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An 850 year record of climate and fluctuations of the iceberg-calving Nellie Juan Glacier, south central Alaska, U.S.A.

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Tree-ring cross-dates of 46 glacially killed trees show that the tidewater Nellie Juan Glacier, Alaska, advanced seaward during the 16th and 17th centuries AD. Ice-scarred trees at the late-Holocene end moraine indicate that the terminus was at its recent maximum from 1842 to 1893. Historical observations and photographs show that subsequent slow retreat changed to rapid iceberg-calving retreat after 1935, and that the tidewater terminus had withdrawn about 3.3 km from the late-Holocene maximum by 1992. Comparison with paleoclimate records from nearby land-terminating glaciers and an 850 year tree-ring-width chronology indicates that the timing of the 19th-century maximum stand of Nellie Juan Glacier was controlled by changes in summer temperature and radiation. However, rapid iceberg-calving retreat did not begin until 40 years of slow retreat had brought the tidewater terminus back from the terminal moraine shoal. Therefore, both the dimensions of the terminal moraine shoal and the magnitude and duration of climate change were important in initiating rapid retreat of this tidewater glacier system.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2003-01-01

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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