Elevation and volume changes of seven Dickson Land glaciers, Svalbard, 1960-1990-2009
Melting Svalbard glaciers have been recognized as an early indicator of climate change. Large parts of Svalbard remain insufficiently investigated, including Dickson Land, in the quasi-continental interior of Svalbard. In this study, elevation and volume changes of seven glaciers located in the Pyramiden region are assessed by analysing contour lines from 1960 topographic maps and photogrammetrically derived 1990 and 2009 digital elevation models. Mass loss was documented for all seven glaciers. In the period 1960-1990, their average elevation change rate was -0.49 m a-1, while in the more recent period, 1990-2009, it was more negative at 0.78 m a-1, caused by a significant equilibrium line altitude shift with post-1990 rise in summer temperatures. Large variation in elevation change rates between individual glaciers was found and is attributed mainly to aspect and hypsometry. This highlights the importance of choosing a representative sample when investigating mass balance of whole regions. Evidence of a rapid increase in thinning rates in the upper parts of the studied glaciers, linked to decreasing albedo in former accumulation zones, was also found.
Keywords: Central Svalbard; Dickson Land; Pyramiden; glacier thinning; geometry changes; glacier volume
(Published: 8 October 2013)
Citation: Polar Research 2013, 32, 18400, http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/polar.v32i0.18400
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