Controls on spatial variability in snow accumulation on glaciers in the Southern Alps, New Zealand; as revealed by crevasse stratigraphy

Heather Purdie, Brian Anderson, Wendy Lawson, Andrew Mackintosh

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Net accumulation measurements from two glaciers located on opposite sides of the New Zealand Southern Alps were used to explore processes controlling spatial variability. The degree of variability, as measured by the spatial variogram, differed in each of the three successive years, but the lowest variance occurred on both glaciers in March 2008, after a hot and dry summer. Strong relationships between net accumulation and elevation within the accumulation area were only found on Franz Josef Glacier (FJG), despite this being the primary control used in glacier mass balance modelling. Interaction between wind and topography was found to be important to the distribution of net accumulation on both glaciers. The crevasse stratigraphy method is an ideal way to gain good spatial coverage of net accumulation, and particularly suited to glaciers with high annual precipitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-63
Number of pages10
JournalHydrological Processes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Crevasse stratigraphy
  • Glacier
  • Spatial variability

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