A new Antarctic Peninsula glacier basin inventory and observed area changes since the 1940s
Glaciers on the Antarctic Peninsula have recently shown changes in extent, velocity and
thickness, yet there is little quantification of change in the mass balance of individual glaciers or
the processes controlling changes in extent. Here a high-resolution digital elevation model and a
semi-automated drainage basin delineation method have been used to define glacier systems between
63°S–70°S on the mainland and surrounding islands, resulting in an inventory of 1590 glacier basins.
Of these, 860 are marine-terminating glaciers whose ice fronts can be defined at specific epochs since the
1940s. These ice front positions were digitized up to 2010 and the areas for all individual glacier basins
were calculated.Glaciological characteristics, such as geometry, slope and altitudes, were attributed to each
glacier, thus providing a new resource for glacier morphological analyses. Our results indicate that 90% of
the 860 glaciers have reduced in area since the earliest recorded date. A north–south gradient of increasing
ice loss is clear, as is distinct behaviour on the east and west coasts. The area lost varies considerably between
glacier types, with correlations apparent with glacier shape, slope and frontal-type. Temporal trends
indicate a uniform retreat since the 1970s, with a period of small re-advance in the late 1990s.
Authors: Cook, A.J., Vaughan, D.G., Luckman, A.J., Murray, T.