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Hypsometry and sensitivity of the mass balance to changes in equilibrium-line altitude: the case of the Southern Patagonia Icefield
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8584-272X
2014 (English)In: Journal of Glaciology, ISSN 0022-1430, Vol. 60, no 219, 14-28 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We study the relation between glacier hypsometry and sensitivity of mass-balance rate to changes in equilibrium line altitude (ELA). Our aim is to assess whether hypsometry can be reliably used as an estimator of the sensitivity of unmeasured glaciers to changes in ELA. We express the sensitivity of mass-balance rate to ELA, \(d\dot{B}/dELA\), as a function of accumulation-area ratio (AAR), its derivative against altitude, \(dAAR/dELA\), and mass-balance functions of ELA. We then apply the concept to 139 glaciers in the Southern Patagonia Icefield for which we derive hypsometry and AAR, and analyze the influence of hypsometry on their mass-balance rate sensitivity. We confirm that glaciers where the bulk of area is located above the ELA are the least sensitive, whereas those where the bulk of area is located below the ELA are the most sensitive. Glaciers with unimodal hypsometric curves where the peak of area fraction is around the present ELA, and glaciers with bi- or multimodal area distributions, with the ELA located approximately between the bulges, have intermediate sensitivities. We conclude that hypsometry can be used as a first order estimator of the mass-balance rate sensitivity to ELA change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 60, no 219, 14-28 p.
Keyword [en]
glacier, glaciology, sensitivity, Southern Patagonia Icefield, remote sensing
National Category
Physical Geography
Research subject
Geography, Physical Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-97433DOI: 10.3189/2014JoG13J127ISI: 000332813200002OAI: diva2:677700
Volume Variations of Patagonian Glaciers
Available from: 2013-12-10 Created: 2013-12-10 Last updated: 2014-04-22Bibliographically approved

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De Angelis, Hernán
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Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology
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