Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Michael English

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Hydrometeorological techniques were employed during the summer of 1993 to study a small (4.7km2) valley glacier in the Sawtooth Range, Fosheim Peninsula, Ellesmere Island, Northwest Territories. The annual 1992-93 mass balance for Quviagivaa Glacier (unofficial name), and for the adjacent Nirukittuq Glacier (unofficial name) was -532mm and -530mm water equivalent respectively. The equilibrium line altitude was above the upper limit of the glaciers due to the exceptional warmth of the summer. Slight marginal shrinking in the areal extent of Quviagivaa Glacier since 1959 suggests that strongly negative mass balances such as those recorded in 1993 are not indicative of the last 46 years. In order to determine the main factors influencing ablation and runoff on the glacier, statistical analyses were performed using daily runoff values, ablation data, and several hydrometeorological elements. Accumulated hourly temperature (melting degree hours) had the highest correlated with ablation. The best prediction of average daily discharge was achieved using a multiple regression of discharge with air temperature, wind speed, shortwave incoming radiation, and net radiation hours. Superimposed ice formed on 95% of the surface of Quviagivaa Glacier during the melt season, and reached thicknesses of 30cm at the glacier terminus. A strong correlation was found between snow depth and superimposed ice formation. On average, 67% of the snowpack water equivalent formed superimposed ice. The net accumulation of superimposed ice occurred on <10% of the area of Quviagivaa Glacier, but evidence suggests that in 1992 this percentage was closer to 65%. It is likely that the primary form of net accumulation for the glaciers of the Sawtooth Range is superimposed ice.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Included in

Glaciology Commons