Journal cover Journal topic
The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2017-50
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
07 Apr 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).
Changes in glacier dynamics at the northern Antarctic Peninsula since 1985
Thorsten Seehaus1, Alison Cook2, Aline B. Silva3, and Matthias H. Braun1 1Institute of Geography, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Wetterkreuz 15, 91058 Erlangen, Germany
2Department of Geography, Durham University, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
3Laboratório de Monitoramento da Criosfera, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande, Av. Itália, km 8, 96203-900, Rio Grande – RS Brazil
Abstract. The climatic conditions along the northern Antarctic Peninsula have shown significant changes within the last 50 years. Most studies have focused on the glaciers affected by the disintegration of the ice shelves along the east coast. However, temporally and spatially detailed observations of the changes in ice dynamics along both the east and west coastlines are missing. Temporal trends of glacier area (1985–2015) and ice surface velocity (1992–2014) changes are derived from a broad multi-mission remote sensing database for 74 glacier basins on the northern Antarctic Peninsula (< 65° S). A recession of the glaciers by 238.81 km2 is found for the period 1985–2015, whereas the glaciers affected by ice shelf disintegration showed the largest retreat by 208.59 km2. Glaciers on the east coast north of the former Prince Gustav Ice Shelf receded by only 21.07 km2 and decelerated by about 69 % on average. Whereat, the former ice shelf tributary glaciers on the east coast showed similar temporal ice dynamics trends. A dramatic acceleration after ice shelf disintegration with a subsequent deceleration is observed. In 2014, the flow speed of the former ice shelf tributaries was 16.8 % higher than at the beginning of the study period. Along the west coast the average flow speeds of the glaciers increased by 41.5 %. However, the glaciers on the western Antarctic Peninsula revealed a strong spatial variability of the changes in ice dynamics. By applying a hierarchical cluster analysis we show that this is associated with geometric parameters of the individual glacier basin. The heterogeneous pattern of ice dynamic trends at the northern Antarctic Peninsula points out that temporally and spatially detailed observations as well as further monitoring are necessary to reveal the full picture of glacier change in regions with such strong topographic and climatic gradients.

Citation: Seehaus, T., Cook, A., Silva, A. B., and Braun, M. H.: Changes in glacier dynamics at the northern Antarctic Peninsula since 1985, The Cryosphere Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2017-50, in review, 2017.
Thorsten Seehaus et al.
Thorsten Seehaus et al.
Thorsten Seehaus et al.

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Short summary
The ice sheet of northern Antarctic Peninsula has been significantly affected by climate change within the last century. A temporally and spatially detailed study on the evolution of glacier retreat and flow speeds of 74 basins is provided. Since 1985 a total frontal retreat of 238 km2 and since 1992 regional mean changes in ice flow by up to 69 % are observed. The trends in ice dynamics are correlated with geometric parameters of the glacier catchments and regional climatic settings.
The ice sheet of northern Antarctic Peninsula has been significantly affected by climate change...
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