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Glacier Mass Balance.png

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Summary Edit

This figure shows the average rate of thickness change in mountain glaciers around the world. This information, known as the glaciological mass balance, is found by measuring the annual snow accumulation and subtracting surface ablation driven by melting, sublimation, or wind erosion. These measurements do not account for thinning associated with iceberg calving, flow related thinning, or subglacial erosion. All values are corrected for variations in snow and firn density and expressed in meters of water equivalent (Dyurgerov 2002).

Measurements are shown as both the annual average thickness change and the accumulated change during the fifty years of measurements presented. Years with a net increase in glacier thickness are plotted upwards and in red; years with a net decrease in glacier thickness (i.e. positive thinning) are plotted downward and in blue. Only three years in the last 50 have experienced thickening in the average.

Systematic measurements of glacier thinning began in the 1940s, but fewer than 15 sites had been measured each year until the late 1950s. Since then more than 100 sites have contributed to the average in some years (Dyurgerov 2002, Dyurgerov and Meier 2005). Error bars indicate the standard error in the mean.

Other observations, based on glacier length records, suggest that glacier retreat has occurred nearly continuously since the early 1800s and the end of the little ice age, but variations in rate have occurred, including a significant acceleration during the twentieth century that is believed to have been a response to global warming (Oerlemans 2005).

Licensing Edit

This file is licensed under the GFDL. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this image under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. Subject to Wikia disclaimers.


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Date/TimeThumbnailDimensionsUserComment
current21:37, April 18, 2007Thumbnail for version as of 21:37, April 18, 2007658 × 500 (20 KB)Eric Wester (Talk | contribs)This figure shows the average rate of thickness change in mountain glaciers around the world. This information, known as the glaciological mass balance, is found by measuring the annual snow accumulation and subtracting surface ablation driven by melting,

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