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Tidewater glacier fluctuations in central East Greenland coastal and fjord regions (1980s–2005)

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Summer 2000/01 ASTER and Landsat 7 scenes and semi-automated digitization were used to compile a glacier inventory for local glaciers of the Geikie Plateau region, central East Greenland. Of the 332 glaciers (41 591 km2), 120 are tidewater-terminating and drain 90% of the glacierized area. Differencing the 2000/01 tidewater margins from the 1980s GEUS map database ice polygons (113 glaciers) and from 2004/05 ASTER tidewater margins (78 glaciers) shows a cumulative tidewater terminus width decrease from 196 km to 183 km between the 1980s and 2000s, with a corresponding areal loss of ∼31 km2 and an effective length change of –14.3 km. Between 2000/01 and 2004/05, areal loss was 26 km2. Average margin retreat rate increased two- to threefold, from 1.7–2.1 km2 a–1 (1980s–2000) to 3.9–5.7 km2 a–1 (2000–05). Advances are negligible, apart from two surges, of which one was previously undetected. Coastal, 'outer' fjord-terminating, glaciers have two to three times larger areal and effective length retreat rates than 'inner' fjord-terminating glaciers. We investigate possible causes and hypothesize that, in addition to ocean temperature and sea ice, changes in sea fog may affect coastal-terminating more than inner fjord-terminating glaciers.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-11-01

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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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