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Recent retreat at a temperate Icelandic glacier in the context of the last ~80 years of climate change in the North Atlantic region.

Chandler, B.M.P. and Evans, D.J.A. and Roberts, D.H. (2016) 'Recent retreat at a temperate Icelandic glacier in the context of the last ~80 years of climate change in the North Atlantic region.', Arktos., 2 (1). p. 24.

Abstract

Over recent decades, glaciers outside of Greenland and Antarctica have displayed accelerating rates of mass loss and ice-frontal retreat, and this has been associated with unequivocal climatic and oceanic warming. Icelandic glaciers are particularly sensitive to climate variations on short-term timescales owing to their maritime setting, and have shown rapid rates of retreat and mass loss during the past decade. This study uses annual moraine spacing as a proxy for ice-frontal retreat to examine variability in glacier retreat at Skálafellsjökull, SE Iceland, over the last ~80 years. Two pronounced six-year periods (1936–1941 and 1951–1956) of ice-frontal retreat are recognised in the record for comparison with the most recent phase of retreat (2006–2011), and these three retreat phases are shown to be similar in style and magnitude. Analysis of climate data indicates that these periods of glacier retreat are associated with similar summer air temperature values, which is a key control on Icelandic terminus variations. This demonstrates that both the most recent phase of ice-frontal retreat at Skálafellsjökull and the recent warming of summer temperatures are not unusual in the context of the last ~80 years. These findings demonstrate the importance of placing observations of contemporary glacier change in a broader decadal- to centennial-scale context.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1007/s41063-016-0024-1
Publisher statement:Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Date accepted:05 October 2016
Date deposited:31 March 2017
Date of first online publication:22 October 2016
Date first made open access:No date available

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