Multi decadal glacier area fluctuations in Pan-Arctic S. H. Mernild1 and J. K. Malmros2 1Climate, Ocean, and Sea Ice Modeling Group, Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico, USA 2Centro de Estudios Científicos (CECs), Valdivia, Chile
Received: 30 August 2012 – Accepted: 09 October 2012 – Published: 16 October 2012
Abstract. The shrinking of land-terminating glaciers and ice caps (GIC) has been documented
in high-latitude regions, even though repeat observations upon which to base such
studies have been limited in space. Here, we present a new record of satellite-derived
area changes for 321 land-terminating GIC throughout Pan-Arctic and for the W. Canada and
W. US, with focus on the period from mid-1980s to late-2000s/2011 (the last ca. 25 yr).
The mean shrinking rate was −0.06±0.01 km2 yr−1 during a
period with climate warming. Most of the observed GIC shrank in area, more so than
previously believed: while only 8% advanced. The analysis indicates that the
observed GIC have lost an arithmetic average of one-fifth of their area since the
mid-1980s (equal to a shrinking rate of ca. −1% yr−1), with the highest rate of loss
of −40±4% (−1.7 % yr−1) in Alaska, and the lowest rate of loss
of −12±3% (−0.5 % yr−1) in Arctic Russia.
Citation: Mernild, S. H. and Malmros, J. K.: Multi decadal glacier area fluctuations in Pan-Arctic, The Cryosphere Discuss., 6, 4417-4446, doi:10.5194/tcd-6-4417-2012, 2012.