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Water 2018, 10(10), 1408; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10101408

Which Drivers Control the Suspended Sediment Flux in a High Arctic Glacierized Basin (Werenskioldbreen, Spitsbergen)?

1
Faculty of Earth Sciences, University of Silesia, Będzińska 60, 41-200 Sosnowiec, Poland
2
Department of Physical Geography, University of Wrocław, Wojciecha Cybulskiego 34, 50-205 Wroclaw, Poland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 August 2018 / Revised: 3 October 2018 / Accepted: 4 October 2018 / Published: 10 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Hydrology)
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Abstract

A unique data set of suspended sediment transport from the Breelva, which drains the Werenskioldbreen (Southwestern Spitsbergen), is reported for the period 2007–2012. This basin is thoroughly described hydrologically, glaciologically, and chemically. However, until now there was a lack of full recognition of mechanical denudation. This study extends the information on quantitative suspended sediment load (SSL), amounting to 37.30–130.94 kt per year, and also underlines the importance of its modification by high discharge events, triggered by intense snowmelt or heavy rainfall. The large floods during the hydrologically active season transported even 83% of the total SSL. The variability of the SSL is controlled by glacial storage and release mechanisms. Particularly interesting is the second half of the hydrologically active season when intense rainfall events plays a key role in shaping the sediment supply pattern. The main source of fine mineral matter is the basal moraine, drained by subglacial outflows. Their higher mobilization occurs when the hydrostatic pressure increases, often as a result of rainwater supply to the glacier system. An increasing precipitation trend for Hornsund fjord region determines a positive trend predicted for sediment flux. View Full-Text
Keywords: suspended sediment; mechanical denudation; intense snowmelt; heavy rainfall; high discharge; Svalbard suspended sediment; mechanical denudation; intense snowmelt; heavy rainfall; high discharge; Svalbard
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Łepkowska, E.; Stachnik, Ł. Which Drivers Control the Suspended Sediment Flux in a High Arctic Glacierized Basin (Werenskioldbreen, Spitsbergen)? Water 2018, 10, 1408.

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