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Nature 284, 157 - 159 (13 March 1980); doi:10.1038/284157a0

Recent climatic trends and local glacier margin fluctuations in West Greenland

J. E. Gordon

Nature Conservancy Council, Geological Conservation Review Unit, Pearl House, Bartholomew Street, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 5LS, UK

Recent climatic trends in the Arctic have been characterised by a general cooling between the mid-1950s and the late-1960s, followed by a return to warmer conditions in the early 1970s (refs 1,2). Throughout the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and at Thule in north-west Greenland a marked decrease in summer temperature occurred after 1963, and winter precipitation increased3,4. These changes were accompanied by a lowering of the average July freezing level height by as much as 500 m (ref. 5), decreased glacier mass loss4 and increased glaciation3. Here I report similar climatic trends in West Greenland and demonstrate different glacier responses, in particular an advance of cirque and small valley glaciers since about 1968, contrasting with a simultaneous retreat of larger valley and icefield outlet glaciers.



1. Dickson, R. R. & Lamb, H. H. Int. Commn NWAtlant. Fish., Spec. Pub. 8, 35−62 (1972).
2. Dickson, R. R., Lamb, H. H., Malmberg, S. -A. & Colebrook, J. M. Nature 256, 479−482 (1975). | ISI |
3. Bradley, R. S. & Miller, G. H. Nature 237, 385−387 (1972). | ISI |
4. Bradley, R. S. & England, J. Arct. Alp. Res. 10, 715−731 (1978). | ISI |
5. Bradley, R. S. Nature 243, 398−400 (1973). | ISI |
6. Weidick, A. Meddr Grønland 165, 1202 (1968).
7. Gordon, J. E. Arct. Alp. Res. (submitted).

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