Gulf of Alaska ice-marginal lake area change over the Landsat record and potential physical controls
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Lakes in contact with glacier margins can impact glacier evolution as well as the downstream biophysical systems, flood hazard, and water resources. Recent work suggests positive feedbacks between glacier wastage and ice-marginal lake evolution, although precise physical controls are not well understood. Here, we quantify ice-marginal lake area change in understudied northwestern North America from 1984–2018 and investigate climatic, topographic, and glaciological influences on lake area change. We delineate time series of sampled lake perimeters (n=107 lakes) and find that regional lake area has increased 58 % in aggregate, with individual proglacial lakes growing by 1.28 km2 (125 %) and ice-dammed lakes shrinking by 0.04 km2 (−15 %) on average. A statistical investigation of climate reanalysis data suggests that changes in summer temperature and winter precipitation exert minimal direct influence on lake area change. Utilizing existing datasets of observed and modeled glacial characteristics, we find that large, wide glaciers with thick lake-adjacent ice are associated with the fastest rate of lake area change, particularly where they have been undergoing rapid mass loss in recent times. We observe a dichotomy in which large, low-elevation coastal proglacial lakes have changed most in absolute terms, while small, interior lakes at high elevation have changed most in relative terms. Generally, the fastest-changing lakes have not experienced the most dramatic temperature or precipitation change, nor are they associated with the highest rates of glacier mass loss. Our work suggests that, while climatic and glaciological factors must play some role in determining lake area change, the influence of a lake's specific geometry and topographic setting overrides these external controls. Show more
Journal / seriesThe Cryosphere
Pages / Article No.
Organisational unit09599 - Farinotti, Daniel / Farinotti, Daniel
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