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Glacier wastage on southern Adelaide Island, Antarctica, and its impact on snow runway operations

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Abstract:

The variations and dynamics of the southern edge of Fuchs Ice Piedmont, Adelaide Island (67° 45′ 09′ S, 68° 55′ 04′ W), Antarctic Peninsula, are presented. The snow-covered surface of the glacier has been used since the 1960s for landing aeroplanes in support of British, and more recently Chilean, operations at nearby Teniente Carvajal station (formerly known as Adelaide T). In recent years, snow conditions in the runway area have progressively deteriorated, due to increasingly early summer melting. Radio-echo sounding, global positioning system and remotely sensed data have been analyzed for mapping the crevasse and ice velocity fields, as well as the surface and subglacial topography of the area. The results show that the runway area is located on a local ice divide surrounded by crevasses which are appearing on the glacier surface progressively earlier in the summer, presumably due to higher snowmelt and perhaps higher ice velocities, in response to regional atmospheric warming. In the near future, landing operations will be further affected as more crevasses will appear in the runway area if present warming trends persist. This situation affects all coastal areas in the Antarctic Peninsula, hence the need to search for possible new locations of crevasse-free runways at higher elevations.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3189/172756405781813401

Publication date: June 1, 2005

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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