Science and earth science

Polish Polar Research

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Polish Polar Research | 2013 | No 4 |

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Abstract

Significant retreat of glaciers terminating in Hornsund Fjord (Southern Spits− bergen, Svalbard) has been observed during the 20th century and in the first decade of the 21st century. The objective of this paper is to present, as complete as possible, a record of front positions changes of 14 tidewater glaciers during this period and to distinguish the main factors influencing their fluctuations. Results are based on a GIS analysis of archival maps, field measurements, and aerial and satellite images. Accuracy was based on an assessment of seasonal fluctuations of a glacier’s ice cliff position with respect to its mini− mum length in winter (November–December) and its maximum advance position in June or July. Morphometric features and the environmental setting of each glacier are also presented. The total area of the glacier cover in Hornsund Fjord in the period of 1899–2010 diminished approximately 172 km 2 , with an average areal retreat rate of 1.6 km 2 a −1 .The recession rate increased from ~1 km 2 a −1 in first decades of the 20th century up to ~3 km 2 a −1 in years 2001–2010. The latest period was more thoroughly studied using optical satellite images acquired almost every year. The importance of glacier morphology and hypsometry, as well as fjord bathymetry and topography is analyzed. Large glacier systems with low slopes terminating in deeper waters are retreating faster than small steep glaciers terminating in shallower water. A relation between mean annual air temperature and aerial retreat rate of tidewater glaciers was found for long time scales. A sudden temperature in − crease, known as the early 20th century warming in Svalbard, and an increase in temperatures during recent decades are well reflected in deglaciation rate. Influence of sea water temperatures on calving and retreat of glaciers was considered and is significant in short−time intervals of the last decade. Surge events are non−climatic factors which com − plicate the record. They are reflected in front advance or fast retreat due to a massive calving depending on the relation between ice thickness and water depth. Despite the influence of many factors, the response of tidewater glaciers to climate change is evident. The average linear retreat rate of all the tidewater glaciers in Hornsund amounted to ~70 ma −1 in 2001–2010 and was higher than the average retreat of other Svalbard tidewater glaciers (~45 ma −1 ). Thus, glaciers of this basin can be considered as more sensitive to climate than glaciers of other regions of the archipelago.
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Authors and Affiliations

Małgorzata Błaszczyk
Jacek A. Jania
Leszek Kolondra
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Abstract

We present the variability of the thermal state and thickness of permafrost active layer at the raised marine beaches in Svalbard. The investigations were carried out using direct probing, thaw tube, ground temperature and radar soundings at Holocene strand plains 10–20 m a.s.l. in Fuglebergsletta (SW Spitsbergen) and at the shore of Kinnvika Bay (Nordaustlandet). Their results were compared to those obtained at other coastal sites in Svalbard. The ground temperature measurements were conducted in 2009 on August, recognized as the standard month for the maximum thawing during the last decade. The studied sites are typical for close to extreme active layer conditions on Svalbard. In Hornsund, the thawing depth exceeded 2 m, while in Kinnvika the active layer was thinner than 1 m. In Svalbard, the depth of thawing decreases generally from south to north and from the open sea coast to the central parts of islands. These differences are the consequence of diverse climatic conditions strongly determined by the radiation balance modified by a number of regional ( e.g. ocean circulation) and local ( e.g. duration of snow deposition) conditions.
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Authors and Affiliations

Tomasz Budzik
Piotr Dolnicki
Mariusz Grabiec
Dariusz Puczko
Łukasz Gawor
Jan Klementowski
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Abstract

The aim of this study was to identify a suitable lichen species for the long−term monitoring of heavy−metal atmospheric pollution in Svalbard. Cladonia and Cetraria s.l. species that have been widely used until now for assessing heavy−metal deposition in the Arctic are in decline over extensive areas of Svalbard, mainly due to climate change and over−grazing by reindeer. Cetrariella delisei , rarely used for biomonitoring, is still common and widespread in this area. Levels of Cr, Ni, Fe, Cu, Pb, Zn, Cd and Mn were measured in three lichen species: Cetrariella delisei , Cladonia uncialis , Flavocetraria nivalis and in a moss Racomitrium lanuginosum from Sørkapp Land, South Spitsbergen. The results imply that Cetrariella delisei can be safely compared to Cladonia uncialis for identifying the levels of heavy metals, but direct comparison between Cetrariella delisei and other species studied is more difficult owing to differences in levels of heavy metals even in samples from the same site.
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Authors and Affiliations

Michał Węgrzyn
Maja Lisowska
Paweł Nicia
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Abstract

Five species of Tardigrada were found in two moss samples collected from the Hornsund area (Ariekammen, Spitsbergen) including one new to science. The new species, Isohypsibius karenae sp. n., differs from the other similar congeners mainly by having a different type of cuticular sculpture, a different macroplacoid length sequence, by the presence of lunules and cuticular bars under claws as well as by some morphometric characters. The current study increases the number of Isohypsibius species known from Svalbard to thirteen.
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Authors and Affiliations

Krzysztof Zawierucha

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