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Modern glacier velocities across the Icefield Ranges, St Elias Mountains, and variability at selected glaciers from 1959 to 2012

  • Alexandra Waechter (a1), Luke Copland (a1) and Emilie Herdes (a1)

Abstract

New high-resolution velocity maps of the eastern St Elias Mountains, North America, are obtained from speckle tracking of winter 2011 and 2012 RADARSAT-2 image pairs. This includes the most complete velocity mapping to date of Hubbard Glacier, allowing for an upward revision of the Hubbard Glacier calving flux to 5.48 ± 1.16 km3 a−1. Combined with historical velocities from feature tracking of Landsat image pairs (1980s−2000s), and previously published results, these new velocity measurements allow for an evaluation of the interannual variability of motion at eight glaciers in this region, due to both long-term force-balance effects and surge dynamics. Multi-decadal velocities at the non-surge-type Kaskawulsh Glacier indicate little change along most of its length, except for the lowermost 10 km where deceleration has been pronounced since the late 1980s in a region that has undergone rapid recent thinning. Interannual variability of surge-type glaciers was high, with year-to-year velocity variations of up to several hundred m a−1. These glaciers were also characterized by distinct patterns of deceleration and/or acceleration along their length.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence: Luke Copland <luke.copland@uottawa.ca>

References

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