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Intra-annual and intra-seasonal flow dynamics of a High Arctic polythermal valley glacier

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Measurements of surface dynamics on polythermal John Evans Glacier, Nunavut, Canada, over two winter periods and every 7-10 days throughout two melt seasons (June-July 2000, 2001) provide new insight into spatio-temporal patterns of High Arctic glacier dynamics. In the lower ablation zone, mean annual surface velocities are 10-21m a-1, but peak velocities up to 50% higher are attained during late June/early July. In the upper ablation zone and lower accumulation zone, mean annual surface velocities are typically 10-18 m a-1, and peak velocities up to 40% higher occur during late July. In the upper accumulation zone, mean annual surface velocities are 2-9 m a-1, and motion in mid- to late July exceeds this by up to 10%. Rapid drainage of ponded supraglacial water in the upper ablation zone to an initially distributed subglacial drainage system in mid-June may force excess surface motion in the warm-based lower glacier. The data indicate that the duration of the velocity response may be related to the rate of channelization of the basal drainage, and the velocity response may be transmitted up-glacier by longitudinal coupling. An increase in surface velocities in the middle glacier in late July occurs in conjunction with the opening of two further moulins in the accumulation zone.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2003

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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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