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Subglacial meltwater routes of the Fennoscandian Ice Sheet

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journal contribution
posted on 14.05.2022, 05:20 by Nico Dewald, Stephen J. Livingstone, Chris D. Clark

Subglacial drainage systems are crucial elements of glaciers and ice sheets because they modulate ice flow velocity. However, logistical challenges of measuring subglacial processes beneath contemporary ice and natural limitations in long-term monitoring hinder our understanding about their spatio-temporal evolution. Subglacial meltwater landforms created by palaeo-ice sheets are records of past subglacial drainage systems and offer the potential to study their large-scale development throughout deglaciation. Although collectively recording subglacial drainage, individual meltwater landforms such as eskers, meltwater channels and meltwater corridors, which comprise tunnel valleys and meltwater tracks (assemblages of landforms in broad, elongated paths with irregular surface texture), have mostly been investigated as separate entities. Using high-resolution (1–2 m) digital elevation models, we map integrated networks of subglacial meltwater landforms, herein called subglacial meltwater routes, on an ice-sheet scale in Fennoscandia. Our map provides a basis for future research on the long-term evolution of subglacial drainage networks and its effect on ice dynamics of the Fennoscandian Ice Sheet.


ND was supported by the PalGlac ERC Advanced Grant to CDC (grant agreement no. 787263) funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.