This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

What Is The Mass Balance Of A Glacier, How Is It Measured And What Is Its Relationship To Climate

1423 words - 6 pages

Ice sheets, ice caps and valley glaciers compose the main elements of glacial environments. Many different processes deriving from their movement, as well as marine aeolian and fluvial influences, affect these environments putting them amongst the most complex present on Earth today.
Vital to the health of a glacier is its mass balance. Mass balance comprises of accumulation; all processes that add mass to a glacier, minus ablation; all processes that subtract mass from a glacier in a given year.
Determining the health of a glacial system is dependent on mass balance. A glacier with a positive mass balance is out of equilibrium with processes of accumulation being larger than that of ...view middle of the document...

These changes are propagated down the glacier by kinematic waves; ice flows moving down-slope by internal deformation and sometimes causing a protuberance in the ice surface as it spreads out the ice. Kinematic waves have a faster velocity than the ice and may initiate advancement at the snout when reached, which can take years. The rate at which this occurs is restricted principally by the slope, basal thermal and physical conditions. The distance a glacier will advance is determined solely by the amount of available ice, however, not by the kinematic wave itself (Paterson 1981) .
Variation in ice-thickness in the upper and middle sections of a glacier may be diminutive as it is the snout which is particularly susceptible to changes in mass balance.
Response times to mass balance changes also vary significantly from place to place and are dependent on the length and thickness of the glacier and the ablation at the snout. In general, small, high gradient, high-velocity, thin, temperate glaciers have a quick response time, reacting within a few years. For example, cirque glaciers may take as little as one to two years to respond, valley glaciers from 5 to 100 years. On the other hand, large, low-gradient, low velocity, thick, cold glaciers, ice sheet may take thousands of years to respond, such as the Antarctic ice sheet which takes up to 5,000 years.
Many different techniques are used to measure mass balance. Methods within the accumulation zone include snow pits, a fairly simple method involving digging through the previous winters residual snow pack to determine its depth. Probing is used in conjunction with temperate glaciers and comprises of inserting a probe into the ice until resistance increases suddenly indicating that the tip has reached the ice formed the previous year. Crevasse stratigraphy is used to measure accumulation in vertically walled crevasses making use of the distinguishable annual layer dirt bands which reflect summer dirt deposition and other seasonal effects. This method has its advantages as it can be used in cold regions where probing is not feasible.
To measure mass balance in an ablation zone, stakes are driven into the glacier at the beginning of the melt season. Surface melt on the glacier runs-off to reveal a certain amount of the stake, which is then measured. Numerous stakes placed in the ablation zone enable measurement of net ablation. The mass balance for an individual body of ice is usually expressed as the rate of change of the equivalent volume of liquid water, in m3/yr; the mass balance is zero for a steady state .
There is some controversy surrounding the relationship between mass balance and climate. Recent media attention has focused upon global warming, suggesting that as we increase the burning of fossil fuels we add carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and increase the temperature of the Earths atmosphere through the greenhouse effect. Subsequently, it is proposed that these processes will...

Other Essays Like What Is the Mass Balance of a Glacier, How Is It Measured and What Is Its Relationship to Climate

The Internet, What Is It? Essay

1405 words - 6 pages Thesis: A commonly asked question is 'What is the Internet?'. Not many people know how it originated, who owns it, what governs it, and who pays for it. Some do not even know what the Internet is. Others that do know, often ask what it does and what its different features are. For those who are experienced with the Internet, often overlook, or don't even realize, the expanding technology of it. What will the future of the Internet hold? Perhaps

Imerialism - A Paper On What Imperialism Is, How It Came To Be, And It's Effects On Europe And Today's Society

932 words - 4 pages Between the years of the 15th and 18th centuries, European nations flourished. They gained control over a majority of the Western Hemisphere. From 1880 and 1914, Western powers set out to gain power in many places such as Asia, Africa, and the Pacific. This was known as "new imperialism".What exactly is Imperialism? Imperialism is the policy or action by which one country owns another country or territory. Most such control is achieved by

Evaluate the View That Present Day Lifestyle Is Largely Responsible for Increasing Levels of Obesity in the Uk. How and to What Extent Is Diet a Contributing Factor?

1151 words - 5 pages Evaluate the view that present day lifestyle is largely responsible for increasing levels of obesity in the UK. How and to what extent is diet a contributing factor? Obesity is one of the biggest health crisis’ affecting the UK at present. The UK has one of the highest obesity rates in the world, coming in only second next to America and number one in Europe. To say that the present day lifestyle is largely responsible for increasing the

Capitalism. What Is It?

518 words - 3 pages government[4] has never existed in practice.[5] In a "capitalist mixed economy," the government owns some industries, exercises significant control over some others and also is a major employer. In capitalist systems, goods and services, including those regarding the most basic necessities of life, are produced for profitable exchange.[1] Capitalism is originally defined as a mode of production, where it is characterized by predominantly private

Home: What Is It to You?

866 words - 4 pages . Often home is remembered at very peculiar times. Be it because of a smell, or a sound, or a picture of Vulcan overlooking the city of Birmingham. Home will jump up and swell in your heart and soul through any venue possible. Through all of your senses, home will give reminders that it is inside you no matter where you are, and regardless of what you have tried to forget. Does one ever truly leave home? The answer would seem to be yes, but

Persuasion and What It Is All About

2002 words - 9 pages it comes to one persuading them. What (The Message) For one to feel effected by a message being given by a persuader, the messages attributes need to be sincere in its intentions and sound relevant to the conditions of the given audience. An audience would be more inclined to adhere to the persuasion of the speaker if the speaker is sincere as well and is conveying a message that is beneficial to the audience and is something that will not

? is it a problem in today's society? what should be done to address the issue

1052 words - 5 pages  FOUNDATION STUDIES PROGRAM EXAMINATION INSTRUCTIONS 1. All examinations will be held on the 6th floor of the Coglin Street Campus in Rooms 4.01 and 4.02. All bags must be stored at the back of the room and all phones must be turned off. 2. On the day of each examination, you are to gather on the appropriate floor. Only bring what is necessary to the exam. Anyone in possession of a mobile phone during the exam will be given a

What is Adequate Health Care and Who Has the Right to Receive It?

4391 words - 18 pages seen. The government has to come to some conclusion as to what stance they will take when it comes to healthcare, and how the uninsured will be taken care of. Will we be a country who continues to turn its back on the least and left out, or will we take a stand and provide adequate healthcare for those who really can¡¦t afford it. In the U.S. budgets are designed with the poor in mind, yet the money that is allotted to assist them never

The Underlying Theme of Othello Is Reputation and It Is This That Culminates in the Play’s Tragedy. to What Extent Do You Agree with This Claim?

1172 words - 5 pages English Literature The Main theme of Othello is not the theme of jealousy but the theme of reputation and this is one of the main constitutes, responsible for the tragedy of the play: to what extent do you agree with this in regards to Act Two Scene Three and Act Three Scene Three? In William Shakespeare's Othello it could be thought that the main theme is Jealousy however in Act two scene three reputation become a prominent theme

Technology: Is It Corrupting the Balance of Life?

1974 words - 8 pages Technology: Is it Corrupting The Balance of Life? Everything has an opportunity cost, even technology. As evolution evolved so did technology, the 20th century was the beginning of the new technological era; Computers, video games, mobile phones, appliances seem to manifest throughout society. Technology follows a sovereign development, a progression that we can slow down or accelerate depending on our decisions and efforts. This brings us to

What Is a Cyclone?

591 words - 3 pages , ‘a scene of mass destruction’, as over half the buildings in Innisfail and Cardwell were damaged, 140, 000 houses were blacked out, drinking water was in short reply and one person was killed of carbon monoxide poisoning. The total cost of repairing damage is expected to exceed AUD$ 5 billion. Over $40 million worth of boats were piled over each other, and in Tully the high school was completely destroyed. How did the residents prepare

Related Papers

What Is Guilt? Define And Elaborate Upon What Guilt Is And How It Is Possible To Be Perceived

2071 words - 9 pages the apparent difference in the two essentials of right and wrong. Whether or not we feel guilty is therefore defined by who we are and what we stand for, our ethics beliefs and values.As a perfect example of how guilt and its severity can differ on a case by case basis I chose a feature film “The Invisible”. This movie has a complex profound story line with many of its aspects being hard to pick up on. The plot consists of a group of 3

What Is It To Learn? Essay

604 words - 3 pages “I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn” ~Albert Einstein (Einstein) What is it to learn? Webster’s dictionary says it is “to commit to memory”, but I feel it is so much more than that (Learn). Learning is a combination of educating students and preparing them, both of which I believe are equally important, and necessary in a classroom. Constructivists and Positivists had their own ideas of

Life And What It Is Essay

526 words - 3 pages really a person, or even alive because it can not sustain it's own life. If this were true, then no one is a real person until they are living on their own away from their parents. When you stop and really think about this, without listening to the arguments about when life starts or if something is considered alive until a certain time, you would suprised at what you may find. When the primitive heart of a tiny fetus starts to beat for the

Boredom What Is Boredom? When Does It Occur? How Is It Related To Our "Actualizing Need"? And How Is It Related To Philosophy

441 words - 2 pages not interested at a particular instance, and therefore are not able to think properly about what is happening around you. Since you are not able to concentrate about the situation you are not always able to make wise and intelligent decisions. In order to make wise philosophical decisions one must be able to completely consider all of the facts presented and evaluate the situation, when you are bored, you are deprived from logically thinking through all of the facts and therefore cannot make as wise of decisions as possible.