Document Type


Publication Date



Earth Sciences



Publication Title

Journal of Glaciology


In this study, we use aerial photographs, satellite imagery and field observations to quantify changes in the area, terminus length, snowline elevation and surface elevation of eight glaciers in the Alexandra Fiord region, eastern Ellesmere Island, between 1959 and 2019. Comparisons to written and pictorial descriptions from the British Arctic Expedition extend the record of change in terminus position and surface elevation to 1875 for Twin Glacier. Glacier area at Alexandra Fiord decreased by a total of 15.77 ± 0.65 km2 (11.77 ± 0.49%) between 1959 and 2019, the mean end of summer snowline increased in elevation by 360 ± 84 m (8 ± 2 m a−1) between 1974 and 2019, and the glaciers thinned at an average rate of 0.60 ± 0.06 m a−1 between 2001 and 2018. Annual rates of terminus retreat were ~3–5 times higher over the period 1974–2019 compared to 1875–1974, and rates of thinning were ~2–3 times higher over 2001–18 compared to 1875–2001. Our results are consistent with rates of change determined for other glaciers of similar size on Ellesmere Island, and with accelerated rates of ice loss coincident with regional increases in air temperature of ~1.5°C since the early 1980s.


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© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence(, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



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