Document Type

Honors Project

Abstract

Data suggest that climate change has significantly affected and will continue to affect global environments. Furthermore, research suggests that the current warming trend will continue, and it is therefore important to study current environmental systems in order to understand the complicated dynamics of warming and response (Parry, Canziani, Palutikof, van der Linden, & Hanson, 2007). Arctic environments are particularly sensitive to climate change, and are therefore a critical area to study (Svendsen & Mangerud, 1997). The purpose of this paper is to investigate water discharge and suspended sediment flux patterns in a proglacial meltwater stream flowing from the Linnébreen glacier in Spitsbergen, Svalbard, and to characterize sediment storage in the proglacial system. Changes in suspended sediment concentration (SSC) act as sensitive indicators of interactions between the glacier, climate, and landscape (Strzelecki, 2009). This work uses statistical methods to provide a framework with which to qualitatively describe subseasonal forcings behind discharge and SSC changes in the proglacial meltwater stream. Precipitation is found to be a primary forcer of both discharge and suspended sediment concentration changes. Furthermore, a subseasonal split was determined midway through the monitoring period, described by lessening lag times between discharge peaks and SSC peaks, and indicating a continued maturation of the entire system. Continued research of this nature will contribute to the ongoing effort to characterize the dynamics of the Linnébreen basin and to continuing research on Arctic glacier responses to the effects of climate change.

 
 

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