Changes in glacier mass balance due to climate change has major impacts on meltwater discharge and sediment transfer dynamics. This can influence proglacial environments in three key ways: 1) Glacier advance or retreat can lead to changes in meltwater storage and catastrophic releases. 2) Glacier retreat, and associated paraglacial processes, cause enhanced exposure of large amounts of unconsolidated sediments that can be transported and deposited downstream. 3) Glacier retreat creates over-steepened rock walls in the glacier fore field, as well as downstream, facilitating mass movements of potentially disastrous consequences. Thus, understanding sediment dynamics and meltwater systems in continental and Alpine settings, and their response to Quaternary and contemporary climate change, is therefore a major research aim. This session aims to bring together scientists working on these issues from a range of methodological perspectives including: a) Quaternary sedimentology, b) geomorphological process and quantification studies, and c) remote sensing. We welcome contributions that focus on:
- spatial and temporal changes in meltwater and sediment flux, through the Quaternary and at present.
- understanding and quantifying catastrophic mass movement processes in the proglacial environment
- analysing glacial lake dynamics and outburst floods in the modern or Quaternary records
- assessing the connectivity of hillslope and channel processes
- the interaction of morphodynamics and vegetation development