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High-resolution reconstruction of Polar Ural glacier mass balance for the last millennium

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Abstract:

Our ultimate objective is to study the mass-balance variations of Polar Ural glaciers during the last millennium. We use mass-balance data for two glaciers between 1957 and 1981, climate data obtained by instrumental observations during the 20th century, and tree-ring data compiled for the last 1000 years. Because there is a high correlation between measured glacier mass-balance and climate variables, we reconstruct glacier mass balance for the 20th century using regression equations. Similarly, we use regression equations relating measured climatic variables to tree-ring widths to reconstruct glacier mass balance for the last millennium. According to our reconstructions, the most extensive period of negative mass balance occurred in the late 10th/early 11th century AD, which corresponds to the Medieval Warm Period. A prolonged period of positive glacier mass balance began after the mid-11th century, a time commonly accepted as the onset of the Little Ice Age. This cooling period has three maxima, the last from the early 17th to mid-19th century. Until the beginning of the 20th century, cumulative mass balance over the last millennium varied between ±8 m w.e. However, glacier mass balance in the second half of the 20th century is lower than it has been for the past millennium, and cumulative mass balance is now −10 m w.e. Polar Ural glaciers are important indicators of regional climate change and should be incorporated into a worldwide glacier-monitoring programme.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3189/172756405781812709

Publication date: August 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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