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Mass Balance of West Gulkana Glacier

Fred B. Chambers, Melvin G. Marcus and L. Sam Thompson
Geographical Review
Vol. 81, No. 1 (Jan., 1991), pp. 70-86
DOI: 10.2307/215177
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/215177
Page Count: 17
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Mass Balance of West Gulkana Glacier
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Abstract

Annual and longer-term mass-balance calculations provide a means to relate glacier behavior to climate. Selected representative glaciers are monitored for this purpose. West Gulkana Glacier, in the eastern Alaska Range, was among the glaciers mapped during the 1957-58 International Geophysical Year. It was remapped in 1986, after which twenty-nine-year mass balance was calculated. Annual budgets were also calculated for 1985-86 and 1986-87 glacier years. The three-decade record shows steady retreat and mass loss in the glacier's transitional marine-continental climate zone. West Gulkana Glacier is regionally representative of small, low-elevation valley systems. Caution must be exercised in relating its climatic responses to glaciers situated above 1,800 m.

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