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Mass balance of 'Glaciar Bahía del Diablo', Vega Island, Antarctic Peninsula

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Given the pronounced atmospheric warming recorded in recent decades on the Antarctic Peninsula (AP), knowledge of glacier mass balance in this region is especially important for assessing the impact of climatic warming on ice masses. 'Glaciar Bahía del Diablo' (GBD) on Vega Island, northeastern AP, is a glacier that terminates on land, so its mass balance is directly linked to climate. GBD is a polythermal outlet glacier, 14.3 km2 in area with an accumulation–area ratio of 0.39. Increased ablation rates and glacier thinning motivated us to select GBD as a test site for mass-balance studies within the region. Calculations based on the stratigraphic annual method yielded a mean annual loss of 0.32 m w.e.a−1 for the annual net mass balance (bn) between 1999 and 2003. A strong correlation was observed between bn and mean summer temperatures, confirming that GBD is highly sensitive to climate. The study of GBD aims at establishing a suitable reference database for ice–climate studies in a region of dramatic changes in Antarctica.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2004

More about this publication?
  • 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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