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Glacial changes of five southwest British Columbia icefields, Canada, mid-1980s to 1999

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This study adjusts and compares digital elevation models (DEMs) created from photogrammetric and interferometric synthetic aperture radar techniques to determine volume and surface elevation changes of five icefields in a remote region of southwest British Columbia, Canada, between the mid-1980s and 1999. Preliminary differences between the DEMs in ice-free and vegetationfree areas indicated variable elevation offsets with increasing altitude (11 m km−1) and with increasing slope (2.7 m(10°)−1). Results indicate a surface elevation change of −6.0±2.7 m (−0.5±0.2 m a−1) and a total volume loss of −19.4±8.8 km3 (−1.5±0.7 km3 a−1), which represents a potential sea-level rise contribution of 0.004±0.002 mm a−1. Temperature and snowfall data from four nearby meteorological stations indicate that increased temperatures and decreased snowfall throughout the late 1980s and 1990s are a likely cause of the thinning. Glacier terminus positions were compared between a historical map (1927) and satellite images (1974, 1990/91 and 2000/01). All observed glaciers were in retreat between 1927 and 1974, as well as between 1990/91 and 2000/01, but many glaciers advanced or significantly slowed in their retreat between 1974 and 1990/91.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 2008

More about this publication?
  • 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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