An analysis of variability in the winter mass balance (WMB) of 22 glaciers in the Northern Hemisphere indicates two primary modes of variability that explain 46% of the variability among all glaciers. The first mode of variability characterizes WMB variability in Northern and Central Europe and the second mode primarily represents WMB variability in northwestern North America, but also is related to variability in WMB of one glacier in Europe and one in Central Asia. These two modes of WMB variability are explained by variations in mesoscale atmospheric circulation which are driving forces of variations in surface temperature and precipitation. The first mode is highly correlated with the Arctic Oscillation Index, whereas the second mode is highly correlated with the Southern Oscillation Index. In addition, the second mode of WMB variability is highly correlated with variability in global winter temperatures. This result suggests some connection between global temperature trends and WMB for some glaciers.
Additional publication details
Variability in winter mass balance of Northern Hemisphere glaciers and relations with atmospheric circulation