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Ice cascade growth and decay: a thermodynamic approach

  • F. Gauthier (a1), M. Montagnat (a2), J. Weiss (a2), M. Allard (a1) and B. Hétu (a3)...

The ice volume evolution of a frozen waterfall (or ice cascade) was studied using a thermodynamic model. The model was developed from meteorological data collected in the vicinity of the waterfall and validated from ice volume measurements estimated from terrestrial lidar images. The ice cascade forms over a 45 m high rock wall located in northern Gaspésie, Québec, Canada. Two stages of formation were identified. During the first stage, the growth is mainly controlled by air convection around the flowing and free-falling water. The ice cascade growth rate increases with decreasing air temperature below 0°C and when the water flow reaches its lowest level. During the second stage, the ice cascade covers the entire rock-wall surface, water flow is isolated from the outside environment and ice volume increases asymptotically. Heat is evacuated from the water flow through the ice cover by conduction. The growth is controlled mainly by the conductive heat loss through the ice cover but also by the longwave radiation emitted at the ice surface during the night. In spring, melting of the ice cascade is dependent on the air convection over the ice surface but also on the sensible heat carried by the increasing water flow and the solar radiation received during the day.

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Journal of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0022-1430
  • EISSN: 1727-5652
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-glaciology
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