The programme of hydrological and glaciological research carried out during the summer 1973-1974 in the 'Dry Valleys' region, southern Victoria Land, Antarctica is described.
The purpose of the programme is to study present fluctuations of selected glaciers and of lakes and streams fed by meltwater because these fluctuations are indicators of climatic change in this part of Antarctica. Usually heavy snowfalls occurred in the region during October and November and low temperatures persisted until late December so that glacier melt was retarded considerably. However, unusually high temperatures occurred from late December to the end of January and effectively compensated for the reduced melt during early summer.
Observations were concentrated in the Wright Valley where the flow of the Onyx River was monitored at two sites. Little flow occurred prior to 26th December and the inflow to Lake Vanda did not commence until 31st December, the latest date that has been recorded. The level of Lake Vanda dropped by 0.1m during November and December but rose by .4 during January. Other lakes in the region also showed marked gains in level during the summer. Mass balance measurements were made on five glaciers in the Wright Valley including the lower Wright Glacier where the stake network was extended across the Wilson Piedmont glacier.
Photographic records of glacier termini were extended but no repeat photographs were taken as insufficient time has elapsed for significant changes to occur.