Calving Monacobreen Photo: A. Grib
Glaciers terminating in the sea are called tidewater glaciers. When a part of the edge breaks off, the glacier calves. Temperate tidewater glaciers are grounded while many polar and polythermal tidewater glaciers have floating termini. Yet no glaciers in Svalbard are known to maintain a floating terminus.
Mayerbreen in Mayerbukta 1997 Photo: M. Sund
Calving glaciers are interesting for several reasons. Icebergs from calving glaciers have the potential to affect offshore operations. Further the transfer of mass from the glaciers and ice sheets to the oceans is by far fastest by calving compared to surface melting as a contributor to sea level rise.
An understanding of calving processes is important for a more precise prediction of the glacier response to a climate forcing. The study of fast flowing glaciers is of great importance for the understanding of the ice discharge from the interior of large icecaps in Greenland and Antarctica.
Iceberg in Kongsfjorden Photo: M. Sund
Austfonna Basin 3 in 2009 Photo: M. Sund