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New insights into the decadal variability in glacier volume of a tropical ice cap, Antisana (0°29' S, 78°09' W), explained by the morpho-topographic and climatic context

Abstract : We present a comprehensive study of the evolution of the glaciers on the Antisana ice cap (tropical Andes) over the period 1956-2016. Based on geodetic observations of aerial photographs and high-resolution satellite images, we explore the effects of morpho-topographic and climate variables on glacier volumes. Contrasting behaviour was observed over the whole period, with two periods of strong mass loss, 1956-1964 (−0.72 m w.e. yr−1) and 1979-1997 (−0.82 m w.e. yr−1), and two periods with slight mass loss, 1965-1978 (0.10 m w.e. yr−1) and 1998-2016 (−0.26 m w.e. yr−1). There was a 42 % reduction in the total surface area of the ice cap. Individually, glacier responses were modulated by morpho-topographic variables (e.g. maximum and median altitude and surface area), particularly in the case of the small tongues located at low elevations (Glacier 1, 5 and 16) which have been undergoing accelerated disintegration since the 1990s and will likely disappear in the coming years. Moreover, thanks to the availability of aerial data, a surging event was detected on the Antisana Glacier 8 (G8) in the 2009-2011 period; such an event is extremely rare in this region and deserves a dedicated study. Despite the effect of the complex topography, glaciers have reacted in agreement with changes in climate forcing, with a stepwise transition towards warmer and alternating wet-dry conditions since the mid-1970s. Long-term decadal variability is consistent with the warm-cold conditions observed in the Pacific Ocean represented by the Southern Oscillation index.
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Submitted on : Friday, November 18, 2022 - 10:47:48 AM
Last modification on : Sunday, November 20, 2022 - 3:49:27 AM

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Rubén Basantes-Serrano, Antoine Rabatel, Bernard Francou, Christian Vincent, Alvaro Soruco, et al.. New insights into the decadal variability in glacier volume of a tropical ice cap, Antisana (0°29' S, 78°09' W), explained by the morpho-topographic and climatic context. The Cryosphere, 2022, 16, pp.4659-4677. ⟨10.5194/tc-16-4659-2022⟩. ⟨insu-03859250⟩

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