• Iceberg jam floods in Icelandic proglacial rivers: testing the self-organized criticality hypothesis

      Roussel, Erwan; Toumazet, Jean-Pierre; Marren, Philip M.; Cossart, Etienne; University Clermont Auvergne; University Blaise Pascal; CNRS ; University of Chester (GFG, 2016-03-31)
      In this paper, we describe a fluvial marginal process associated with the formation of iceberg jams in Icelandic proglacial lakes. The floods triggered by the release of these iceberg jams have implications for the geomorphic evolution of the proglacial fluvial system. The process of iceberg jam floods share some conceptual characteristics with Self-Organized Criticality (SOC) approach of complex systems. Using a simple numerical model and field observations, we test the hypothesis that iceberg jam floods exhibit SOC. Field observations and aerial photo-interpretations in southeastern Iceland demonstrate the occurrence of icebergs jam in ice-contact lakes. The mapping of the south Vatnajökull margins between 2003 and 2012 reveals an increase of the calving potentiality and a rise in the likelihood of iceberg jam flood occurrence. Based on the results of the numerical model and field observations, we suggest that iceberg jam floods should be recognized as a SOC phenomenon. Analysis of the simulated time-series show that the iceberg jam floods become less frequent and more similar in magnitude over time. This global trend is related to the gradual enlargement of the lake outlet channel.
    • Incision and aggradation in proglacial rivers: post-Little Ice Age long-profile adjustments of southern Iceland outwash plains

      Roussel, Erwan; Marren, Philip M.; Cossart, Etienne; Toumazet, Jean-Pierre; Chenet, Marie; Grancher, Delphine; Jomelli, Vincent; Université Clermont Auvergne; University of Chester; Université de Lyon; Université Paris (Wiley, 2018-08-12)
      The retreat of glaciers in response to climate warming leads to substantial changes in meltwater and sediment yield. Glacial shrinkage also induces the emergence and growth of proglacial margin landforms which strongly affect water and sedimentary transfers from the glacier to the outwash plains.On a decadal-timescale, field observations show that outwash plains of retreating glaciers typically exhibit proximal incision which decreases in magnitude downstream and stops at an inflection point where aggradation begins. Nevertheless, there is a lack of knowledge about the rates and magnitude of this fluvial adjustment and the effects of the proglacial margin configuration on the temperance or the aggravation of this fluvial adjustment to glacier retreat. This paper investigates the proglacial rivers of 14 retreating glaciers in southeast Iceland over a post-Little Ice Age timescale, combining fluvial deposits mapping, lichenometric dating and long-profile measurements of proglacial fluvial terraces.Our results demonstrate that: (1) proximal incision, associated with distal aggradation and downstream migration of the inflection point is the dominant pattern of proglacial river response to post-LIA glacier retreat in Iceland; (2) estimated mean rates of downstream migration of the inflection point range between 5and 46m.a-1; (3)t he downstream migration rate of the inflection point is positively correlated with the proportion of proglacial lakes within the glacier foreland. These findings suggest that proglacial margins dominated by proglacial lakes intensify the rates of proximal incision and inflection point migration.