Term: Polythermal glacier Class:  
 vernacular   (0%)
Created 6 June 2017
Last modified 6 June 2017
Contributed by GCW Glossary


Definition: A glacier containing some cold ice and some temperate ice. Classically, as first described, a polythermal glacier has a basal layer of temperate ice overlain by a layer of cold ice (panel a in Figure 9), above which there may be a surface layer up to about 1015 m thick that warms to the melting point seasonally. See cold glacier, temperate glacier.  IHPGlacierMassBalance 

A thermally complex glacier with both warm and cold ice (q.v.). Typically, warm ice occurs where the ice is thickest as a result of geothermal heating, whilst the snout and margins of the glacier are frozen to the bed.  Swisseduc