Initiation of a major calving event on Bowdoin Glacier captured by
Guillaume Jouvet1, Yvo Weidmann1, Julien Seguinot1, Martin Funk1, Takahiro Abe2, Daiki Sakakibara3, Hakime Seddik3, and Shin Sugiyama31ETHZ, VAW, Zurich, Switzerland 2Graduate School of Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan 3Institute of Low Temperature Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan
Received: 21 Oct 2016 – Accepted for review: 14 Nov 2016 – Discussion started: 16 Nov 2016
Abstract. In this paper, we analyse the calving activity of Bowdoin Glacier, north-west Greenland, in 2015 by combining satellite images, UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) photogrammetry and ice flow modelling. In particular, a high-resolution displacement field is inferred from UAV orthoimages taken immediately before and after the initiation of a large fracture, which induced a major calving event. A detailed analysis of the strain rate field allows us to map accurately the path taken by the opening crack. Modelling results reveal i) that the crack was more than half-thickness deep, filled with water, and getting irreversibly deeper when it was captured by the UAV and ii) that the crack initiated in an area of high horizontal shear caused by a local basal bump immediately behind the current calving front. The asymmetry of the bed at the front explains the systematic calving pattern observed in May and July–August 2015. As a corollary, we infer that the calving front of Bowdoin Glacier is currently stabilized by this bedrock bump and might enter in an unstable mode and retreat rapidly if the glacier keeps thinning in the coming years. Beyond this outcome, our study demonstrates that the combination of UAV photogrammetry and ice flow modelling is a promising tool to track horizontally and vertically the propagation of fractures responsible for large calving events.
Jouvet, G., Weidmann, Y., Seguinot, J., Funk, M., Abe, T., Sakakibara, D., Seddik, H., and Sugiyama, S.: Initiation of a major calving event on Bowdoin Glacier captured by
UAV photogrammetry, The Cryosphere Discuss., doi:10.5194/tc-2016-246, in review, 2016.