The Glaciofluvial Environment of Linnébreen, Spitsbergen, Svalbard
By Simon Pendleton
Whitman College, Walla Walla WA
Suspended sediment concentrations (SSC), meltwater discharge and local climatic conditions of the Linné glaciofluvial system were monitored extensively from July 21 to August 9, 2010 in order to determine the temporal relationships between local climate, glacier melting and sediment production. ISCO water samplers were installed along the main meltwater channel to record SSC. SSC was directly related to discharge of the glaciofluvial system, which was in turn dependent on melt of Linné glacier. The relationship between SSC and climatic conditions can then be linked to the rate of glacier melt, which is in turn controlled by local climatic conditions. Of all the observed weather conditions, precipitation had the highest impact on glacier melt and discharge and therefore had the highest correlation to SSC. During periods without precipitation, solar radiation showed the greatest influence on glacier melt and SSC. Measured SSC and calculated sediment load for the season from the Lower (distal) site was substantially less than the measured SSC and calculated sediment load at the Upper (proximal) site. The differences between the two sampling sites indicate that the glaciofluvial system immediately downvalley of the glacier is acting as a sediment sink. This study has established that increased SSC is largely due to increased precipitation. The presence of a pro-glacial sediment sink interrupts the sediment signal produced by the glacier and complicates the sediment record downvalley in Lake Linné.