09 Feb 2023
 | 09 Feb 2023
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Monitoring Glacier Calving using Underwater Sound

Jarosław Tęgowski, Oskar Glowacki, Michał Ciepły, Małgorzata Błaszczyk, Jacek Jania, Mateusz Moskalik, Philippe Blondel, and Grant B. Deane

Abstract. Climate shifts are particularly conspicuous in the Arctic. Satellite and terrestrial observations show significant increases in the melting and breakup of Arctic tidewater glaciers and their influence on sea level rise. Increasing melt rates are creating an urgency to better understand the link between atmospheric and oceanic conditions and glacier frontal ablation through iceberg calving and melting. Elucidating this link requires a combination of short and long-time scale measurements of terminus activity. Recent work has demonstrated the potential of using underwater sound to quantify the time and scale of calving events to yield integrated estimates of ice mass loss (Glowacki and Deane, 2020). Here, we present estimates of subaerial calving flux using underwater sound recorded at Hansbreen, Svalbard in September 2013 combined with an algorithm for the automatic detection of calving events. The method is compared with ice calving volumes estimated from geodetic measurements of the movement of the glacier terminus and an analysis of satellite images. The total volume of above-water calving during the 26 days of acoustical observation is estimated to be 1.7 ± 0.7 × 107 m3, whereas the subaerial calving flux estimated by traditional methods is 7 ± 2 × 106 m3. The results suggest that passive cryoacoustics is a viable technique for long-term monitoring of mass loss from marine-terminating glaciers.

Jarosław Tęgowski et al.

Status: open (until 03 May 2023)

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  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-115', Evgeny A. Podolskiy, 14 Mar 2023 reply

Jarosław Tęgowski et al.

Jarosław Tęgowski et al.


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Short summary
Receding tidewater glaciers are important contributors to sea level rise. Understanding their dynamics and developing models for their attrition has become a matter of global concern. Long-term monitoring of glacier frontal ablation is very difficult. Here we show for the first time that calving fluxes can be estimated from the underwater sounds made by icebergs impacting the sea surface. This development has important application to understanding the response of glaciers to warming oceans.