First Glacier Inventory and Recent Changes in Glacier Area in the Monte San Lorenzo Region (47°$)/ Southern Patagonian Andes, South America

Falaschi, Daniel; Bravo, Claudio; Masiokas, Mariano; Villalba, Ricardo; Rivera, Andrés
February 2013
Arctic, Antarctic & Alpine Research;Feb2013, Vol. 45 Issue 1, p19
Academic Journal
We present the first glacier inventory of the Monte San Lorenzo region (47°35'S, 72°18'W) in the southern Patagonian Andes of Chile and Argentina. This region contains the largest and easternmost glaciers at these latitudes in South America. The inventory was developed using a combination of ASTER and Landsat ETM + scenes from 2005 and 2008, respectively, and a semi-automatic band ratio approach to map glacier ice. Manual corrections were applied to include debris-covered ice and ice in cast shadows. We inventoried 213 glaciers that cover a 2005/2008 total area of ca. 207 km² and lie between 520 m and 3700 m in elevation. Landsat TM images acquired in 1985 and 2000 were subsequently used to assess changes in glacierized area over the 1985-2008 interval. Based on all available information, we determined an 18.6% reduction in the total glacier area since 1985. Gla-ciers smaller than 1 km² have shown highly variable (0-100%) relative areal reduction, whereas the formation and growth of proglacial lakes promoted rapid recession of the larger valley glaciers, which concentrate the major ice losses, representing ca. 32% of the total glacier area reduction. Glacier fragmentation has occurred for 50% of the ice bodies larger than 1 km². These results agree with the generalized pattern of glacier retreat observed throughout the Patagonian Andes, but the lack of detailed meteorological and glaciological data in the area preclude a more refined analysis of the climate-glacier relationships and processes explaining the recent glacier trends.


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