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Slight mass loss revealed by reanalyzing glacier mass-balance observations on Glaciar Antisana 15α (inner tropics) during the 1995–2012 period


In this paper, we reanalyze the glacier mass balance on Glaciar Antisana 15α over the 1995–2012 period. Annual glacier mass balances were quantified on the basis of monthly glaciological measurements using an adaptation of Lliboutry's statistical approach. The geodetic mass balance was computed between 1997 and 2009 giving a cumulative balance of −1.39 ± 1.97 m w.e. and a slightly negative adjusted annual glaciological mass balance (−0.12 ± 0.16 m w.e. a−1). Despite a careful analysis of uncertainties, we found a large discrepancy between the cumulative glaciological and the geodetic mass balances over the common period, of 4.66 m w.e. This discrepancy can mainly be explained by underestimated net accumulation in the glacier upper reaches, which could be due to the peculiar climate conditions of the equatorial zone with year round accumulation, thereby preventing clear identification of annual layers. An increase of ~70% in measured rates of net accumulation would be needed to balance the glaciological and geodetic mass balances; a hypothesis confirmed by estimated ice flux in the vicinity of the ELA. Consequently, the vertical gradient of precipitation may be higher than previously estimated and the accumulation processes (including the role of frost deposition) need to be carefully analyzed.

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      Slight mass loss revealed by reanalyzing glacier mass-balance observations on Glaciar Antisana 15α (inner tropics) during the 1995–2012 period
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      Slight mass loss revealed by reanalyzing glacier mass-balance observations on Glaciar Antisana 15α (inner tropics) during the 1995–2012 period
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      Slight mass loss revealed by reanalyzing glacier mass-balance observations on Glaciar Antisana 15α (inner tropics) during the 1995–2012 period
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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Correspondence: Rubén Basantes Serrano <>
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