State of balance of the ice sheet in the Antarctic Peninsula

Data from ice rises on the east coast of the Antarctic Peninsula can be interpreted as showing that the ice is thinning at rates of up 0.5 m a−1. However, a level line between two nunataks in Palmer Land showed no change in surface elevation over a period of 5 a. Melt rates on George VI Ice Shelf vary with position and may indicate that parts of the ice shelf are thickening at the rate of several m a−1, presumably in response to a higher accumulation rate over the peninsula a few hundred years ago. A small valley glacier, Spartan Glacier, is wasting away at about 0.27 m a−1. Ice fronts on both east and west coasts of the peninsula have been retreating for the last 30 a. It seems that there is general glacier recession in response to a wanner climate and decreased snowfall for at least the last 30 a, while parts of the peninsula are still thickening in response to a high accumulation rate several hundred years ago.


Publication status:
Authors: Doake, Christopher S.M.

1 January, 1982
Annals of Glaciology / 3
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