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Terminus recession, proglacial lake expansion and 21st century calving retreat of Tasman Glacier, New Zealand

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The Tasman Glacier is the largest glacier in New Zealand. Although 20th century warming caused down-wastage, it remained at its Little Ice Age terminus until the late 20th century. Since then, rapid calving retreat (Ur) has occurred, allowing a large (5.96 × 106 m2) proglacial lake to form (maximum depth ∼240 m). From sequential satellite image analysis and echo sounding of Tasman Lake, we document (Ur) from 2000 to 2008. Ur varies temporally, with mean Ur of 54 m/a from 2000 to 2006 and a mean Ur of 144 m/a from 2007 to 2008. Consistent with global data sets, calving rate appears closely associated with lake depth at the calving terminus.

Keywords: 21st century; Tasman glacier; calving retreat

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Geography Programme, School of People, Environment and Planning, Massey University, Private Bag 11-222, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Publication date: December 1, 2010


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