The purpose of this study is to describe the current state of tidewater glaciers in Svalbard as an extension of the inventory of Hagen et al. (1993). The ice masses of Svalbard cover an area of ca 36 600 km2 and more than 60% of the glaciated areas are glaciers which terminate in the sea at calving ice-cliffs. Recent data on the geometry of glacier tongues, their flow velocities and front position changes have been extracted from ASTER images acquired from 2000-2006 using automated methods of satellite image analysis. Analyses have shown that 163 Svalbard glaciers are of tidewater type (having contact with the ocean) and the total length of their calving ice-cliffs is 860 km . When compared with the previous inventory, 14 glaciers retreated from the ocean to the land over a 30-40 year period. Eleven formerly land-based glaciers now terminate in the sea. A new method of assessing the dynamic state of glaciers, based on patterns of frontal crevassing, has been developed. Tidewater glacier termini are divided into four groups on the basis of differences in crevasse patterns and flow velocity: (1) very slow or stagnant glaciers, (2) slow-flowing glaciers, (3) fast-flowing glaciers, (4) surging glaciers (in the active phase) and fast ice streams. This classification has enabled us to estimate total calving flux from Svalbard glaciers with an accuracy appreciably higher than that of previous attempts. Mass loss due to calving from the whole archipelago (excluding Kvitřya) is estimated to be 5.0-8.4 km3 yr-1 (water equivalent - w.e.), with a mean value 6.75 ± 1.7 km3 yr-1 (w.e.). Thus, ablation due to calving contributes as much as 17-25% (with a mean value 21%) to the overall mass loss from Svalbard glaciers. By implication, the contribution of Svalbard iceberg flux to sea-level rise amounts to ca 0.02 mm yr-1. Also calving flux in the Arctic has been considered and the highest annual specific mass balance attributable to iceberg calving has been found for Svalbard.
Glacierized fjords are dynamic regions, with variable oceanographic conditions and complex ice−ocean interactions, which are still poorly understood. Recent studies have shown that passive underwater acoustics offers new promising tools in this branch of polar research. Here, we present results from two field campaigns, conducted in summer 2013 and spring 2014. Several recordings with a bespoke two−hydrophone acoustic buoy were made in different parts of Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen in the vicinity of tidewater glaciers to study the directionality of underwater ambient noise. Representative segments of the data are used to illustrate the analyses, and determine the directions of sound sources by using the time differences of arrivals between two horizontally aligned, broadband hydrophones. The results reveal that low frequency noise (< 3 kHz) is radiated mostly from the ice cliffs, while high−frequency (> 3 kHz) noise directionality strongly depends on the distribution of floating glacial ice throughout the fjord. Changing rates of iceberg production as seen for example in field photographs and logs are, in turn, most likely linked to signal amplitudes for relevant directions. These findings demonstrate the potential offered by passive acoustics to study the dynamics of individual tidewater glaciers.
A section of a gravel−dominated coast in Isbjørnhamna (Hornsund, Svalbard) was analysed to calculate the rate of shoreline changes and explain processes controlling coastal zone development over last 50 years. Between 1960 and 2011, coastal landscape of Isbjørnhamna experienced a significant shift from dominated by influence of tide−water glacier and protected by prolonged sea−ice conditions towards storm−affected and rapidly changing coast. Information derived from analyses of aerial images and geomorphological mapping shows that the Isbjørnhamna coastal zone is dominated by coastal erosion resulting in a shore area reduction of more than 31,600 m 2 . With ~3,500 m 2 of local aggradation, the general balance of changes in the study area of the shore is negative, and amounts to a loss of more than 28,000 m 2 . Mean shoreline change is −13.1 m (−0.26 m a −1 ). Erosional processes threaten the Polish Polar Station infrastructure and may damage of one of the storage buildings in nearby future.