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Recent climatic trends and local glacier margin fluctuations in West Greenland


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.

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Gordon, J. Recent climatic trends and local glacier margin fluctuations in West Greenland. Nature 284, 157–159 (1980).

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