Underwater acoustic signatures of glacier calving

TitleUnderwater acoustic signatures of glacier calving
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsGlowacki O., Deane GB, Moskalik M., Blondel P, Tegowski J., Blaszczyk M.
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Date Published2015/02
ISBN Number1944-8007
Keywords0720 Glaciers; 0732 Icebergs; 1637 Regional climate change; 4259 Ocean acoustics; 4540 Ice mechanics and air/sea/ice exchange processes; calving event; tidewater glacier; time-lapse photography; underwater acoustics

Climate-driven ice-water interactions in the contact zone between marine-terminating glaciers and the ocean surface show a dynamic and complex nature. Tidewater glaciers lose volume through the poorly understood process of calving. A detailed description of the mechanisms controlling the course of calving is essential for the reliable estimation and prediction of mass loss from glaciers. Here we present the potential of hydroacoustic methods to investigate different modes of ice detachments. High-frequency underwater ambient noise recordings are combined with synchronized, high-resolution, time-lapse photography of the Hans Glacier cliff in Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen, to identify three types of calving events: typical subaerial, sliding subaerial, and submarine. A quantitative analysis of the data reveals a robust correlation between ice impact energy and acoustic emission at frequencies below 200 Hz for subaerial calving. We suggest that relatively inexpensive acoustic methods can be successfully used to provide quantitative descriptions of the various calving types.

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