In recent years, the Svalbard area, especially its southern section, has been characterised by an exceptionally thin snow cover, which has a significant impact of the annual mass balance of glaciers. The objective of this study was to determine melting processes of the snow cover deposited on 11 glaciers that terminate into Hornsund Fjord during the melting period of 2014. The study included analyses of snow pits and snow cores, meteorological data collected from automatic weather stations and Polish Polar Station Hornsund, and supervised classification of six Landsat 8 images for assessing the progress of snow cover melting. The calculated Snow-Covered Area (SCA) varied from 98% at the beginning of the melting season to 43% at the end of August. The melting vertical gradient on Hansbreen was −0.34 m 100 m−1
, leading to surface melting of −1.4 cm water equivalent (w.e.) day−1
in the ablation zone (c.
200 m a.s.l. (above sea level)) and −0.7 cm w.e. day−1
in the accumulation zone (c.
400 m a.s.l.). Furthermore, the study identified several observed features such as low snow depth in the accumulation zone of the Hornsund glaciers, a large proportion of the snow layers (12–27%) produced by rain-on-snow
events, and a frequent occurrence of summer thermal inversions (80% annually), indicating that the area is experiencing intensive climate changes.
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