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How do glaciers respond to climate? Perspectives from the simplest models

  • W.D. Harrison (a1)
Abstract

We study the approximations underlying the macroscopic theory of glacier response to climate, and illustrate some basic properties of glacier response using two simple examples, a block on an inclined plane and a block with a more realistic terminal region. The properties include nonlinearity and the usefulness of linear approximations, sensitivity to bed slope, timescale, stability, characteristic elevations of the equilibrium line at which the properties of the response change, the limit of fast response in a changing climate, the minimum sustainable size, increased sensitivity to climate change as a glacier retreats, and finally the similarity in the responses of simple glaciers with the same product of length and square of bed slope.

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References
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Journal of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0022-1430
  • EISSN: 1727-5652
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-glaciology
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