Philip D. Hughes1
1Geography, School of Environment and Development, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester M13 9PL, U.K.
At least four active glaciers are present in the Prokletije Mountains of northern Albania. These glaciers exist at altitudes between 1980 and 2420 m a.s.l.—well below the regional equilibrium line altitude—on shaded northeast-facing slopes prone to avalanche. Glacier-climate modeling suggests that these glaciers require annual accumulation of between 4137 and 5531 mm (water equivalent) to balance melting. A significant proportion of this accumulation is likely to be sourced from windblown snow and, in particular, avalanching snow. It is estimated that the total accumulation needed to balance melting is potentially up to twice the value received from direct precipitation. The presence of these glaciers—some of the southernmost in Europe—at altitudes well below the regional equilibrium line altitude, highlights the importance of local controls on glacier development.
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