Modulation of glacier ablation by tephra coverage from Eyjafjallajökull and Grímsvötn volcanoes, Iceland: an automated field experiment

Rebecca Möller, Marco Möller, Peter A. Kukla, Christoph Schneider
2018 Earth System Science Data  
<p><strong>Abstract.</strong> We report results from a field experiment investigating the influence of volcanic tephra coverage on glacier ablation. These influences are known to be significantly different from those of moraine debris on glaciers due to the contrasting grain size distribution and thermal conductivity. Thus far, the influences of tephra deposits on glacier ablation have rarely been studied. For the experiment, artificial plots of two different tephra types from Eyjafjallajökull
more » ... m Eyjafjallajökull and Grímsvötn volcanoes were installed on a snow-covered glacier surface of Vatnajökull ice cap, Iceland. Snow-surface lowering and atmospheric conditions were monitored in summer 2015 and compared to a tephra-free reference site. For each of the two volcanic tephra types, three plots of variable thickness ( ∼ <span class="thinspace"></span>1.5, ∼ <span class="thinspace"></span>8.5 and ∼ <span class="thinspace"></span>80<span class="thinspace"></span>mm) were monitored. After limiting the records to a period of reliable measurements, a 50-day data set of hourly records was obtained, which can be downloaded from the Pangaea data repository (<a href="" target="_blank"></a>; doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.876656). The experiment shows a substantial increase in snow-surface lowering rates under the ∼ <span class="thinspace"></span>1.5 and ∼ <span class="thinspace"></span>8.5<span class="thinspace"></span>mm tephra plots when compared to uncovered conditions. Under the thick tephra cover some insulating effects could be observed. These results are in contrast to other studies which depicted insulating effects for much thinner tephra coverage on bare-ice glacier surfaces. Differences between the influences of the two different petrological types of tephra exist but are negligible compared to the effect of tephra coverage overall.</p>
doi:10.5194/essd-10-53-2018 fatcat:4aqh763gi5aq3owb4tejwxqq4y