Glaciological traverse across the Southern Patagonian Icefield

📅 2019-01-01✍️ Minowa, Masahiro , Schaefer, Marius , Skvarca, Pedro , Matoba, Sumito , Gacit'ua, Guisella📚 Bulletin of Glaciological Research🎯 article
To better understand the temporal variation of the ice surface elevation and the spatio-temporal variation of snow accumulation in the accumulation area of the Southern Patagonian Icefield, we carried out a glaciological traverse in October 2018. This included measurements of surface elevation, firn layers, and sampling of snow in the accumulation areas of Glaciar Viedma and Glaciar P'io XI. The main results from the traverse are: i) during the period of 2000-2018 the surface elevation in the accumulation area of Glaciar Viedma decreased by 1.7 m a-1, but increased at Glaciar P'io XI by 0.4 m a-1, ii) ground-penetrating radar revealed numerous firn layers with a continuous water aquifer at 20-40 m depth, iii) the water isotope ratio of surface snow samples varied with wind direction. Repeating the traverse in the area will provide an opportunity to answer questions about the contrasting glacier behavior and the snow accumulation rate, a necessary step to make reliable projections of future glacier behavior in Patagonia.
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