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Contrasting glacier variations of Glaciar Perito Moreno and Glaciar Ameghino, Southern Patagonia Icefield

  • Masahiro Minowa (a1) (a2), Shin Sugiyama (a1), Daiki Sakakibara (a1) (a2) and Takanobu Sawagaki (a3)


Glaciar Perito Moreno (GPM) and Glaciar Ameghino (GA), Southern Patagonia Icefield, are in contact in the accumulation area, but have shown contrasting frontal variations in the past few decades. To investigate recent changes of the two glaciers and processes controlling the different responses to similar climate conditions, we measured surface elevation change from 2000 to 2008 and terminus positions from 1999 to 2012 using several types of satellite data. GPM shows no significant changes in terminus position and 0.4 ± 0.3 m a–1 thickening over the period, whereas GA retreated 55 ± 2 m a–1 and thinned 2.6 ± 0.3 m a–1. Mass-balance measurements over the period 1999/2000 show that accumulation at GPM was ten times greater than that at GA, but ablation was only three times greater. The mass-balance–altitude profile is similar for the two glaciers; differences in the mass-balance distribution are caused by differences in the accumulation–area ratio (AAR). Our results suggest that the AAR and the calving flux exert strong control on the evolution of glaciers in the region.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence: Masahiro Minowa <>


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