Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson
University of Tasmania · Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS)

PhD

About

24
Publications
6,712
Reads
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973
Citations
Citations since 2016
13 Research Items
844 Citations
2016201720182019202020212022050100150
2016201720182019202020212022050100150
2016201720182019202020212022050100150
2016201720182019202020212022050100150
Additional affiliations
January 2019 - present
University of Tasmania
Position
  • Antarctic Glaciologist
January 2017 - December 2019
Swansea University
Position
  • Fellow
March 2014 - March 2016
University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS)
Position
  • Fellow
Education
August 2007 - August 2008
The University of Edinburgh
Field of study
  • Geographical Information Science
October 2003 - June 2007
The University of Edinburgh
Field of study
  • Geography

Publications

Publications (24)
Article
Full-text available
Rock debris covers about 30% of glacier ablation areas in the Central Himalaya and modifies the impact of atmospheric conditions on mass balance. The thermal properties of supraglacial debris are diurnally variable but remain poorly constrained for monsoon-influenced glaciers over the timescale of the ablation season. We measured vertical debris pr...
Chapter
The seismoelectric method holds great promise in the delineation and hydraulic characterization of thin subglacial layers of deformable sediments, subglacial water bodies, and deeper groundwater and heat‐bearing rocks. Of particular value are subglacial interfacial conversions and, potentially, evanescent electromagnetic waves converted at shallow...
Article
Full-text available
Suture zones are abundant on Antarctic ice shelves and widely observed to impede fracture propagation, greatly enhancing ice-shelf stability. Using seismic and radar observations on the Larsen C Ice Shelf of the Antarctic Peninsula, we confirm that such zones are highly heterogeneous, consisting of multiple meteoric and marine ice bodies of diverse...
Article
Full-text available
Many glaciers in the Central Himalaya are covered with rock debris that modifies the transfer of heat from the atmosphere to the underlying ice. These debris-covered glaciers are experiencing rapid mass loss at rates that have accelerated during the last two decades. Quantifying recent and future glacier mass change requires understanding the relat...
Article
Full-text available
We provide the first synoptic view of the drainage system of a Himalayan debris-covered glacier and its evolution through time, based on speleological exploration and satellite image analysis of Ngozumpa Glacier, Nepal. The drainage system has several linked components: (1) a seasonal subglacial drainage system below the upper ablation zone; (2) su...
Article
Full-text available
Moraine-dammed lakes at debris-covered glaciers are becoming increasingly common and pose significant outburst flood hazards if the dam is breached. While moraine subsurface structure and internal processes are likely to influence dam stability, only few sites have so far been investigated. We conducted electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) surve...
Article
Full-text available
This paper provides the first synoptic view of the drainage system of a Himalayan debris-covered glacier and its evolution through time, based on speleological exploration and satellite image analysis of Ngozumpa Glacier, Nepal. The drainage system has several linked components: 1) a seasonal subglacial drainage system below the upper ablation zone...
Article
Supraglacial lakes and ponds can create hotspots of mass loss on debris-covered glaciers. While much research has been directed at understanding lateral lake expansion, little is known about the rates or processes governing lake deepening. To a large degree, this knowledge gap persists due to sparse observations of lake beds. Here we report on the...
Article
Full-text available
The ablation areas of debris-covered glaciers typically consist of a complex mosaic of surface features with contrasting processes and rates of mass loss. This greatly complicates glacier response to climate change, and increases the uncertainty of predictive models. In this paper we present a series of high-resolution DEMs and repeat lake bathymet...
Article
Full-text available
Our ability to measure, quantify and assimilate hydrological properties and processes of snow in operational models is disproportionally poor compared to the significance of seasonal snowmelt as a global water resource and major risk factor in flood and avalanche forecasting. Encouraged by recent theoretical, modelling and laboratory work, we show...
Article
Full-text available
Our ability to measure, quantify and assimilate hydrological properties and processes of snow in operational models is disproportionally poor compared to the significance of seasonal snowmelt as a global water resource and major risk factor in flood and avalanche forecasting. Encouraged by recent theoretical, modelling and laboratory work, we show...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In recent years the response of debris-covered glaciers to climatic warming has seen significant disscussion. The insulating properties of a debris layer (> 5-6 cm) are well established however, in the Himalayas regionally averaged thinning rates, based on satellite laser altimetry, were found to be very similar on both debris-covered, and clean ic...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The thickness of supra-glacial debris cover exerts a powerful control on the degree to which the ablation of underlying ice is altered compared to clean ice ablation. However, direct measurements of debris thickness are scarce as they are very labour intensive. As an alternative, satellite-derived surface temperatures over debris-covered glacier su...
Article
Full-text available
Moraine dams can be inherently unstable, but effective assessment strategies remain poorly identified. We integrate electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) with electrical self-potential (SP) and lake-level measurements to investigate the structure of, and hydrological processes within, a moraine-dam complex adjacent to Miage glacier, Italy. This c...
Article
Full-text available
In areas of high relief, many glaciers have extensive covers of supraglacial debris in their ablation zones, which alters both rates and spatial patterns of melting, with important consequences for glacier response to climate change. Wastage of debris-covered glaciers can be associated with the formation of large moraine-dammed lakes, posing risk o...
Article
Moraine-dammed glacial lakes are becoming increasingly common in the Himalaya as a result of glacier mass loss, causing concern about glacier lake outburst flood risk. In addition to extant lakes, the potential exists for many more to form, as more glaciers ablate down to the level of potential moraine dams. In this paper, we document the recent ra...
Presentation
In recent decades, glaciers in the Khumbu Himal, Nepal, have been thinning by ~ 0.4 m y-1, encouraging the formation of potentially unstable lakes behind terminal moraines. Much research has focused on the use of remote sensing techniques to monitor the areal expansion of lakes and associated hazard prediction issues, but little is known about subs...
Article
Rates of mass loss on Himalayan debris-covered glaciers are controlled by a complex web of processes, including melting below debris, melting of exposed ice, and calving around supraglacial lakes. Ablation rates around lakes are typically one to two orders of magnitude higher than beneath supraglacial debris, so the extent and lifespan of supraglac...
Article
In mountain regions, potentially hazardous glacial lakes are becoming increasingly common as a consequence of climatically driven glacier recession. Lakes can expand rapidly in the space between downwasting or receding glacier fronts and terminal or lateral moraines, and are prone to catastrophic drainage if the moraine dam is breached. Lake draina...
Conference Paper
In the central and eastern Himalaya, recent climate warming has resulted in the thinning and stagnation of debris-covered glaciers, and the formation of numerous moraine-dammed lakes. To date, the affected glaciers are mainly in relatively low-lying catchments, with accumulation areas rising to altitudes of up to ~6,500 m. Examples include the Lang...
Conference Paper
Glacial lake outbursts can severely impact upon both the fragile mountain ecosystems and the often limited local economy. Within the Himalayas, the associated death toll is currently in the hundreds, with costs in the millions of dollars due to, loss of hydroelectric power stations, infrastructure and agricultural land. In recent years a series of...

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