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Glacier mass balances (1993–2001), Taylor Valley, McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica

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Mass balances were measured on four glaciers in Taylor Valley, Antarctica, from 1993 to 2001. We used a piecewise linear regression, which provided an objective assessment of error, to estimate the mass balance with elevation. Missing measurements were estimated from linear regressions between points and showed a significant improvement over other methods. Unlike temperate glaciers the accumulation zone of these polar glaciers accumulates mass in summer and winter and the ablation zone loses mass in both seasons. A strong spatial trend of smaller mass-balance values with distance inland (r2 = 0.80) reflects a climatic gradient to warmer air temperatures, faster wind speeds and less precipitation. Annual and seasonal mass-balance values range only several tens of millimeters in magnitude and no temporal trend is evident. The glaciers of Taylor Valley, and probably the entire McMurdo Dry Valleys, are in equilibrium with the current climate, and contrast with glacier trends elsewhere on the Antarctic Peninsula and in temperate latitudes.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2006-07-01

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  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.

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