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Variations of glacier frontal positions on the northern Antarctic Peninsula

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Changes in the ice fronts on the Antarctic Peninsula north of 70° S are currently being investigated through a comprehensive analysis of Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) and Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) data as part of the international research initiative 'Global land Ice Measurements from Space' (GLIMS). Regional case studies are presented that cover a variety of glacial systems distributed over the northern Antarctic Peninsula and provide data on glacier front variations during the period 1986–2002. The results confirm a general trend of regional glacier front recession, but a range of different glacier variations are observed throughout the study area. Areas of predominant retreat are located in the northeastern and southwestern sectors, while stationary ice fronts characterize glacial behaviour on the northwestern coast of the peninsula. In addition, a significant increase in glacier recession is identified on James Ross Island, where retreat rates doubled during the period 1988–2001 compared to the previous investigation period, 1975–88. These observations are interpreted as being direct consequences of the rapidly changing climate in the region, which differentially affects the local accumulation and ablation patterns of the glacial systems.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2004-06-01

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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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