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Recent behaviour of Glaciar Upsala, a fast-flowing calving glacier in Lago Argentino, southern Patagonia

  • Pedro Skvarca (a1), Bruce Raup (a2) and Hernan de Angelis (a1)

Abstract

Sequential optical images of high spatial resolution were used for the first time to derive surface ice velocities of Glaciar Upsala, a fast-moving fresh-water calving glacier in southern Patagonia. Cross-correlation methods applied to four Landsat ETM+ images acquired in 2000–01 yielded average velocities of around 1600 m a−1, similar to values measured in the field in November 1993. The derived velocities show almost no seasonal variation for the analyzed calving termini. During the period of satellite coverage, clear readvances were detected in the autumn–winter period, followed by recessions during summers. Between 24 April 1999 and 14 October 2001, the glacier front has been fluctuating seasonally within about 400 m, in contrast to the previous dramatic recession. During the last 2.5 years, Glaciar Upsala west terminus had a net advance of around 300 m. In addition, the available satellite images allowed us to determine recent calving speeds and confirm the improved calving-rate/water-depth relationship, recently proposed by incorporating new data from Patagonian glaciers.

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References

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