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TitleMass balance and streamflow variability at Place Glacier, Canada, in relation to recent climate fluctuations
AuthorMoore, R D; Demuth, M N
SourceHydrological Processes vol. 15, issue 18, 2001 p. 3473-3486,
LinksAbstract - Résumé
Alt SeriesGeological Survey of Canada, Contribution Series 2001022
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
ProvinceBritish Columbia
AreaPlace Glacier; Southwestern British Columbia
Lat/Long WENS-123.0000 -122.5000 50.5000 50.2500
Subjectssurficial geology/geomorphology; environmental geology; Nature and Environment; climatic fluctuations; climatology; glacial deposits; glaciers; stream flow; glacier surveys; Climate change; Cenozoic
Illustrationslocation maps; sketch maps; time series; aerial photographs; tables; hydrographs
ProgramNational Glaciology Program
Released2002 01 01
AbstractAlthough a great deal of research has focused on the hydrologic effects of climate variability and change, relatively little research has examined the effects on streamflow of interactions between climate variability and change and resulting glacier response. Place Glacier, in the southern Coast Mountains of British Columbia, Canada, has been monitored for mass balance since 1965, and a stream gauge was operated just below the glacier terminus from 1969 to 1989. This paper presents analyses of the mass balance history and streamflow variations in relation to recorded climatic variability.
Place Glacier's winter and net balances are correlated with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Summer balance is positively correlated with summer temperature and negatively with the preceding winter balance, which enhances the effects of changes in winter balance on net balance. The well?documented post?1976 shift from the PDO cold phase to the present warm phase initiated a significant and persistent period of more negative net balance and terminal retreat. A reconstruction of net balance extending back to the 1890s, based on a regression with winter precipitation and summer temperature, displays decadal?scale fluctuations consistent with the PDO. Summer streamflow responded to interannual variations in winter snow accumulation and summer temperatures, which control the rate of rise of the glacier snowline and melt rates. After accounting for these influences via regression analysis, August streamflow displayed a negative trend in total runoff. Examination of air photographs and the reconstructed mass balance history suggest that significant firn depletion had occurred prior to 1965, such that the dominant effect of glacier changes was a reduction in ice area, resulting in decreased meltwater production.

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