Articles | Volume 16, issue 8
Research article
02 Aug 2022
Research article |  | 02 Aug 2022

Modelling glacier mass balance and climate sensitivity in the context of sparse observations: application to Saskatchewan Glacier, western Canada

Christophe Kinnard, Olivier Larouche, Michael N. Demuth, and Brian Menounos

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Cited articles

Anderson, B., Mackintosh, A., Stumm, D., George, L., Kerr, T., Winter-Billington, A., and Fitzsimons, S.: Climate sensitivity of a high-precipitation glacier in New Zealand, J. Glaciol., 56, 114–128, 2010. 
Anderson, S. and Radić, V.: Identification of local water resource vulnerability to rapid deglaciation in Alberta, Nat. Clim. Change, 10, 933–938, 2020. 
Anslow, F. S., Hostetler, S., Bidlake, W. R., and Clark, P. U.: Distributed energy balance modeling of South Cascade Glacier, Washington and assessment of model uncertainty, J. Geophys. Res.-Earth, 113, 2008. 
Arnold, N. S., Rees, W. G., Hodson, A. J., and Kohler, J.: Topographic controls on the surface energy balance of a high Arctic valley glacier, J. Geophys. Res.-Earth, 111,, 2006. 
Arnold, N., Willis, I., Sharp, M., Richards, K., and Lawson, W.: A distributed surface energy-balance model for a small valley glacier. I. Development and testing for Haut Glacier d'Arolla, Valais, Switzerland, J. Glaciol., 42, 77–89, 1996. 
Short summary
This study implements a physically based, distributed glacier mass balance model in a context of sparse direct observations. Carefully constraining model parameters with ancillary data allowed for accurately reconstructing the mass balance of Saskatchewan Glacier over a 37-year period. We show that the mass balance sensitivity to warming is dominated by increased melting and that changes in glacier albedo and air humidity are the leading causes of increased glacier melt under warming scenarios.