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Glacier inventory of the upper Huasco valley, Norte Chico, Chile: glacier characteristics, glacier change and comparison with central Chile

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Results of a new glacier inventory of the upper Huasco valley, which lies within the arid Norte Chico zone of the Chilean Andes, are presented for 2004. Despite the high altitude, the glaciation in this region is limited in extent and is not classical mountain glaciation, which poses difficulties in completing standard inventory attribute tables. Small cornice-style ridgeline features constitute a large number of the non-transient ice bodies identified, and glaciers with surface areas <0.1 km2 comprise 18% of the glacierized area and 3% of the water resource stored as glacier ice within the Huasco valley. Rock glaciers are an important component of the cryosphere, comprising 12% of the total water volume stored in glacial features. Changes in glacier area over the last ∼50 years are in line with those for glaciers in central Chile despite the contrasting climate conditions. Projections of glacier area change based on glacier hypsometry and zero isotherm shifts predicted using the PRECIS regional model temperature change for IPCC scenario B2 conditions suggest that the survival of 65% of glacier area and 77% of active rock-glacier area will be threatened under forecast conditions for the end of the 21st century.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2010

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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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