Measurements of annual glacier mass balance on Axel Heiberg Island have been made, by standard techniques using the stratigraphic system with a stake density of the order of 1 stake km-2, since the balance year (September-August) ending in 1960. For White Glacier, measurements are available for the balance years 1960 to 1979 and 1983 to current; for the smaller Baby Glacier, measurements are available for 1960 to 1977 and 1990 to 2005. The mass-balance record of White Glacier has most recently been reassessed by Cogley et al. (1995, 1996). Cogley et al. (1995) and Adams et al. (1998) discuss the Baby Glacier record.

Errors in stake mass balance are about ±(200-250) mm, due largely to the local unrepresentativeness of measurements. Errors in the whole-glacier mass balance B are of the same order as single-stake errors. However, the lag-1 autocorrelation in the time series of B is effectively zero, so it consists of independent random samples and the error in the long-term "balance normal" <B> is noticeably less. For White Glacier, <B> is -100±48 mm a-1 for 1961-1990. There is no evidence of a trend in mass balance for either White Glacier or Baby Glacier. However to detect a climatologically plausible trend would require a tenfold reduction of measurement error, a conclusion which seems to apply to most estimates of mass balance based, like these, on "direct" measurements.
White Glacier: Mass balance time series Baby Glacier: Mass balance time series
Data
AXMBAL.ZIP is a set of ten files summarizing annual mass balance measurements made since 1959-60 on White Glacier and Baby Glacier.


White Glacier: student assistant Mark Majchrowski mounts a GPS receiver on a mass-balance stake
AXMBAL.ZIP contains (note that, with one exception, the files are plain ASCII): All balances are in kg m-2. The Missing code for balances is "99999". The code "88888" denotes a two-year balance: the following balance must be divided by two to convert to kg m-2 a-1.



References
Saxifraga oppositifolia - purple saxifrage
Adams, W.P., J.G. Cogley, M.A. Ecclestone and M.N. Demuth, 1998, A small glacier as an index of regional mass balance: Baby Glacier, Axel Heiberg Island, 1959-1992, Geografiska Annaler, 80A, 37-50.

Cogley, J.G., W.P. Adams, M.A. Ecclestone, F. Jung-Rothenhäusler and C.S.L. Ommanney, 1995, Mass Balance of Axel Heiberg Island Glaciers, 1960-1991 -- A Reassessment and Discussion, Science Report 6, National Hydrology Research Institute, Environment Canada, Saskatoon. 178p.

Cogley, J.G., W.P. Adams, M.A. Ecclestone, F. Jung-Rothenhäusler and C.S.L. Ommanney, 1996, Mass balance of White Glacier, Axel Heiberg Island, N.W.T., Canada, 1960-91, Journal of Glaciology, 42, 548-563.