Superficial moraines grew in size during the entire 32-year-long period of direct monitoring of water and ice balance of the Djankuat Glacier in the Caucasus. The total area of debris cover on the glacier increased from 0.104 km2 (3% of the entire glacier surface) in 1968 to 0.266 km2 (8% of the glacier) in 1996. Such rapid dynamics of moraine formation greatly influences the ablation rate and distorts fields of mass-balance components. Sub-debris thawing can be calculated by means of a model, which describes the role of debris cover for the thermal properties of a glacier. Its meltwater equivalent depends mainly on debris thickness. In 1983 and 1994 the debris cover was repeatedly mapped over the whole glacier portion that was covered with morainic material. Sub-moraine ablation increases (vs. pure ice surface) under the thin, less than ca. 7-8 cm, debris layer, whereas the thicker debris cover reduces the liquid runoff due to its shielding effect. Zones differing due to their hydrological effect are depicted on the glacier map and the degree of debris influence on ablation is estimated quantitatively. As a whole runoff from debris-covered parts of the Djankuat Glacier has diminished due to the dominant shielding effect. Variation of the terminus is also shown to be dependent on the evolution of superficial moraine.
- Received October 30, 2000.
- Revision received May 30, 2001.
- Accepted August 1, 2001.
- © IWA Publishing 2002