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The physical basis of glacier volume-area scaling

Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth

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Abstract

Ice volumes are known for only a few of the roughly 160,000 glaciers worldwide but are important components of many climate and sea level studies which require water flux estimates. A scaling analysis of the mass and momentum conservation equations shows that glacier volumes can be related by a power law to more easily observed glacier surface areas. The relationship requires four closure choices for the scaling behavior of glacier widths, slopes, side drag and mass balance. Reasonable closures predict a volume-area scaling exponent which is consistent with observations, giving a physical and practical basis for estimating ice volumes. Glacier volume is insensitive to perturbations in the mass balance scaling, but changes in average accumulation area ratios reflect significant changes in the scaling of both mass balance and ice volume. Copyright 1997 by the American Geophysical Union.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
The physical basis of glacier volume-area scaling
Series title:
Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth
Volume
102
Issue:
B9
Year Published:
1997
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth
First page:
20355
Last page:
20362
Number of Pages:
8