Supraglacial River Networks

David Rippin, Lauren Rawlins

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


Supraglacial river networks are systems of channels cut down into the surface ice of glaciers, ice sheets, and ice shelves by flowing water. They are important because the water they carry, and indeed the water that creates them, is a product of ice melt. The movement of water through these channels towards the margins of ice bodies, where it is eventually evacuated, represents the removal of mass from glaciers and ice sheets. Supraglacial river networks are highly seasonal, due to the requirement for flowing water in their creation. Here, in addition to considering their importance and temporal evolution, we also address their geometry and size, as well as the role that they play in impacting the reflectance of an ice surface, and in delivering water to subglacial locations where it can influence ice dynamics. Supraglacial river networks are relatively understudied, yet here we show that they are of the utmost importance in the field of glaciology.
Original languageEnglish
Commissioning bodyWIley and American Association of Geographers
ISBN (Print)9781118786352
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Entry to 'The International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology'.

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