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