IACS working group on debris covered glaciers

A couple of years ago I spoke with Dr Joe Shea about the possibility and timeliness of setting up a collaborative working group of researchers working on debris covered glaciers, under the auspices of the IACS.

A proposal was duly drafted and submitted as a pre-proposal but changing jobs and commitments meant that the idea mouldered away. While Joe is no longer involved in the leadership, I’m happy to say that in particular the enthusiasm of Drs Dave Rounce and Francesca Pellicciotti, as well as Prof Regine Hock has helped revive the initiative, and now we’ve finally done it!

So we are happy to invite contributions to the efforts of the Working Group whose overall goal is to provide – for the first time – a comparison of (1) debris thickness estimation methods and (2) sub-debris ablation models, in order to advance our understanding of how debris impacts glacier response and improve our ability to incorporate debris cover into larger-scale modeling efforts.

The specific objectives are to:

  1. compare the available methods of mapping supra-glacial debris thickness, and assess their appropriateness for different applications
  2. compare the performance of available sub-debris ablation models, and assess their appropriateness for different applications.
  3. work closely with the debris-covered glaciers community to coordinate knowledge exchange

The working group was announced in the September 2018 IACS newsletter. More information can be found on the working group website, which will be updated with the latest developments. We look forward to supporting a fruitful drive forward in our global understanding of debris covered glacier systems.

We would like to engage as wide a group of scientists as possible in this working group, which will include young and senior scientists from a variety of geographic locations. In order to achieve this in a practical sense, we define two levels or participation: working group members and participants.

Members are expected to contribute to ALL of the following:

  1. actively contribute to the development of at least one of the two comparison projects, which includes model design, forcing data, and output variables
  2. produce model results for at least one of the comparison projects
  3. participate in group workshops (as far as possible)

In addition to members, we also welcome working group participants from a wider sphere of related debris-covered glacier research topics.

Participants are expected to participate in discussions and meetings (if possible) AND contribute to AT LEAST ONE of the following:

  1. contribute forcing data to one of the comparison projects
  2. provide data or code to foster knowledge exchange
  3. contribute services to journal special issues

About lindsey

Environmental scientist. I am glaciologist specialising in glacier-climate interactions to better understand the climate system. The point of this is to understand how glaciated envionments might change in the future - how the glaciers will respond and what the impact on associated water resources and hazard potential will be.
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