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Temporal and spatial changes of Laika Glacier, Canadian Arctic, since 1959, inferred from satellite remote sensing and mass-balance modelling

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The retreat of Laika Glacier (4.4 km2), part of a small ice cap situated on Coburg Island, Canadian Arctic Archipelago, is analyzed using field data, satellite remote sensing and mass-balance modelling. We present a methodology for merging various data types and numerical models and investigate the temporal and spatial changes of a remote glacier during the past five decades. A glacier mass-balance and surface-evolution model is run for the period 1959–2006, forced with in situ weather observations and climate re-analysis data (ERA-40, NARR). The model is calibrated using the ice-volume change observed between 1959 and 1971, and measured seasonal mass balances. Calculated glacier surface elevation is validated against ICESat GLAS altimeter data and ASTER-derived elevation. Landsat-derived glacier outlines are used to validate calculated ice extent. The piedmont tongue of Laika Glacier has retreated considerably and is in a state of disintegration. The modelled glacier mass balance between 1959 and 2006 was −0.41 m w.e.a−1, on average. Model results indicate a significant trend towards higher mass-balance gradients. A complete wastage of Laika Glacier by 2100 is predicted by model runs based on climate scenarios.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2008-12-01

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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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