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Durham University

Department of Geography

Departmental Research Projects

Publication details

Langley, E.S., Leeson, A.A., Stokes, C.R. & Jamieson, S.S.R. Seasonal evolution of supraglacial lakes on an East Antarctic outlet glacier. Geophysical Research Letters. 2016;43:8563-8571.

Author(s) from Durham


Supraglacial lakes are known to influence ice melt and ice flow on the Greenland ice sheet and potentially cause ice shelf disintegration on the Antarctic Peninsula. In East Antarctica, however, our understanding of their behavior and impact is more limited. Using >150 optical satellite images and meteorological records from 2000 to 2013, we provide the first multiyear analysis of lake evolution on Langhovde Glacier, Dronning Maud Land (69°11′S, 39°32′E). We mapped 7990 lakes and 855 surface channels up to 18.1 km inland (~670 m above sea level) from the grounding line and document three pathways of lake demise: (i) refreezing, (ii) drainage to the englacial/subglacial environment (on the floating ice), and (iii) overflow into surface channels (on both the floating and grounded ice). The parallels between these mechanisms, and those observed on Greenland and the Antarctic Peninsula, suggest that lakes may similarly affect rates and patterns of ice melt, ice flow, and ice shelf disintegration in East Antarctica.

Department of Geography