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Canadian Rockies and Coast Mountains of Canada

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Part of the Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series book series (EESS)

Definition

Alpine glaciers cover about 26,000 km2 of British Columbia and westernmost Alberta. The glacier source areas are cirques and plateaus above about 1,500-m elevation in several mountain ranges that trend northwest through the two provinces. Some glaciers in the Coast and St. Elias Mountains extend down to elevations below 500 m asl and one (Grand Pacific Glacier) calves into the sea. This article summarizes the distribution of glaciers in British Columbia (B.C.) and Alberta, discusses the mass balance and climatology of the glaciers, and describes historical changes in ice cover.

Introduction

The total area of glaciers in British Columbia (B.C.) and Alberta is about 26,000 km2, which is about one quarter of the area of alpine ice cover in North America, but only 0.2% of the total on Earth. The number of glaciers, although difficult to establish, is approximately 15,000, of which about 1,000 are in Alberta. Nearly 70% of the total glacierized area in B.C. and Alberta is in the...

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Canadian Rockies and Coast Mountains of Canada, Figure 1
Canadian Rockies and Coast Mountains of Canada, Figure 2
Canadian Rockies and Coast Mountains of Canada, Figure 3

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Correspondence to John J. Clague .

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Clague, J.J., Menounos, B., Wheate, R. (2011). Canadian Rockies and Coast Mountains of Canada. In: Singh, V.P., Singh, P., Haritashya, U.K. (eds) Encyclopedia of Snow, Ice and Glaciers. Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-2642-2_51

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