UBC Undergraduate Research

Switching Events in a Subglacial Drainage System : a Detection Algorithm and Observational Analysis Yeo, Kevin Mirng En

Abstract

The rate of glacier mass loss depends on the sliding velocity of the glacier. For a temperate glacier, during the summer when the rate of surface melting is high, the subglacial drainage system becomes active and affects the sliding velocity in a nontrivial manner. An important component of the subglacial drainage system is the network of cavities on the glacier bed. Connected cavities can be disconnected either partially or completely from each other and the rest of the drainage system. Connection and disconnection between two cavities are collectively referred to as switching events. This particular phenomenon has not been included in existing subglacial drainage models. In order to facilitate a physical understanding of how hydraulic connections at the glacier bed are made, and ultimately to allow further model development, this study aims to formulate a semi-automated algorithm to detect all switching events from an array of boreholes with water pressure time series. Observational analysis of the output suggests four different possible mechanisms that could be considered in order to explain these switching events.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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