Early thinking about glacier hydrology attempted to understand the mechanisms by which glacier flow and sliding occurred. It had been long known, since the work of J.D. Forbes (Fig. 2.1) on the Mer de Glace (Chamonix) in the 1840’s, that the velocity of a glacier can vary seasonally, being higher in summer, when meltwater is abundant, and lower in winter, when meltwater is either absent or much less abundant. By the 1960’s, it was also known that meltwater efflux from glacier termini varied seasonally and diurnally (in summer), more or less in parallel with variations in surface melt...

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