• 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.