Thompson and White Glaciers, August 1948 Research in glaciology at Trent University is rooted in a longstanding programme of mass balance measurement on Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut, Canada. Beyond the measurements themselves, we conduct basic research on The photograph is the first known image, from August 1948, of Thompson Glacier (right) and White Glacier (left centre) in the Expedition Fiord area of Axel Heiberg Island. Valley fog shrouds the sandur of Expedition River (lower left). White Glacier is the primary focus of Trent's glaciological field research and measurement programme.

The glaciers of Axel Heiberg Island are in the category of "small glaciers", which includes every glacier in the world except for the two largest (the Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets). Small glaciers make a distinctive contribution to environmental change because, being small, they respond much more rapidly to forcing than do the ice sheets. Axel Heiberg Island is distinctive in that it is one of the coldest and driest glacierized regions on Earth. In the graph, red circles denote the pentadal average global mass balance of small glaciers, based on a dataset compiled at Trent and showing the broad consistency of the glaciological evidence with such other indicators of global climatic change as weather station records of temperature. (Green bars: number of contributing annual measurements. Blue envelope: a "2-sigma" confidence region representing global annual-average mass balance. Red line: global pentadal-average mass balance with a correction for spatial bias of the measurements. Orange envelope: Northern-Hemisphere land-surface temperature relative to the 1960-1990 mean.)
Pentadal average global mass balance of small glaciers

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