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Debris-covered glaciers comprise ~4% of global glacier surface area but over 30% in some mountain regions, where they are important contributors to local hydrology (water availability) and glacier-related hazards. The climatic response of debris-covered glaciers differs to that of clean ice glaciers, but ...

Debris-covered glaciers comprise ~4% of global glacier surface area but over 30% in some mountain regions, where they are important contributors to local hydrology (water availability) and glacier-related hazards. The climatic response of debris-covered glaciers differs to that of clean ice glaciers, but remains relatively poorly understood due to their complex interaction with the climate. Unraveling the climatic response of debris-covered glaciers is necessary to develop local hydrological and risk management strategies, as well as to determine their contribution to ongoing global sea level change. In order to understand these links, and the unique response of debris-covered glaciers, studies using detailed multiparametric, spatio-temporal response of these different types of glaciers are needed.

Recently, an increasing number of studies have focused on unique aspects of the debris-covered glaciers but, although progress has been considerable, unanswered questions remain. In this Research Topic, we aim to draw together existing knowledge pertaining to the processes acting on debris-covered glaciers, varied impacts of ongoing climate perturbations and synthesize diverse research on debris-covered glaciers, in line with the goals of the International Association of Cryospheric Sciences (IACS) working group on debris-covered glaciers (https://cryosphericsciences.org/activities/wgdebris/).

Accordingly, we welcome submissions in the following major themes:

• Processes related to rock debris generation, exposure and transport;
• Quantifying key debris cover surface properties from field and satellite data;
• Affinity between the debris-cover, ice-cliffs and supraglacial ponds;
• Ablation on debris-covered glaciers;
• Hydrology of debris-covered glaciers: distinctive processes and concepts;
• Climate change response of debris-covered glaciers (like impact on meltwater discharge, surface properties (area, debris extent, thickness etc), ablation rates and surface ice velocities).

The Research Topic aims to present the state-of-the-art understanding of debris-covered glaciers and so while we welcome all submissions, contributions that develop deeper understanding of the processes governing debris-covered glaciers are especially encouraged.

Keywords: debris cover, mountain glaciers, glacier ablation, glacier hydrology, climate change


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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