Status of Glacier Monitoring in the Canadian Arctic
Roy M. Koerner, Geological Survey of Canada
Presently three groups work on Canadian Arctic Glaciers:
- Trent University, Geography Dept: continuing the mass balance work on White and Baby
Glaciers on Axel Heiberg Islands (begun in 1960) and recently published as an NHRI
- University of Edmonton, Geography Dept: various glaciological activities in Northern
Ellesmere Island, no glacier monitoring program.
- Geological Survey of Canada: Mass balance of Devon (1961- ), Meighen (1960- ), and
Melville S. Ice Caps (1963- ), and a glacier on Northern Ellesmere (1977- ). Main
program, however, is ice core and spatial snow studies for (paleo)climatic change and
pollution studies. This program has been extended to Penny Ice Cap (southern Baffin)
and is run in cooperation with the University of New Hampshire (USA), National Institute
Snow and Ice Studies and National Institute Polar Research, both Japan. The
paleoclimate aspect of this work is allowing broad-based extensions of present-day mass
balance conditions back in time.
All mass balance programs under #1 and #3 use traditional, ground-based techniques. Under
#3, a start has been made to incorporate automatic weather stations mainly for temperature and
snow accumulation records. This approach will soon include the use of (hopefully)
inexpensive automatic ablatometers in the ablation zones. NASA (Thomas) has completed a set
of airborne radar/laser/GPS measurements, along tracks suggested by the GSC, over most of
the ice caps and glaciers of the Canadian Arctic. These tracks, once repeated will give a
wide-scale measurement of glacier change.
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