New Paper Published : Filtering of the Signal of Sediment Export From a Glacier by Its Proglacial Forefield

Alpine glaciers are rapidly retreating due to global warming and this has been associated with enhanced supply of subglacially derived sediment to downstream environments. We present the first high frequency quantitative record on how the signal of sediment exported from an Alpine glacier is filtered by its proglacial forefield. The data, covering two climatically distinct glacier melt seasons, show that the signal of subglacial bedload export is strongly filtered over short distances, unlike suspended load whose signal is less impacted. The reason is related to the interplay of short particle advection lengths with strong morphodynamic forcing. The subglacial sediment export signal is thus rapidly replaced by one combining (a) the local forcing by stream hydraulics and (b) the reworking of the proglacial braid plain itself. These findings have implications for estimating subglacial erosion rates, natural hazard mitigation, sediment management for hydropower plants and ecological succession related to rapid glacier retreat. A copy is freely available here.