Proglacial Lake Expansion and Glacier Retreat in Arctic Sweden

Adrian Dye, Bryant Rob, David Rippin

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Proglacial lakes have increased in number and extent in Arctic Sweden
since the 1950s/1960s as glaciers have retreated dramatically.
Interrogation of Rapid Eye imagery highlights that some lake terminating
glaciers had substantial (>100 m) rates of retreat between 2010 and
2018, with one other land terminating glacier also retreating at a similar
rate. However, analysis of a regional remote sensing time series suggests
that proglacial lake formation in this period across the area has not been
uniform. Despite glacier accumulation areas having similar maximum
elevations (∼2,000 m) and similar alpine topography, proglacial lakes in
the southern area (Sarek) were found to be significantly smaller than
proglacial lakes in the northern area (Kebnekaise), which had smaller
glaciers within corries and more prominent terminal moraines. Therefore,
it cannot be assumed that proglacial lake formation will occur as glaciers
retreat in response to elevated air temperature, particularly as only 33%
of glaciers had proglacial lakes in their forefield. Thus, whilst it cannot be
assumed that proglacial lakes will accommodate water currently held in
glaciers, the 108 lakes mapped here present a substantial area (4.767 ±
0.377 km2) of fresh water that has not previously been included in the
Global Lakes and Wetlands Database (GLWD). This inventory therefore
provides an important dataset that can be used to underpin our
understanding of the role of proglacial lakes within the hydrological
system in this area of the Arctic.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalGeografiska Annaler: Series A, Physical Geography
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 2022

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© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa
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