Multi-hazard susceptibility mapping of cryospheric hazards in a high-Arctic environment: Svalbard Archipelago


Nicu, Ionut Cristi
Elia, Letizia
Rubensdotter, Lena
Tanyas, Hakan
Lombardo, Luigi

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The Svalbard Archipelago represents the northernmost place on Earth where cryospheric hazards, such as thaw slumps (TSs) and thermo-erosion gullies (TEGs) could take place and rapidly develop under the influence of climatic variations. Svalbard permafrost is specifically sensitive to rapidly occurring warming, and therefore, a deeper understanding of TSs and TEGs is necessary to understand and foresee the dynamics behind local cryospheric hazards' occurrences and their global implications. We present the latest update of two polygonal inventories where the extent of TSs and TEGs is recorded across Nordenskiöld Land (Svalbard Archipelago), over a surface of approximately 4000 km2. This area was chosen because it represents the most concentrated ice-free area of the Svalbard Archipelago and, at the same time, where most of the current human settlements are concentrated. The inventories were created through the visual interpretation of high-resolution aerial photographs as part of our ongoing effort toward creating a pan-Arctic repository of TSs and TEGs. Overall, we mapped 562 TSs and 908 TEGs, from which we separately generated two susceptibility maps using a generalised additive model (GAM) approach, under the assumption that TSs and TEGs manifest across Nordenskiöld Land, according to a Bernoulli probability distribution. Once the modelling results were validated, the two susceptibility patterns were combined into the first multi-hazard cryospheric susceptibility map of the area.

Nicu, I. C., Elia, L., Rubensdotter, L., Tanyaş, H., & Lombardo, L. (2023). Multi-hazard susceptibility mapping of cryospheric hazards in a high-Arctic environment: Svalbard Archipelago. Earth System Science Data, 15(1), 447–464.

This research has been partially supported by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) (grant no. URF/1/4338-01-01).

Copernicus GmbH

Earth System Science Data


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