A Pilot Framework and Gap Analysis Towards Developing a Fluvial Classification System in the Ross Sea Region (2015)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
An integrated literature review has been undertaken with regards to the hydrological regime and fluvial geomorphology of the Ross Sea Region, Antarctica. The findings have been applied to develop a pilot framework for a process-based classification system of channels, ponds and lakes, and to identify gaps in knowledge that need to be addressed in order for the classification system to be developed further. The intention of the process-based classification system is that, once developed, it will be applied as a tool to help understand fluvial response to climate change and an increasing human footprint in the Ross Sea Region. In this regard, it would contribute towards a contemporary project - Assessing the Sensitivity of Dry Valleys to Change. It may also be useful for other applications, such as ecological research, and applicable to other regions of Antarctica. Several gaps in research have been identified that need to be addressed in order to integrate knowledge of the hydrological regime and fluvial morphology and subsequently develop a process-based classification system. In no particular order, these gaps include knowledge of: the spatial distribution of channel morphologies; fluvial morphological behaviour under heavily transport- and supplylimited conditions; the formation and desiccation of ponds, and their associated impact on the land’s surface; the significance, timing and origin of hill-slope processes; whether the spatial variability of melt, and the proportion of this melt that eventuates as surface flows, drive fluvial morphologies, or whether other processes exert a greater control; and whether events that are not directly climate/melt-driven, including when a glacier flows into and displaces a lake, jökulaups (ice-dam floods), and basal meltwater drainage of wet-based glaciers, have a transient or evolutionary effect on fluvial morphology.
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