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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: brief communication 09 Jan 2019

Submitted as: brief communication | 09 Jan 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).

Brief communication: Supraglacial debris-cover changes in the Caucasus Mountains

Levan G. Tielidze1,5, Tobias Bolch2, Roger D. Wheate3, Stanislav S. Kutuzov4, Ivan I. Lavrentiev4, and Michael Zemp2 Levan G. Tielidze et al.
  • 1Department of Geomorphology, Vakhushti Bagrationi Institute of Geography, Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, 6 Tamarashvili st., Tbilisi, Georgia, 0177
  • 2Department of Geography, University of Zurich, 190 Winterthurerstrasse, Zurich Switzerland, CH-8057
  • 3Natural Resources and Environmental Studies, University of Northern British Columbia, 3333 University Way, Prince George, BC, Canada, V2N 4Z9
  • 4Department of Glaciology, Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 29 Staromonetniy Pereulok, Moscow, Russia 119017
  • 5Department of Earth Sciences, Georgian National Academy of Sciences, 52 Rustaveli Ave., Tbilisi, Georgia, 0108

Abstract. Debris cover on glaciers can significantly alter melt, and hence, glacier mass balance and runoff. Debris coverage typically increases with shrinking glaciers. Here, we present data on debris cover and its changes for 559 glaciers located in different regions of the Greater Caucasus mountains based on 1986, 2000 and 2014 Landsat and SPOT images. Over this time period, the total glacier area decreased from 691.5 km2 to 590.0 km2 (0.52 % yr−1). Thereby, the debris covered area increased from ~ 11 to ~ 24 % on the northern, and from ~ 4 to 10 % on the southern macro-slope between 1986 and 2014. Overall, we found 18 % debris cover for the year 2014. With the glacier shrinkage, debris-covered area and the number of debris-covered glaciers increased as a function of elevation, slope, aspect, glacier morphological type, Little Ice Age moraines, and lithology.

Levan G. Tielidze et al.
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Levan G. Tielidze et al.
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