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Iceberg calving rates from northern Ellesmere Island ice caps, Canadian Arctic, 1999–2003

  • Scott Williamson (a1), Martin Sharp (a1), Julian Dowdeswell (a2) and Toby Benham (a2)

Optical satellite imagery was used to estimate glacier surface velocities and iceberg calving rates from Agassiz and western Grant Ice Caps, Nunavut, Canada, between 1999 and 2003. The largest mean annual surface velocities ranged from ∼400 to 700 m a−1, but velocities in the ∼100–200 m a−1 range were common. Summer velocities were up to an order of magnitude larger than annually averaged velocities. The highest velocity (∼1530 m a−1) was measured on the floating tongue of Lake Tuborg Glacier between 19 July and 19 August 2001. Calving rates from individual glaciers varied by up to a factor of two between successive years. Summer calving rates were ∼2–8 times larger than annual average rates. The average ratio of the calving flux due to terminus-volume change to that due to ice flow through the glacier terminus was ∼0.81 for the annual rates and ∼1.71 for summer rates. The estimated mean annual calving rate from Agassiz Ice Cap in the period 1999–2002 was 0.67 ± 0.15 km3 a−1, of which ∼54% emanated from Eugenie Glacier alone. This total rate is similar to a previously estimated calving rate from Devon Ice Cap.

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Journal of Glaciology
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