A new Antarctic Peninsula glacier basin inventory and observed area changes since the 1940s

first_imgGlaciers on the Antarctic Peninsula have recently shown changes in extent, velocity andthickness, yet there is little quantification of change in the mass balance of individual glaciers orthe processes controlling changes in extent. Here a high-resolution digital elevation model and asemi-automated drainage basin delineation method have been used to define glacier systems between63°S–70°S on the mainland and surrounding islands, resulting in an inventory of 1590 glacier basins.Of these, 860 are marine-terminating glaciers whose ice fronts can be defined at specific epochs since the1940s. These ice front positions were digitized up to 2010 and the areas for all individual glacier basinswere calculated.Glaciological characteristics, such as geometry, slope and altitudes, were attributed to eachglacier, thus providing a new resource for glacier morphological analyses. Our results indicate that 90% ofthe 860 glaciers have reduced in area since the earliest recorded date. A north–south gradient of increasingice loss is clear, as is distinct behaviour on the east and west coasts. The area lost varies considerably betweenglacier types, with correlations apparent with glacier shape, slope and frontal-type. Temporal trendsindicate a uniform retreat since the 1970s, with a period of small re-advance in the late 1990s.last_img read more