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Glacier fluctuations on South Georgia during the 1970s and early 1980s

  • John E. Gordon (a1) and Roger J. Timmis (a2)

Abstract

South Georgia is a highly glacierized island with a range of glacier types including corrie, valley and tidewater ice bodies. Glaciologically, it occupies a strategic location between South America and the Antarctic Peninsula and is potentially an important locality for establishing glacier-climate relationships in the region. Baseline surveys of ice front positions and ice surface profiles have been repeated to determine recent changes in several glacier types. Corrie and small, land-based valley glaciers have continued to thin and recede during the period of study, following an advance during the 1930s. Their behaviour primarily reflects the effects of seasonal temperature variations in controlling net balances, and particularly the climatic warming since 1950. The larger valley and tidewater glaciers display a lagged response and in the 1970s were at their most advanced positions since the Little Ice Age of the 17–19th centuries. However, in the last few years they too have commenced to thin and recede.

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