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


Definition: A state of the glacier in which over many years the thickness at the end of each mass-balance year remains unchanged, that is, dh/dt = 0 at every point; see equilibrium, Balanced-budget. It follows from the definition that the glacier-wide mass balance, including frontal ablation, is zero, because the glacier must flow at just the rate required to eliminate thickness changes due to the climatic-basal mass balance. Steady state is a valuable idealization, and may be realized roughly when the climate is constant, or changes only slowly, over periods considerably longer than the response time of the glacier.  IHPGlacierMassBalance