The Cryosphere Discuss., 4, 2307-2336, 2010
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in TC.
Glacier changes in the Pascua-Lama region, Chilean Andes (29° S): recent mass-balance and 50-year surface-area variations
A. Rabatel1, H. Castebrunet2, V. Favier1, L. Nicholson3, and C. Kinnard4
1Université Joseph Fourier, Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Géophysique de l'Environnement (LGGE), UMR5183, Saint Martin d'Hères, France
2Météo France, Centre d'étude de la Neige, Saint Martin d'Hères, France
3Institut für Geographie, Universität Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
4Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Zonas Aridas (CEAZA), La Serena, Chile

Abstract. Since 2003, a monitoring program has been conducted on several glaciers and glacierets in the Pascua-Lama region of the Chilean Andes (29° S/70° W; 5000 m a.s.l.), permitting the study of glaciological processes on ice-bodies in a subtropical, arid, high-elevation area where no measurements were previously available. In this paper we present: (i) 6 years of glaciological surface mass-balance measurements from 4 ice-bodies in the area, including a discussion of the nature of the studied glaciers and glacierets and characterization of the importance of winter mass-balance to annual mass-balance variability; and (ii) changes in surface-area of 20 ice-bodies in the region since 1955, reconstructed from aerial photographs and satellite images, which show that ice-bodies have lost 44 ± 21% of their 1955 surface-area, and that the rate of surface-area shrinkage increased in the late 20th century. From these datasets we present an interpretation of inter-decadal glacier changes, which appear to be linked to El Niño Southern Oscillation and to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

Citation: Rabatel, A., Castebrunet, H., Favier, V., Nicholson, L., and Kinnard, C.: Glacier changes in the Pascua-Lama region, Chilean Andes (29° S): recent mass-balance and 50-year surface-area variations, The Cryosphere Discuss., 4, 2307-2336, doi:10.5194/tcd-4-2307-2010, 2010.
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