Chapter summary

This chapter gives an overview of the present distribution of glaciers, the physical properties of glacier ice, and the classification of glaciers and ice sheets. It also explains the temperature distribution in glaciers and ice sheets. The importance of glacier monitoring, lately by satellites, is assessed. Furthermore, determination and reconstruction of the equilibrium line altitude (ELA), mass balance on glaciers, and regional, long-term mass balance variations are dealt with. Chapter 4 explains frontal glacier variations, the terms response time/ timelag, how glaciers move, and gives examples of supraglacial features on glaciers. In addition, the chapter deals with glacier hydrology, calving glaciers, surging and tidewater glaciers, and finally, how ice-surface profiles are reconstructed and how basal shear stress is calculated.

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