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Title: Mountain glacier health signatures stored in their three-dimensional ice surface geometry
Author: Hayes, Richard
ISNI:       0000 0004 5364 6403
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2014
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Mountain glaciers are amongst the fastest responding components of the cryosphere to climatic perturbations and are thus an essential parameter in climate system monitoring. However, despite advances in remote sensing approaches to glacier observation, there remains a dearth of information pertaining to how glaciers in many of the world's regions are faring in today's climate. Accordingly, this thesis investigates whether observations of three-dimensional ice surface geometry can be used to gain information concerning glacier state and climate forcing. The thesis commences with a thorough review and assessment of the physical mechanisms that cause mountain glaciers to tend towards a common surface geometry in response to climate forcing. The theorised relationship between climate forcing and three-dimensional ice surface geometry is then tested using empirical observations by comparing ice surface information, obtained through remote sensing, with well-established glacier-climate indices such as ELA and mass balance. Our understanding of the relationship between climate forcing and three-dimensional ice surface geometry is then further developed through a number of experiments whereby glacier fluctuations are driven by various mass balance forcing mechanisms using the iSOSIA glacier-flow model developed by David Egholm (Egholm et al., 2011). Using the knowledge gained from the empirical observations and the modelling experiments, remotely sensed observations of ice surface geometry are then used to assess the dynamic state of 2409 glaciers spanning the entirety of the Hindu-Kush-Karakoram-Himalaya (HKKH) region. The results suggest that the district ice surface geometries that characterise mountain glaciers are the manifestation of the complex interactions that ensue between climate forcing, glacier flow, and topography as glaciers strive to achieve equilibrium with their physical and climatic surroundings. As a result, observations of ice surface characteristics can be applied to global scale samples in order to identify regions characterised by dynamically unbalanced glaciers and thus can inform us of those areas that are most likely to display the greatest rates of glacier thinning and retreat in the future.
Supervisor: Chris, Clark Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available