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Short Term Variations of Tracer Transit Speed on Alpine Glaciers : Volume 4, Issue 2 (18/05/2010)

By Werder, M. A.

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Book Id: WPLBN0003991262
Format Type: PDF Article :
File Size: Pages 43
Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: Short Term Variations of Tracer Transit Speed on Alpine Glaciers : Volume 4, Issue 2 (18/05/2010)  
Author: Werder, M. A.
Volume: Vol. 4, Issue 2
Language: English
Subject: Science, Cryosphere, Discussions
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection, Copernicus GmbH
Publication Date:
Publisher: Copernicus Gmbh, Göttingen, Germany
Member Page: Copernicus Publications


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Funk, M., Schuler, T. V., & Werder, M. A. (2010). Short Term Variations of Tracer Transit Speed on Alpine Glaciers : Volume 4, Issue 2 (18/05/2010). Retrieved from

Description: Versuchsanstalt für Wasserbau, Hydrologie und Glaziologie (VAW), ETH Zürich, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland. We present and interpret the results of a series of tracer experiments conducted on an Alpine glacier over a diurnal discharge cycle. For these injections, a moulin was used into which an ice marginal lake was draining, providing a relatively constant discharge. Measured tracer transit speeds show two diurnal maxima and minima. These findings are qualitatively different from existing observations from two series of injections at another site using a moulin fed by supraglacial meltwater with a high diurnal variability, which displayed one diurnal maximum and minimum.

We use a simple two-component model of the glacier drainage system, comprising a moulin and a channel element, to simulate the measured transit speeds for all three injection series. The model successfully reproduces all the observations and shows that the same underlying processes can produce the qualitatively different behaviour depending on the different moulin input discharge regimes. Using the model, we asses the relative importance of the different measurement parameters, show that frequent measurements of moulin input discharge are indispensable and propose an experiment design to monitor the development of the drainage system over several weeks.

Short term variations of tracer transit speed on Alpine glaciers

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