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Record #164684:

On the characterization of glacier response by a single time-scale / W.D. Harrison, D.H. Elsberg, K.A. Echelmeyer, R.M. Krimmel.

Title: On the characterization of glacier response by a single time-scale / W.D. Harrison, D.H. Elsberg, K.A. Echelmeyer, R.M. Krimmel.
Author(s): Harrison, W. D.
Elsberg, D. H.
Echelmeyer, K. A.
Krimmel, R. M.
Date: 2001.
In: Journal of Glaciology. (2001.), Vol. 47(159) (2001)
Abstract: Modifies existing simple characterisation of glacier response to climate to account explicitly for the effect of surface elevation on mass balance. Obtains simple relation between changes in volume and area over time and local climate forcing (via a balance rate defined on some fixed reference surface). Relation contains a negative feedback - a climate becomes less favourable for growth results in falling rate of mass loss as ablation area is reduced, and a positive feedback - as thinning lowers the surface, specific balance rates become more negative. Mathematical requirement for glacier climate response to be characterized by a single timescale is a constant ratio of rates of volume and area change. Timescale then determines both rate and magnitude of response. Uses field data from South Cascade Glacier to demonstrate a method of testing this approximation in a given situation. Shows that including dependence of mass balance on surface elevation can result in much longer characteristic time- scales, or even instability. Points out that determining the timescale from measurements may be problematic when surface elevation and area effects have similar magnitudes, and that this must be true for all models.
Notes:

Journal of Glaciology. Vol. 47(159) :659-664 (2001).

Keywords: 551.32 -- Glaciology.
551.324.22 -- Glaciers: South Cascade Glacier.
551.324.63 -- Land ice, advance and retreat.
519.673 -- Modelling.
E3 -- Glaciology: instruments and methods.
(73) -- United States.
(79) -- Pacific states.
SPRI record no.: 164684

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520 3# ‡aModifies existing simple characterisation of glacier response to climate to account explicitly for the effect of surface elevation on mass balance. Obtains simple relation between changes in volume and area over time and local climate forcing (via a balance rate defined on some fixed reference surface). Relation contains a negative feedback - a climate becomes less favourable for growth results in falling rate of mass loss as ablation area is reduced, and a positive feedback - as thinning lowers the surface, specific balance rates become more negative. Mathematical requirement for glacier climate response to be characterized by a single timescale is a constant ratio of rates of volume and area change. Timescale then determines both rate and magnitude of response. Uses field data from South Cascade Glacier to demonstrate a method of testing this approximation in a given situation. Shows that including dependence of mass balance on surface elevation can result in much longer characteristic time- scales, or even instability. Points out that determining the timescale from measurements may be problematic when surface elevation and area effects have similar magnitudes, and that this must be true for all models.
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