Sustained rapid shrinkage of Yukon glaciers since the 1957–1958 International Geophysical Year

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Abstract

[1] Glaciers in the Yukon, NW Canada, lost 22% of their surface area during the 50 years following the 1957–58 International Geophysical Year, coincident with increases in average winter and summer air temperatures and decreases in winter precipitation. Scaling these results to ice volume change, we obtain a total mass loss of 406 ± 177 Gt, which accounts for 1.12 ± 0.49 mm of global sea-level rise. Yukon glaciers thinned by 0.78 ± 0.34 m yr−1 water equivalent, a regional thinning rate exceeded only by mountain glaciers in Patagonia and Alaska. Our scaling analysis suggests the remaining glaciers have the capacity to contribute a further 5.02 mm to global sea-level rise.

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