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Recent volume and area changes of Kaskawulsh Glacier, Yukon, Canada

  • Norah Foy (a1), Luke Copland (a1), Christian Zdanowicz (a2), Mike Demuth (a2) and Chris Hopkinson (a3)...

Abstract

Recent surface elevation changes of Kaskawulsh Glacier, Yukon, Canada, are quantified by comparing an air-photo derived DEM from 1977 and airborne lidar measurements from 1995, 2000 and 2007. Surface-area changes are assessed using historical aerial photography from 1956 and satellite imagery from 1977 to 2007. Combined, these measurements provide some of the first detailed records of volume change of a large Yukon glacier. Between 1977 and 2007, Kaskawulsh Glacier underwent a decrease in area of 1.53% and a decrease in volume of 3.27–5.94 km3 w.e.). The terminus also retreated by 655 m over the period 1956–2007. There was relatively minor volume change over the period 1977–95 (<+0.01 km3 w.e.a−1), while over the periods 1995–2000 and 2000–07 volume losses occurred at a relatively constant rate of −0.51 and −0.50 km3 a−1 w.e., respectively. Since 1995, thinning has been prominent throughout the ablation zone, while relative stability and even slight thickening has occurred in the accumulation zone. These findings are similar to those recently observed at other nearby Alaskan glaciers.

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