Decadal changes from a multi-temporal glacier inventory of Svalbard

TitleDecadal changes from a multi-temporal glacier inventory of Svalbard
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsNuth C., Kohler J., Konig M., von Deschwanden A., Hagen JO, Kaab A., Moholdt G, Pettersson R.
Date Published2013/10
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number1994-0416
Accession NumberWOS:000328544800021
Keywordsarea changes; austfonna; glaciers; greenland; land ice measurements; mass-balance; new-zealand; response-time; snow accumulation; southern alps; tidewater

We present a multi-temporal digital inventory of Svalbard glaciers with the most recent from the late 2000s containing 33 775 km(2) of glaciers covering 57% of the total land area of the archipelago. At present, 68% of the glacierized area of Svalbard drains through tidewater glaciers that have a total terminus width of similar to 740 km. The glacierized area over the entire archipelago has decreased by an average of 80 km(2) a(-1) over the past similar to 30 yr, representing a reduction of 7%. For a sample of similar to 400 glaciers (10 000 km(2)) in the south and west of Spitsbergen, three digital inventories are available from the 1930/60s, 1990 and 2007 from which we calculate average changes during 2 epochs. In the more recent epoch, the terminus retreat was larger than in the earlier epoch, while area shrinkage was smaller. The contrasting pattern may be explained by the decreased lateral wastage of the glacier tongues. Retreat rates for individual glaciers show a mix of accelerating and decelerating trends, reflecting the large spatial variability of glacier types and climatic/dynamic response times in Svalbard. Lastly, retreat rates estimated by dividing glacier area changes by the tongue width are larger than centerline retreat due to a more encompassing frontal change estimate with inclusion of lateral area loss.

Short TitleCryosphere
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