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Roughness of a subglacial conduit under Hansbreen, Svalbard

  • KENNETH D. MANKOFF (a1), JASON D. GULLEY (a2), SLAWEK M. TULACZYK (a3), MATTHEW D. COVINGTON (a4), XIAOFENG LIU (a5), YUNXIANG CHEN (a5), DOUGLAS I. BENN (a6) and PIOTR S. GŁOWACKI (a7)...
Abstract

Hydraulic roughness exerts an important but poorly understood control on water pressure in subglacial conduits. Where relative roughness values are <5%, hydraulic roughness can be related to relative roughness using empirically-derived equations such as the Colebrook–White equation. General relationships between hydraulic roughness and relative roughness do not exist for relative roughness >5%. Here we report the first quantitative assessment of roughness heights and hydraulic diameters in a subglacial conduit. We measured roughness heights in a 125 m long section of a subglacial conduit using structure-from-motion to produce a digital surface model, and hand-measurements of the b-axis of rocks. We found roughness heights from 0.07 to 0.22 m and cross-sectional areas of 1–2 m2, resulting in relative roughness of 3–12% and >5% for most locations. A simple geometric model of varying conduit diameter shows that when the conduit is small relative roughness is >30% and has large variability. Our results suggest that parameterizations of conduit hydraulic roughness in subglacial hydrological models will remain challenging until hydraulic diameters exceed roughness heights by a factor of 20, or the conduit radius is >1 m for the roughness elements observed here.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Correspondence: Ken Mankoff <mankoff@psu.edu>
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