Half a Century of Measurements of Glaciers on Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut, Canada

  • J.G. Cogley
  • W.P. Adams
  • M.A. Ecclestone
Keywords: glacier mass balance, glacier changes, Axel Heiberg Island


We illustrate the value of longevity in high-latitude glaciological measurement series with results from a programme of research in the Expedition Fiord area of western Axel Heiberg Island that began in 1959. Diverse investi­gations in the decades that followed have focused on subjects such as glacier zonation, the thermal regime of the polythermal White Glacier, and the contrast in evolution of White Glacier (retreating) and the adjacent Thompson Glacier (advancing until recently). Mass-balance monitoring, initiated in 1959, continues to 2011. Measurement series such as these provide invaluable context for understanding climatic change at high northern latitudes, where in-situ information is sparse and lacks historical depth, and where warming is projected to be most pronounced.