Glacier recession

The shrinking of the snout (toe) of a glacier following successive years of negative mass balance (q.v.). This is usually evident from the recession of the ice margin on land, or calving in the sea, but also from down-wasting. Also referred to by the term glacier retreat.

Extremely rapid recession of Triftgletscher, Bernese Alps, Switzerland. Left: 2002, right 2003. Recession is accelerated by calving in the progalcial lake. Photos J. Alean.