĄCZKOWSKI M.,AZZOLINI R., BRULAND O., WIENCKE C., WINTHER J.−G. and DALLMANN W. 2002. The physical environment of Kongs− fjorden−Krossfjorden, an Arctic fjord system in Svalbard. Polar Research 21: 133-166.

VAN DER VEEN C.J. 1996. Tidewater calving. Journal of Glaciology 42 (141): 375-385.

VIELI A., JANIA J. and KOLONDRA L. 2002. The retreat of a tidewater glacier: observations and model calculations on Hansbreen, Spitsbergen. Journal of Glaciology 48: 592-600.

VIELI A., JANIA J., BLATTER H. and FUNK M. 2004. Short−term velocity variations on Hansbreen, a tidewater glacier in Spitsbergen. Journal of Glaciology 50: 389-398.

VOIGT U. 1979. Zur Blockbevegung der Gletscher. Geodetische und Geophisische Veröffentlichungen, R. III, 44: 128 pp.

WALCZOWSKI W. 2009. Woda Arktyczna w Morzach Nordyckich - właściwości, zmienności, znacze−nie klimatyczne. Polska Akademia Nauk Instytut Oceanologii, Rozprawy i monografie 22/2009, Sopot: 241 pp. (in Polish).

WALCZOWSKI W. and PIECHURA J. 2006. New evidence of warming propagating toward the Arctic Ocean. Geophysical Research Letters 33, LI2601.

WALCZOWSKI W. and PIECHURA J. 2011. Influence of the West Spitsbergen Current on the local cli− mate. International Journal of Climatology 31 (7): 1088-1093.

WASSILIEW A.S. 1925. Océan Glacial arctique. Spitzberg. Région des travaux de l'expédition del'Académies de sciences de Russie pour la mesure d'un arc de méridien en 1899-1901. Carte dresie d'après les matériaux de l'expédition sous la rédactin de O.E. Stubendorff par A.S. Wassiliew. Échelle de 1:200 000.

WEYPRECHT C. 1875. Scientific Work of the Second Austro−Hungarian Polar Expedition, 1872-74. Journal of the Royal Geographical Society 45: 19-33.

WOUTERS B., CHAMBERS D. and SCHRAMA E.J.O. 2008. GRACE observes small−scale mass loss in Greenland. Geophysical Research Letters 35: 5, L20501.

ZIAJA W. 2001. Glacial recession in Sørkappland and central Nordenskiöldland, Spitsbergen, Svalbard, during the 20th century. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 33: 36-41.

ZIAJA W. and DUDEK J. 2011. Glacial recession. In:W. Ziaja (ed.) Transformation of the natural en−vironment in Western Sorkapp Land (Spitsbergen) since the 1980s. Wydawnictwo UJ, Kraków: 93 pp.

ZIAJA W., DUDEK J., LISOWSKA M., OLECH M., OSTAFIN K., OSYCZKA P. andWĘGRZYN M. 2011. Transformation of the natural environment in Western Sørkapp Land (Spitsbergen) since the1980s. Jagiellonian University Press, Cracow: 96 pp. + 6 maps.

Polish Polar Research

The Journal of Committee on Polar Research of Polish Academy of Sciences

Journal Information

IMPACT FACTOR 2016: 0.636
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 1.121

CiteScore 2016: 1.20

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2015: 0.556
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2015: 0.645

Cited By


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 333 296 22
PDF Downloads 164 154 15