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The Use of Hypsometry to Indicate Long-Term Stability and Response of Valley Glaciers to Changes in Mass Transfer

  • D.J Furbish (a1) and J.T. Andrews (a1)

Abstract

A simple equation is derived relating the net mass-balance and hypsometric curves of a steady-state valley glacier. It is used to examine how valley shape is linked to disparate extents and responses of glaciers subjected to similar climatic conditions. Examples are given which show that area-based indices (e.g. AAR) for estimating the equilibrium line altitude (ELA) may be subject to a substantial built-in variance because they implicitly rely upon similarity of glacier shape and regimen over a region. If accurate topographic maps are available, the equation may be used to infer the regimen of modern glaciers in the form of a dimensionless ratio of net mass-balance gradients. Alternatively, if similar information is available concerning regional glacier regimen, disparate extents and responses may be collectively utilized to estimate values of ELA or to infer climatic influence, taking glacier hypsometry into account.

Résumé

Une équation simple est obtenue reliant la courbe de bilan de masse net et la courbe hypsométrique d’un glacier de vallée en équilibre. Elle est utilisée pour examiner comment la forme de la vallée est liée à des extensions et des réponses contrasteés de glaciers soumis à des conditions climatiques semblables. Des exemples sont donnés qui montrent que des indices basés sur les surfaces (par exemple l’AAR.) pour l’estimation de l’élévation de la ligne d’équilibre (ELA) peuvent être sujets à une variance incorporée substantielle parce qu’elle repose implicitement sur une similitude de la forme et du régime des glaciers sur toute une région. Si l’on dispose de cartes topographiques précises l’équation peut être utilisée pour retrouver le régime des glaciers modernes sous la forme d‘un rapport adimensionnel entre les gradients de bilan de masse. Réciproqucement si de semblables informations existent sur le régime des glaciers de la région. les différences des extensions et des répouses peuveut être utilisées ensembles pour estimer l‘ELA ou pour reconstituer l‘influence climatique en prenant en compte l‘hypsométrie du glacier.

Zusammenfassung

Mit Hilfe einer Beziehung zwischen dem Netto-Massenbilanzbild und dem Höhenlinienbild eines Talgletschers wird eine einfache Gleichung für dessen stationären zustand hergeleitet. Diese wird benutzt, um zu untersuchen, wie die Tallform mit verschiedenen Ausmassen und Reaktionen von Gletschern, die ähnlichen klimatischen Bedingungen unterliegen, verbunden ist. Es werden Beispiele vorgeführt, die zeigen, dass gebietsabhängige Indizes (z.B. AAR) zur Abschätzung der Höhe der Gleichgewichtslinie (ELA) eine wesentliche innere Schwankungsbreite besitzen können, weil sie implizit eine Ähnlichkeit der Gletscherform und des Haushalts innerhalb eines Gebietes voraussetzen. Sind genaue topographische Karten vorhanden, so kann die Gleichung dazu benutzt werden, den Haushalt junger Gletscher in Form eines dimensionslosen verhältnisses von Gradienten der Netio-Massenbilanz abzuleiten. Sind ähnliche Informationen über den regionalen Gletscherhaushalt verfügbar, so können ersatzweise verschiedene Ausmasse und Reaktionen kollektiv zur Abschätzung der ELA oder zur Ableitung des klimatischen Einflusses unter Berücksichtigung des Höhengestalt des Gletschers herangezogen werden.

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The Use of Hypsometry to Indicate Long-Term Stability and Response of Valley Glaciers to Changes in Mass Transfer

  • D.J Furbish (a1) and J.T. Andrews (a1)

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