During the ablation season, surface melting causes diurnal flow variations in temperate glaciers. Because basal motion plays a key role in short-term velocity fluctuations, measurements of diurnal flow variations provide insight into subglacial conditions and their influence on the glacier flow field.

This contribution reports high-frequency measurements of diurnal flow speed and strain rate variations in a temperate valley glacier in the Swiss Alps. Numerical simulations of the observed flow field using a two-dimensional finite-element flow model indicated that basal motion was non-uniformly distributed along the glacier and its pattern varied in a diurnal manner.

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