The near-surface ice thermal structure of the Waldemarbreen, a 2.5-square km glacier located at 78°N 12°E in Spitsbergen, Svalbard , is described here. Traditional glaciological mass balance measurements by stake readings and snow surveying have been conducted annually since 1996. The near-surface ice temperature was investigated with automatic borehole thermistors in the ablation and accumulation areas in 2007-2008. The mean annual surface ice temperatures (September-June) of the ablation area were determined to be -4.7°C at 1 m depth and -2.5°C at 9 m . For the accumulation area, they were -3.0°C at 2 m , and -2.3°C at 10 m depth between September and August. On the Waldemarbreen, at 10 m depth, the mean annual near-surface ice temperature was 4.0°C above the mean annual air temperature in the accumulation area. The Waldemarbreen may thus be classified as a polythermal type with cold ice which is below the pressure melting point and a temperate ice layer in the bottom sections of the glacier and with a temperate surface layer only during summer seasons. At a depth of 10 m , temperatures are of the order of -2°C to -3°C.
Traditional mass balance measurements by stake readings and snow surveying have been conducted annually since 1996 on the Waldemar Glacier (= Waldemarbreen) in northwest Spitsbergen, Svalbard. Several indirect methods were also used for estimating its mass balance. These methods were divided into two major groups: climatological and geodetic. A comparison of the latest map (2000) with that of 1978 and climatological records enable us to calculate the change in the mass balance of Waldemarbreen over 34 years. These methods include air temperature and degree-day (PDD) models. The average mass balance of Waldemarbreen, computed by climatological methods, was -0.42 m a-1 of water equivalent (w.e.) for the period 1970-2004, and -0.51 m w.e. for 1996-2004. These balances were compared with the glaciological balance for the period 1996-2004, -0.53 m w.e.. The mass balance was also computed using geodetic method, giving -0.52 m of w.e. from 1978 to 2000. It is suggested that, from these results, the approach used for Waldemarbreen might be also useful for estimation the mass balances of other small Svalbard glaciers which terminate on land.
In summer 1998 detailed measurements of ablation were carried out on the Waldemar Glacier in order to determine its spatial and time variation. Five-days' average ablation was equal to 14.7 cm water equivalent (w.e.), with maximum total ablation of 160-180 cm w.e. at 200 m a.s.l., and the lowest ablation of 106 cm w.e. at 350 m a.s.l. Total ablation for the whole glacier was estimated at 120.5 cm w.e. Simplified scheme of changes of summer ablation with altitude was exampled by this glacier. Relation between discharge from individual fragments of the Waldemar Glacier and their ablation was examined. Discharge of the Waldemar River was analysed: from about 4,800,000 m3 of water in the stream, 67% came from surface ablation of the Waldemar Glacier.
This article comprises an analysis of the variability of meteorological conditions on Kaffiøyra (NW Spitsbergen, Svalbard) in 2013–2017 in connection with atmospheric circulation and the extent of sea ice. The obtained results were compared with the results of observations made at the Ny-Ålesund station. Due to the situation of the area in the polar region and the large amount of clouds, especially in summer, the annual sum of incoming solar radiation was small, amounting to an average of 2,237.8 MJ.m-2 per year. The mean air temperature in the considered period was -2.0°C. Its extreme values ranged from 15.2°C to -23.8°C. In the annual course, the highest mean temperature occurred in July (6.5°C), and the lowest in March (-7.8°C). The mean relative humidity of air was high (83%). The prevailing wind directions were from south and north sectors and this coincided with the orientation of Forlandsundet. The mean wind speed was 3.6 m.s-1. In the summer season in 1975–2017, a statistically significant air temperature increase was observed, reaching 0.28°C/10 years. The high variability of local weather conditions was caused mainly by atmospheric circulation and the impact of sea ice was much smaller in comparison.
Studies of a snow cover on the Waldemar Glacier have been carried out during three spring seasons. In spite of its small area, there is considerable spatial variation in snow deposition on the Waldemar Glacier, different during successive seasons. Winter snow accumulation was the highest in 1995/96 (75 cm in water equivalent), but almost similar in 1996/97 and 1997/98, equal to 48 cm and 42 cm w.e., respectively. Snow cover shows specific physico-chemical features, with many sorts of snow different in its structure, hardness, density and moistening. All analysed snow profiles comprised layers of different grain size and hardness. Volume of water trapped in naledies was estimated to about 457,000 m3 in May 1998. The average winter runoff from the glacier was estimated to 0.024 m3/s i.e. about 91/s.km2.
Although the terrestrial marginal zones of some glaciers on Spitsbergen are relatively well described, we are largely ignorant about the morphology of their submarine forefields. Initial reconnaissance of the forefields of the Aavatsmark and Dahl glaciers in the Kaffiøyra region and soundings made in that of the Hans Glacier (southern Spitsbergen ) indicate the occurrence of sea-floor push-moraines which can be as much as 3 m high. Their lateral separation is considered to denote annual recession rates. They appear to result from cyclical annual advances of ice-cliffs during winters when the deposits are risen up at the contact of the ice with the sea-floor. The development of the major forms may be related to surge. There is some evidence that certain elements in the sea-bed morphology date from the Little Ice Age (LIA).
The climatic change on King George Island (KGI) in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica, in the years of 1948–2011 are presented. In the reference period, a statistically significant increase in the air temperature (0.19 ° C/10 years, 1.2 ° C in the analysed period) occurred along with a decrease in atmospheric pressure (−0.36 hPa/10 years, 2.3 hPa). In winter time, the warming up is more than twice as large as in summer. This leads to decrease in the amplitude of the annual cycle of air temperature. On KGI, there is also a warming trend of daily maximum and daily minimum air temperature. The evidently faster increase in daily minimum results in a decrease of the diurnal temperature range. The largest changes of air pressure took place in the summertime (−0.58 hPa/10 years) and winter (−0.34 hPa/10 years). The Semiannual Oscillation pattern of air pressure was disturbed. Climate changes on KGI are correlated with changing surface temperatures of the ocean and the concentration of sea ice. The precipitation on KGI is characterised by substantial variability year to year. In the analysed period, no statistically significant trend in atmospheric precipitation can be observed. The climate change on KGI results in substantial and rapid changes in the environment, which poses a great threat to the local ecosystem.
This article presents the results of observations of selected fluxes of the radiation balance in north-western Spitsbergen in the years from 2010 to 2014. Measurements were taken in Ny-Ålesund and in the area of Kaffiøyra, on different surface types occurring in the Polar zone: moraine, tundra, snow and ice. Substantial differences in the radiation balance among the various types of surface were observed. The observations carried out in the summer seasons of 2010-2014 in the area of Kaffiøyra demonstrated that the considerable reflection of solar radiation on the Waldemar Glacier (albedo 55%) resulted in a smaller solar energy net income. During the polar day, a diurnal course of the components of the radiation balance was apparently related to the solar elevation angle. When the sun was low over the horizon, the radiation balance became negative, especially on the glacier. Diurnal, annual and multi-annual variations in the radiation balance have a significant influence on the functioning of the environment in polar conditions.