Go to main content

University of Silesia in Katowice

  • Polski
  • English
Institute of Earth Sciences
Logo European City of Science 2024

What influences the position of the cliff of Hans Glacier in Svalbard?

21.01.2022 - 14:07 update 21.01.2022 - 14:07
Editors: lukaszmalarzewski

The Hans Glacier, like other glaciers that flow into the sea, changes the position of the cliff in the seasonal cycle. It undergoes recession in summer and autumn, and advances in winter and spring. However, in the longer time scale (1992-2015), the recession outweighs the advance, which caused the glacier to retreat by more than a kilometer.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Institute of Geosciences in cooperation with oceanographers from NORBIT-Poland in Sopot, the Institute of Oceanography of the University of Gdansk, the Institute of Geophysics of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Faculty of Navigation of the Gdynia Maritime University and the Institute of Oceanology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. The results of studies carried out with the use of satellite images showed that the air temperature influences the melting of the surface of the glacier. Further, the large amount of water flowing out of the interior of the glacier intensifies the turbulent movement of warm Atlantic water in front of the cliff. This causes increased melting and recession at points where water flows out of the glacier, known as glacier gates. Research has also shown that sea temperature determines the length of the glacier’s seasonal recession cycle, and the presence of warm Atlantic waters caused that the glacier recession continued until December.

 Błaszczyk M., Jania J.A., Ciepły M., Grabiec M., Ignatiuk D., Kolondra L., Kruss A., Luks B., Moskalik M., Pastusiak T., Strzelewicz A., Walczowski W., Wawrzyniak T., 2021: Factors Controlling Terminus Position of Hansbreen, a Tidewater Glacier in Svalbard. Journal of Geophysical Research: Eart Surface 126, 2: https://doi.org/10.1029/2020JF005763

Fluctuations of cliff of Hansbreen glacier
Fluctuations of cliff of Hansbreen glacier
Hansbreen glacier (foto: Małgorzata Błaszczyk)
Hansbreen glacier (foto: Małgorzata Błaszczyk)
return to top