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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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The Cryosphere Discuss., 6, 4417-4446, 2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
16 Oct 2012
Review status
This discussion paper has been under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC). A final paper in TC is not foreseen.
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

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.
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