On Taku Glacier, Alaska a combination of field observations of snow water equivalent (SWE) from snowpits and probing in the vicinity of the transient snowline (TSL) are used to quantify the mass balance gradient. The balance gradient derived from the TSL and SWE measured in snowpits at 1000 m from 1998-2010 ranges from 2.6-3.8 mm m-1. Probing transects from 950 m-1100 m directly measure SWE and yield a slightly higher balance gradient of 3.3-3.8 mm m-1. The TSL on Taku Glacier is identified in MODIS and Landsat 4 and 7 Thematic Mapper images for 31 dates during the 2004-2010 period to assess the consistency of its rate of rise and reliability in assessing ablation for mass balance assessment. For example, in 2010, the TSL was 750 m on 28 July, 800 m on 5 August, 875 m on 14 August, 925 m on 30 August, and 975 m on 20 September. The mean observed probing balance gradient was 3.3 mm m-1, combined with the TSL rise of 3.7 m day-1 yields an ablation rate of 12.2 mm day-1 from mid-July to mid-Sept, 2010. The TSL rise in the region from 750-1100 m on Taku Glacier during eleven periods each covering more than 14 days during the ablation season indicates a mean TSL rise of 3.7 m day-1, the rate of rise is relatively consistent ranging from 3.1 to 4.4 m day-1. This rate is useful for ascertaining the final ELA if images or observations are not available near the end of the ablation season. The mean ablation from 750-1100 m during the July-September period determined from the TSL rise and the observed balance gradient is 11-13 mm day-1 on Taku Glacier during the 2004-2010 period. The potential for providing an estimate of bn from TSL observations late in the melt season from satellite images combined with the frequent availability of such images provides a means for efficient mass balance assessment in many years and on many glaciers.
The Taku River Basin originates in British Columbia, Canada, and drains an area of 6,600 square miles at the U.S. Geological Surveys Taku River gaging station. Several mines operated within the basin prior to 1957, and mineral exploration has resumed sign...
E. G. Neal
This image from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument on NASA's Terra satellite covers an area of 55 by 40 kilometers (34 by 25 miles) over the southwest part of the Malaspina Glacier and Icy Bay in Alaska. The composite of infrared and visible bands results in the snow and ice appearing light blue, dense vegetation is yellow-orange and green, and less vegetated, gravelly areas are in orange. According to Dr. Dennis Trabant (U.S. Geological Survey, Fairbanks, Alaska), the Malaspina Glacier is thinning. Its terminal moraine protects it from contact with the open ocean; without the moraine, or if sea level rises sufficiently to reconnect the glacier with the ocean, the glacier would start calving and retreat significantly. ASTER data are being used to help monitor the size and movement of some 15,000 tidal and piedmont glaciers in Alaska. Evidence derived from ASTER and many other satellite and ground-based measurements suggests that only a few dozen Alaskan glaciers are advancing. The overwhelming majority of them are retreating.This ASTER image was acquired on June 8, 2001. With its 14 spectral bands from the visible to the thermal infrared wavelength region, and its high spatial resolution of 15 to 90 meters (about 50 to 300 feet), ASTER will image Earth for the next six years to map and monitor the changing surface of our planet.ASTER is one of five Earth-observing instruments launched December 18,1999, on NASA's Terra satellite. The instrument was built by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. A joint U.S./Japan science team is responsible for validation and calibration of the instrument and the data products. Dr. Anne Kahle at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., is the U.S. science team leader; Bjorn Eng of JPL is the project manager. ASTER is the only high-resolution imaging sensor on Terra. The Terra mission is part of NASA's Earth Science Enterprise, along-term research and technology program designed to examine Earth's land, oceans, atmosphere, ice and life as a total integrated system.The broad spectral coverage and high spectral resolution of ASTER will provide scientists in numerous disciplines with critical information for surface mapping, and monitoring dynamic conditions and temporal change. Example applications are: monitoring glacial advances and retreats; monitoring potentially active volcanoes; identifying crop stress; determining cloud morphology and physical properties; wetlands evaluation; thermal pollution monitoring; coral reef degradation; surface temperature mapping of soils and geology; and measuring surface heat balance.Size: 55 by 40 kilometers (34 by 25 miles) Location: 60.0 degrees North latitude, 140.7 degrees West longitude Orientation: North at top Image Data: ASTER bands 2, 3 and 4 Original Data Resolution: 15 meters (49 feet) Date Acquired: June 8, 2001
From 1915, or earlier, to 1966, with the exception of 1963, Knik Glacier annually formed and released Lake George, the largest glacier-dammed lake in Alaska. Eleven geodetically controlled survey stations were defined in the basin, and 22 glacier surface altitudes were measured. This is the first effort in a continuing program whose goal is predicting the future behavior of Knik Glacier and Lake George. (Kosco-USGS)
Trabant, Dennis C.; Mayo, L. R.
During the summer of 1984 and 1985, laser measurements were made of the distance from a reference location to markers on the surface of the lower reach of Columbia Glacier, Alaska. The speed varies from 7 to 15 m/d and has three noteworthy components: 1) a low-frequency perturbation in speed with a time scale of days related to increased precipitation, 2) semidiurnal and diurnal variations related to sea tides, and 3) diurnal variations related to glacier surface melt. -from Authors
Walters, R. A.; Dunlap, W. W.
Understanding long-term ice dynamic response to climate change remains of the utmost importance with respect to constraining sea level rise (SLR) projections for 2100. SLR contributions from Alaska approximate those from Greenland and may be dominated by mass losses from changes in flow dynamics. But due to a lack of data on flow dynamics, projections for future mass change in Alaska only consider surface mass balance. Here we present the first regionally extensive dataset of mountain glacier flow velocities in Alaska---covering 28,022 km2 of ice. This dataset reveals that more than 50% of the mass flux in Alaska comes from only eleven key glacier systems that have high mass fluxes due to high balance velocities and are not necessarily linked to tidewater glacier retreat. In south central Alaska, we find that the rate of mass loss from tidewater calving is equivalent to 75% of the total net mass loss annually; thus surface mass balance alone is inadequate to project future statewide mass losses. Our dataset also enables a close examination of a surge (periodic acceleration) event on Bering Glacier, the largest surging glacier in the world. There, velocities exceed quiescent speeds by 18 times over two periods lasting a total of 3 years. Results suggest that downstream propagation of the surge is closely linked to the evolution of the driving stress during the surge because driving stress appears to be tied to the spatial variability of resistive stress provided by the bed. Finally, we are able to examine regional changes in wintertime flow velocities and find that wintertime flow speed is inversely correlated with summertime positive degree days. We propose that this relationship is the result of a negative feedback mechanism whereby increased meltwater production enlarges subglacial conduit systems that are more effective at discharging water from subglacial cavities. As cavities close during the fall, less remaining water reduces bed separation during winter and thus engenders slower sliding velocities. We find this mechanism exerts a secondary control on glacier surge triggering, encouraging/discouraging initiation after cold/warm summers. This mechanism could have important ice dynamic implications when forced by a changing climate. Increases in summertime temperatures could result in a gradual slowing of land terminating ice, thus providing a negative feedback (self correcting) mechanism that could slightly slow projected mass losses from land terminating glaciers.
Burgess, Evan Windam
The Alaska PaleoGlacier (APG) Atlas is a recently released, web-based summary of Pleistocene glaciation across Alaska. Students can access a gallery of maps depicting the extent of glaciers during the late Wisconsin glaciation in Alaska as well as the maximum extent reached during the last 3 million years by valley glaciers, ice caps, and the northwestern Cordilleran Ice Sheet. a set of links is also provided to sites on galcial geology and glacial geospatial data.
Glaciers and ice caps respond to changes in regional climate at decadal scales and can thus serve as indicators of regional climate change. Many of the tidewater and terrestrial glaciers in Glacier Bay, Alaska have been in a state of rapid retreat since the late 1700s, with highly disparate rates of recession occurring in the western versus eastern arms, yet the combination of environmental and glaciological factors that must exist to catalyze these rapid changes is not clearly understood. The Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) initiated the first systematic analyses of weather and precipitation patterns across Glacier Bay National Park in 2000 by establishing 26 meteorological stations with the long-term objective of better understanding regional and global factors, that control terrestrial and marine physical systems. Initial temperature and precipitation trends show rapid seasonal and annual shifts. This is consistent with apparent paleo-trends in climate and glacier advance and recession over the last 9K years, as well as the historical record that indicate the area is climatically sensitive. Comparisons of summer and winter precipitation totals show a precipitation gradient increasing northward from the lower bay to the head of Muir Inlet (east arm), and decreasing northwestward in the West Arm. Monthly averages of air temperatures span about 3.5 C between the warmest and coldest sites near sea level. Winter temperatures averaged more than 1 C colder in the West Arm than the East. We also found large gradients of increasing rainfall from north to south in the east arm, from north to south in the Western arm. Average temperatures in October decreased westward in the northern half of the Park and were milder at sites within the larger southern Bay. Continuing a long-term climate-monitoring program in Glacier Bay will assist with quantifying climate trends in the context of glacial movement, helping to determine the overall sensitivity of the regional glacial system to regional climate signals.
Kopczynski, S. E.; Bigl, S. R.; Lawson, D. E.; Finnegan, D. C.
This video contains a mix of live action video, stills, and computer animations of the Glacier Bay National Park in Glacier Bay, Alaska. Satellite mapping and imagery are used to show changes in the Glacier Bay area over a period of several years. Specific image processing techniques are discussed in relation to determining the evolution of glacier terminus points and in obtaining elevation data and how it is used to create fly-by visualizations of the area.
Starr, Cindy; Strong, Jim; Oneil, Pamela; Acuna, Andy; Hall, Dorothy; Benson, Carl
Jökulhlaups, sudden releases of water impounded by a glacier, produce large floods unrelated to weather events. We draw on observations from 90 years of annual jökulhlaups from Hidden Creek Lake, Kennicott Glacier, Alaska and from detailed monitoring in 1999 and 2000, to examine conditions that trigger outburst floods. For the class of jökulhlaups caused by subglacial drainage, the trigger must be related to formation of subglacial conduits, a pivotal problem in glaciology. Hidden Creek Lake water level at drainage has declined over the last century, during which time the glacier has thinned. The water level trend is mirrored by a tendency toward earlier release dates in the summer. These observations suggest that a minimum threshold lake level must be exceeded for drainage to occur, and that this threshold is related to ice thickness. The release date varies by over a month, however, and lake level varies by as much as 10 m over spans of a few years, which indicates that more is involved than simple exceedance of a threshold. Kennicott Glacier impounds several other small lakes. In two summers with fairly complete observations of their behavior, these lakes drained in sequence from nearest to furthest from the terminus. More frequent observations have been made of drainage of one of these lakes: Erie Lake, located roughly the same distance from the terminus as Hidden Creek Lake, along a major tributary to the Kennicott Glacier, usually drains within days of Hidden Creek Lake. These patterns are consistent with a trigger that is related to glacier-wide evolution of the hydrologic system, rather than each drainage reflecting purely local conditions. Perhaps there is a linkage between timing of outbursts and seasonal upglacier extension of the subglacial conduit system. While we have no direct information on annual evolution of the conduit system at Kennicott Glacier, some have suggested that conduits and the snowline move upglacier in tandem. In 1999 and 2000, the snowline had retreated far upglacier, beyond Hidden Creek Lake, before it drained. Estimated melt rates in the days preceding Hidden Creek Lake outbursts, calculated with a degree day model, show no pattern: lake drainage has occurred during times of both low and high melt production. Jökulhlaup triggering appears to be controlled by a number of conditions, among them the height of the ice barrier, organization of the subglacial hydrologic system, and specific, probably transient, conditions within that system at the time of drainage.
Anderson, S. P.; Walder, J. S.; Fountain, A. G.; Anderson, R. S.; Trabant, D. C.
Meltwater from Alaska's coastal glaciers and icefields accounts for nearly half of the total freshwater discharged into the Gulf of Alaska (GOA), with 10% coming from glacier volume loss associated with rapid thinning and retreat of glaciers (Neal et al, 2010). This glacier freshwater discharge contributes to maintaining the Alaska Coastal Current (ACC), which eventually reaches the Arctic Ocean (Royer and Grosch, 2006), thereby linking changes of glaciers along the coast of Alaska to the whole Arctic system. Water column temperatures on the shelf of northern GOA, monitored at buoy GAK1 near Seward, have increased by about 1 deg C since 1970 throughout the 250 m depth and vertical density stratification has also increased. Roughly half of the glacier contribution to ACC is derived from the ~ 50 tidewater glaciers (TWG) that drain from Alaska's coastal mountains into the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). Fjord systems link these TWGs to the GOA, with fjord circulation patterns driven in part by buoyancy-driven convection of subglacial freshwater discharge at the head of the fjord. Neoglacial shallow sills (< 50 m deep) modulate the influx of warm ocean waters (up to 10 deg C) into these fjords. Convection of these warm waters melts icebergs and submerged faces of TWGs. The study of interactions between glaciers, fjords, and the ocean in coastal Alaska has had a long but very sporadic history. We examine this record starting with the "TWG cycle" hypothesis. We next examine recent hydrographic data from several different TWG fjords, representative of advancing and retreating TWGs (Columbia, Yahtse, Hubbard, and LeConte Glaciers), evaluate similarities and differences, and estimate the relative contributions of submarine glacier melting and subglacial discharge to fjord circulation. Circulation of warm ocean waters in fjords has also been hypothesized to play an important role in destabilizing and modulating glacier discharge from outlet glaciers in Greenland. We therefore compare hydrographic data from Alaskan fjords to Greenland data and evaluate similarities and differences. Studies on Alaskan fjords have implications for understanding land ice - ocean interactions in Greenland as well as elsewhere in the world but much more needs to be learned on how these fjords operate.
Motyka, R. J.; Truffer, M.
Satellite remote sensing is an invaluable tool to monitor and characterize the Bering Glacier System. The Bering Glacier is located in coastal, south-central Alaska and is the largest and longest glacier in continental North America, with an area of approximately 5,175 km2, and a length of 190 km. It is also the largest surging glacier in America, having surged at least five times during the twentieth century. The last great surge occurred in 1993- 1995. Bering Glacier alone covers more than 6 percent of the glacier covered area of Alaska and may contain 15- 20 percent of Alaska's total glacier ice. Applications of glacier remote sensing include but are not limited to: mapping extent and features, ice velocities through sequential observations, glacier terminus locations, snow line location, glacier albedo, changes in glacier volume, iceberg surveys and calving rates, hydrographic and water quality parameters in ice marginal lakes, and land cover classification maps. Historical remote sensing images provide a much needed geospatial time record of the dynamic changes Bering Glacier has undergone, including changes due to its surge behavior and response to climate change. Remote sensing images dating back to the early 1990s have been used to map the glacier terminus retreat of approximately five to seven kilometers which has resulted in Vitus Lake increasing in volume approximately 260 percent since 1995 to the current (2006) volume of 9.4 km3 of water. Using elevation data obtained from remote sensing and GPS surface points, we have determined that the glacier elevation has decreased approximately 150 m in elevation at the terminus and 30 m at a position 300 m below the present (2006) equilibrium line (~1,300 m) since 1972. Satellite observations have recorded the upward migration in altitude of the equilibrium line to its present position (slightly > 1,200 m). The decrease in glacier volume, obtained using remote sensing derived elevation data, from 1957 to 2004 is estimated at approximately 104 km3. Remote sensing data has also mapped the sediment rich (rock flower) water flowing into Vitus Lake providing insight into the hydrologic circulation of the Bering Glacier system, showing major glacier discharge from the Abandoned River, Arrowhead Point, and Lamire Bay in the area of Vitus Lake west of Taggland.
Liversedge, L.; Shuchman, R.; Josberger, E.; Payne, J.; Hatt, C.; Spaete, L.
Calving glaciers around the world have recently undergone a rapid retreat and are important contributors to global sea level rise. Due to their greatly increased mass loss, tidewater glaciers in particular have long received much attention, whereas lake calving glaciers have just been identified as significant contributors. In southeast Alaska, numerous glaciers have experienced rapid retreat and significant thinning during the last several decades. To better understand the causes for these rapid changes we have focused on Yakutat Glacier, a lake calving glacier in southeast Alaska. Yakutat Glacier is part of the Yakutat Ice field and drains into Harlequin Lake, which has depths of over 300 m at the calving face. The ice field covers an area of 668 sq km and lies in a maritime area off the coast of the Gulf of Alaska. The average precipitation in the nearby town of Yakutat is over 3800 mm per year. However, the ice field divide is essentially at or below the current equilibrium line altitude (ELA) of 800 - 900 m for this region, thereby ensuring the glacier will continue to thin, provided the current trend of regional warming does not reverse. The ongoing thinning continues to lower the glaciers average elevation, increasing its average ablation, even under constant climate. This forms a positive feedback loop that is known as the Bovardsson effect. In addition, radio echo sounding shows much of the glacier base near or below sea level, indicating that lake calving will remain playing a role in the retreat. We obtained a 40 m-grid digital elevation model (DEM) derived from September 3, 2007 SPOT imagery and obtained under the IPY SPIRIT program. We used August 26, 2007 laser altimetry profiles to check the accuracy of the DEM and found a mean difference of 2 m (DEM greater) with a standard deviation of 2.3 m. We differenced this DEM from a DEM from the February 2000 Shuttle Radar Topography Mission to determine the extent of the volume change and thinning. During this period, the Yakutat Ice field lost about 22.4 ± 7.5 cubic km of ice, with thinning rates increasing down glacier, especially towards the glacier's grounding line. Just up glacier from this grounding line, we found elevation changes of over 10 m per year. The same trend is visible in a comparison between the 2007 Spot DEM and a July 2009 DEM generated from photogrammetry imagery. Little change in surface elevation occurred over the 2-km-long floating tongue during this time period, but recently the entire floating tongue has started to disintegrate.
Truessel, B.; Motyka, R. J.; Larsen, C. F.; Truffer, M.
This study presents a new method to derive centerlines for the main branches and major tributaries of a set of glaciers, requiring glacier outlines and a digital elevation model (DEM) as input. The method relies on a "cost grid-least-cost route approach" that comprises three main steps. First, termini and heads are identified for every glacier. Second, centerlines are derived by calculating the least-cost route on a previously established cost grid. Third, the centerlines are split into branches and a branch order is allocated. Application to 21 720 glaciers in Alaska and northwest Canada (Yukon, British Columbia) yields 41 860 centerlines. The algorithm performs robustly, requiring no manual adjustments for 87.8% of the glaciers. Manual adjustments are required primarily to correct the locations of glacier heads (7.0% corrected) and termini (3.5% corrected). With corrected heads and termini, only 1.4% of the derived centerlines need edits. A comparison of the lengths from a hydrological approach to the lengths from our longest centerlines reveals considerable variation. Although the average length ratio is close to unity, only ~ 50% of the 21 720 glaciers have the two lengths within 10% of each other. A second comparison shows that our centerline lengths between lowest and highest glacier elevations compare well to our longest centerline lengths. For > 70% of the 4350 glaciers with two or more branches, the two lengths are within 5% of each other. Our final product can be used for calculating glacier length, conducting length change analyses, topological analyses, or flowline modeling.
Kienholz, C.; Rich, J. L.; Arendt, A. A.; Hock, R.
Projecting the long-term response of glacier and ice sheet flow to climate change remains the single largest hurdle towards accurate sea level rise forecasting. Increases in surface melt rates are known to accelerate glacier flow in spring and summer1-4 whereas in winter, flow speeds have been found to be relatively invariant5. Here we find that wintertime flow velocities on nearly all major glaciers throughout Alaska are not only variable but are inversely correlated with summertime positive degree days (PDDs). The response is slight--an 11% decrease in wintertime velocity per additional meter of summertime melt. The mechanism is likely due to inter-annual differences in summertime meltwater production, which affect the efficiency of sub-glacial drainage systems to evacuate water from the glacier bed in fall. Consequent inter-annual variation in the amount of bed separation come winter leads to the observed differences in flow speed. We find this mechanism to be ubiquitous in Alaska and thus is likely a global phenomenon. If the dynamic evolves over the long-term, it represents a new mechanism affecting sea level rise contributions.
Burgess, E. W.; Forster, R. R.; Larsen, C. F.
Deriving glacier-specific elevation changes from DEM differencing and digital glacier outlines is rather straight-forward if the required datasets are available. Calculating such changes over large regions and including glaciers selected for mass balance measurements in the field, provides a possibility to determine the representativeness of the changes observed at these glaciers for the entire region. The related comparison of DEM-derived values for these glaciers with the overall mean avoids the rather error-prone conversion of volume to mass changes (e.g. due to unknown densities) and gives unit-less correction factors for upscaling the field measurements to a larger region. However, several issues have to be carefully considered, such as proper co-registration of the two DEMs, date and accuracy of the datasets compared, as well as source data used for DEM creation and potential artefacts (e.g. voids). In this contribution we present an assessment of the representativeness of the two mass balance glaciers Gulkana and Wolverine for the overall changes of nearly 3200 glaciers in western Alaska over a ca. 50-year time period. We use an elevation change dataset from a study by Berthier et al. (2010) that was derived from the USGS DEM of the 1960s (NED) and a more recent DEM derived from SPOT5 data for the SPIRIT project. Additionally, the ASTER GDEM was used as a more recent DEM. Historic glacier outlines were taken from the USGS digital line graph (DLG) dataset, corrected with the digital raster graph (DRG) maps from USGS. Mean glacier specific elevation changes were derived based on drainage divides from a recently created inventory. Land-terminating, lake-calving and tidewater glaciers were marked in the attribute table to determine their changes separately. We also investigated the impact of handling potential DEM artifacts in three different ways and compared elevation changes with altitude. The mean elevation changes of Gulkana and Wolverine glaciers (about -0.65 m / year) are very similar to the mean of the lake-calving and tidewater glaciers (about -0.6 m / year), but much more negative than for the land-terminating glaciers (about -0.24 m / year). The two mass balance glaciers are thus well representative for the entire region, but not for their own class. The different ways of considering positive elevation changes (e.g. setting them to zero or no data) influence the total values, but has otherwise little impact on the results (e.g. the correction factors are similar). The massive elevation loss of Columbia Glacier (-2.8 m / year) is exceptional and strongly influences the statistics when area-weighting is used to determine the regional mean. For the entire region this method yields more negative values for land-terminating and tidewater glaciers than the arithmetically averaged values, but for the lake-calving glaciers both are about the same.
Paul, Frank; Le Bris, Raymond
Tidewater glaciers are a challenging environment for marine investigations, owing to the dangers associated with calving and restrictions on operations due to dense floating ice. We report here on recent efforts to conduct marine geophysical surveys proximal to the ice face of Hubbard Glacier, in Disenchantment Bay, Alaska. Hubbard is an advancing tidewater glacier that has twice recently (1986 and 2002) impinged on Gilbert Point, which separates Russell Fiord from Disenchantment Bay, thereby temporarily creating a glacially-dammed Russell Lake. Continued advance will likely form a more permanent dam, rerouting brackish outflow waters into the Situk River, near Yakutat, Alaska. Our primary interest is in studying the development and motion of the morainal bank which, for an advancing tidewater glacier, stabilizes it against rapid retreat. For survey work, we operated with a small, fast, aluminum-hulled vessel and a captain experienced in operating in ice-bound conditions, providing a high margin of safety and maneuverability. Differencing of multibeam bathymetric data acquired in different years can identify and quantify areas of deposition and erosion on the morainal bank front and in Disenchantment Bay proper, where accumulation rates are typically > 1 m/yr within 1 km of the glacier terminus. The advance or retreat rate of the morainal bank can be determined by changes in the bed elevation through time; we document advance rates that average > 30 m/yr in Disenchantment Bay, but which vary substantially over different time periods and at different positions along the ice face. Georeferencing of available satellite imagery allows us to directly compare the position of the glacial terminus with the position of the morainal bank. From 1978 to 1999, and then to 2006, the advances in terminus and morainal bank positions were closely synchronized along the length of the glacier face. In the shallower Russell Fiord side of the terminus, a sediment ridge was mapped both in 1999 and 2008, but shifted substantially southward in the later survey. This ridge appears to be a push moraine associated with the maximum seasonal advance position of the ice margin. CHIRP seismic reflection data, although not penetrating well into morainal sediments, nevertheless display striking variations in seafloor echo character that may be used to distinguish gravels, diamict and bedrock. We observe evidence of outwash deposits from the retreating Variegated and Orange Glaciers mantling the eastern extent of the Hubbard Glacier morainal bank; these deposits are distinct in acoustic character from the potential bedrock outcrops and overconsolidated diamict within the ‘tidal channel’ at Gilbert Point and from the surface of the morainal bank within uppermost Disenchantment Bay.
Goff, J. A.; Davis, M.; Gulick, S. P.; Lawson, D. E.; Willems, B. A.
Portage Glacier currently acts as a lacustrine calving glacier discharging icebergs into Portage Lake, Alaska. This glacier advanced during the Little Ice Age, and from 1799 to 1911 completely filled the lake basin and deposited three large moraines downvalley of the modern lakeshore. During this time the glacial ablation regime was dominated by melting and a large outwash stream flowed
Kristine J. Crossen
A comprehensive survey of the eleven mountain ranges and three island areas in Alaska that presently support glaciers was conducted to determine how glaciers in each area have responded to post-Little Ice Age (LIA) climate change. Today, glaciers cover 5 percent of Alaska, about 75,000 sq. km., range in elevation from 6,000 m to below sea level, and span latitudes
B. F. Molnia
Using low-frequency (1-5 MHz) ice penetrating radar, we have measured the thickness of "warm" ice over outlet glaciers in Alaska and Greenland. The radar mainly consists of control software for National Instrument (NI) boards, a custom-made transmitter, a receiver, and an antenna towed at the back of an airplane. The radar can operate with either a short or a chirp exciter pulse. The same antenna receives echoes bounced from the surface and sub-surface ice layers. The echoes are digitized after being passed through a band-pass filter. We have run the radar in burst mode so that there is no pulse in air while receiving the echoes. To make a radar sounder image, multiple bursts are vertically stacked together in a 2-dimensional format named as echogram. The horizontal axis corresponds to aircraft motion, while the vertical axis corresponds to the arrival time inside a burst. Because the transmitted signal is reflected from various interfaces at different distances, the received echo has multiple peaks. The earliest and strongest peak is caused by the interface between the atmosphere and ice surface. It is very sharp for a flat surface, while becoming diffusive and relatively weak for a rough or sloped surface. After the initial rise, more complex and weak echoes follow. These are caused by various sources such as subsurface deposits, discontinuities in dielectric layers, and, most often, off-nadir surface reflections called surface clutter. We have applied an omega-k method to reduce the along-track surface clutter and thereby enhance the sub-surface features. In this way, we have been able to see 1.5 km deep ice bed at Jakobshavn glacier in Greenland and about 1 km deep glacier bed at Bering Glacier in Alaska. This radar is still in the development and improvement stage, and is expected to continue providing complementary data to existing airborne radar sounders.
Gim, Y.; Safaeinili1, A.; Rignot, E.; Kirchner, D.; Robison, W.
A heavy down-hole hammer actuated from the surface by a light composition rope was used to place instrumented probes into the active, 7 m thick, clast-rich till underlying a site on Black Rapids Glacier, Alaska, USA, where the ice is 500 m thick. A till penetration of about 2.5 m was obtained, and greater depths seem possible. The probes measured pore-water pressure and two axes of tilt, which they broadcasted, without wires, to a receiver just above the ice till interface.
Harrison, William D.; Truffer, Martin; Echelmeyer, Keith A.; Pomraning, Dale A.; Abnett, Kevin A.; Ruhkick, Richard H.
Glaciers of the Alaska region are rapidly changing, and mass lost from the large and dynamic coastal mountain ranges is rapidly transferred to the ocean, where it impacts sea level, tectonics, water resources and the biogeochemistry of the Gulf of Alaska. We will describe preliminary efforts to resolve glacier-derived runoff into the gulf, describing the glaciological fieldwork and upscaling analyses both planned and underway. Our efforts are focused not only on separating glacier volume change from seasonal mass overturning, but partitioning surface forced and dynamic losses as well. We use rapidly retreating Columbia Glacier as a focus of our research; while accounting for approximately 1% of the surface area of glaciers within the Alaska Region, Columbia Glacier accounts for roughly 10% of the regional mass loss signal. Total mass losses are estimated via a flux-gate method, and partitioned using surface mass balance and volume change analyses. We contrast these observations with long-term streamflow and mass balance records from land-terminating Gulkana Glacier, which provides a robust opportunity to resolve the ratio of glacier volume change to total discharge. By taking a regional approach to glacier change in Alaska, we will show that ice dynamics plays a relatively large role in determining the magnitude and timing total discharge to the Gulf of Alaska. Additionally, at least in the continental environment, our analyses show that glacier volume loss provides a substantial component of total stream discharge
Oneel, S.; Arendt, A. A.; Hood, E. W.; Nilan, E.; March, R. S.; Larsen, C. F.; Joughin, I. R.
The motion of a glacier is largely determined by the nature of its bed. The basal morphology and its reaction to the overlying ice mass have been subject to much speculation, because the glacier bed is usually difficult to access, and good field data are sparse. In spring 1997 a commercial wireline drill rig was set up on Black Rapids Glacier, Alaska, to extract cores of basal ice, subglacial till, and underlying bedrock. One of the boreholes was equipped with three tiltmeters to monitor till deformation, and a piezometer to record pore water pressure. The surface velocity and ice deformation in a borehole were also measured. The drill successfully reached bedrock twice after penetrating a till layer, some 5 to 7 m in thickness, confirming an earlier seismic interpretation. The till consisted of a sandy matrix containing clasts up to boulder size. Bedrock and till lithology indicated that all the drill holes were located to the north of the Denali Fault, a major tectonic boundary along which the glacier flows. The mean annual surface velocity of the glacier was 60 ma-1 , of which 20 to 30 ma-1 were ice deformation, leaving 30 to 40 ma-1 of basal motion. The majority of this basal motion occurred at a depth of more than 2 m in the till, contradicting previously held ideas about till deformation. Basal motion could occur as sliding of till over the underlying bedrock, or on a series of shear layers within the till. This finding has implications for the interpretation of the geologic record of former ice sheets, for geomorphology, and for glacier dynamics. The effect of a thick till layer on ice flow and on quantities observable at the glacier surface was calculated. These include velocity changes on secular, seasonal, and shorter time scales. A mechanism for uplift events and dye tracing responses was suggested. An easy surface observation that could serve to clearly distinguish a glacier underlain by till from the more traditional view of a glacier underlain by bedrock could not be identified.
A small Holocene fan is forming where Queen Inlet, a hanging valley, enters West Arm fjord, Glacier Bay, Alaska. Queen fan\\u000a formed in the last 80 years following retreat of the Little Ice Age glacier that filled Glacier Bay about 200 yr BP. It was\\u000a built mainly by a turbidite system originating from Carroll Glacier delta, as the delta formed
P. R. Carlson; E. A. Cowan; R. D. Powell; J. Cai
Understanding fast glacier flow and glacial accelerations is important for understanding changes in the cryosphere and ultimately in sea level. Surge-type glaciers are one of four types of fast-flowing glaciers --- the other three being continuously fast-flowing glaciers, fjord glaciers and ice streams --- and the one that has seen the least amount of research. The Bering-Bagley Glacier System, Alaska, the largest glacier system in North America, surged in 2011 and 2012. Velocities decreased towards the end of 2011, while the surge kinematics continued to expand. A new surge phase started in summer and fall 2012. In this paper, we report results from airborne observations collected in September 2011, June/July and September/October 2012 and in 2013. Airborne observations include simultaneously collected laser altimeter data, videographic data, GPS data and photographic data and are complemented by satellite data analysis. Methods range from classic interpretation of imagery to analysis and classification of laser altimeter data and connectionist (neural-net) geostatistical classification of concurrent airborne imagery. Results focus on the characteristics of surge progression in a large and complex glacier system (as opposed to a small glacier with relatively simple geometry). We evaluate changes in surface elevations including mass transfer and sudden drawdowns, crevasse types, accelerations and changes in the supra-glacial and englacial hydrologic system. Supraglacial water in Bering Glacier during Surge, July 2012 Airborne laser altimeter profile across major rift in central Bering Glacier, Sept 2011
Herzfeld, U. C.; McDonald, B.; Trantow, T.; Hale, G.; Stachura, M.; Weltman, A.; Sears, T.
Glaciers along the Gulf of Alaska are thinning and retreating rapidly. An important control on the rate at which ice is being lost is basal motion because higher glacier velocities increase the rate at which ice is delivered to ablation zones. Recent research has focused on understanding the effects of sub-glacial water storage on glacier basal motion. In this study, we examined two seasons of the effect of hydrologic controls (from large rainfall events as well as a glacier lake outburst floods) on the velocity of the Lemon Creek Glacier in southeastern Alaska. Lemon Creek Glacier is a moderately sized (~16~km2) temperate glacier at the margin of the Juneau Icefield. An ice-marginal lake forms at the head of the glacier and catastrophically drains once or twice every melt season. We have instrumented the glacier with two meteorological stations: one at the head of the glacier near the ice-marginal lake and another several kilometers below the terminus. These stations measure temperature, relative humidity, precipitation, incoming solar radiation and wind speed and direction. Lake stage in the ice-marginal lake was monitored with a pressure transducer. In addition, Lemon Creek was instrumented with a water quality sonde at the location of a US Geological Survey gaging station approximately 3 km downstream from the glacier terminus. The sonde provides continuous measurements of water temperature, dissolved oxygen, turbidity and conductivity. Finally, multiple Trimble NetRS dual frequency, differential GPS units were deployed on the glacier along the centerline of the glacier. All of the instruments were run continuously from May-September 2008 and May-September 2009 and captured threee outburst floods associated with the ice-marginal lake drainage as well as several large (>3~cm) rainfall events associated with frontal storms off of the Gulf of Alaska in late summer. Taken together, these data allow us to test the hypothesis that water inputs which overwhelm subglacial drainage networks result in increased rates of basal motion. 2008 was an extremely rainy summer, and the (single) lake drainage occurred during the largest precipitation even of the summer. 2009 on the other hand, was comparatively dry and sunny for the majority of the summer--the first lake drainage occurred during a several day stretch of sunny weather. The lake refilled during an extreme rainfall (20 cm of rain was recorded in a 24 hour period at a met station 16 km away and about 500 m lower in elevation) and then subsequently drained during a rainy period. We focus on the comparison of the data from two years, including the glacial response to the lake drainage with and without accompanying precipitation inputs.
Heavner, M.; Habermann, M.; Hood, E. W.; Fatland, D. R.
Glaciers along the Gulf of Alaska are thinning and retreating rapidly and over the last century this loss of ice has contributed measurably to global sea level rise. An important control on the rate at which ice is being lost is basal motion because higher glacier velocities increase the rate at which ice is delivered to ablation zones. Recent research has focused on understanding the effects of sub-glacial water storage on glacier basal motion. In this study, we examined how water inputs from large rainfall events as well as a glacier lake outburst flood affected the velocity of the Lemon Creek Glacier in southeastern Alaska. Lemon Creek Glacier is a moderately sized (~16~km2) temperate glacier at the margin of the Juneau Icefield. An ice- marginal lake forms at the head of the glacier and catastrophically drains once or twice every melt season. We have instrumented the glacier with two meteorological stations: one at the head of the glacier near the ice-marginal lake and another several kilometers below the terminus. These stations measure temperature, relative humidity, precipitation, incoming solar radiation and wind speed and direction. Lake stage in the ice- marginal lake was monitored with a pressure transducer. In addition, Lemon Creek was instrumented with a water quality sonde at the location of a US Geological Survey gaging station approximately 3 km downstream from the glacier terminus. The sonde provides continuous measurements of water temperature, dissolved oxygen, turbidity and conductivity. Finally, two Trimble NetRS dual frequency, differential GPS units were deployed on the glacier at approximately 1/3 and 2/3 down the centerline of the glacier. All of the instruments were run continuously from May-September 2008 and captured the outburst flood associated with the ice-marginal lake drainage as well as several large (>3~cm) rainfall events associated with frontal storms off of the Gulf of Alaska in late summer. Taken together, these data allow us to test the hypothesis that water inputs which overwhelm subglacial drainage networks result in increased rates of basal motion.
Habermann, M.; Hood, E.; Heavner, M.; Motyka, R.
In late May 1986, the advancing Hubbard Glacier blocked the entrance to Russell Fiord near Yakutat, Alaska, creating a large ice-dammed lake. Runoff from the surrounding glaciated mountains raised the level of the lake to about 25 m above sea level by 8 October, when the ice dam failed. Remote sensing offers one method to monitor this large tidal glacier system, particularly the glacier activity that would portend the re-closure of Russell Fiord. -Authors
Walker, K. -M.; Zenone, C.
Glaciers in southeast Alaska are experiencing high rates of ice thinning and retreat. These ongoing changes in glacier volume are altering the proportion of streamflow derived from glacial runoff, which can be an important control on the thermal regime of streams in the region. We measured stream temperature continuously during the 2011 summer runoff season (May through October) in nine watersheds of southeast Alaska that provide spawning habitat for Pacific salmon. Six of the nine watersheds have glacier coverage ranging from 2 to 63%. Our goal was to determine how air temperature and watershed land cover, particularly glacier coverage, influence stream temperature across the seasonal hydrograph. Multiple linear regression identified mean watershed elevation, which is tied to glacier extent, and watershed lake coverage (%) as the strongest landscape controls on mean monthly stream temperature, with the weakest (May) and strongest (July) models explaining 86% and 97% of the temperature variability, respectively. Mean weekly stream temperature was significantly related to mean weekly air temperature in seven of the nine streams; however, the relationships were weak to non-significant in the streams dominated by glacial runoff. Peak summer stream temperatures occurred much earlier in the glacial streams (typically around late May) and glaciers also had a cooling effect on monthly mean stream temperature during the summer (July through September) equivalent to a decrease of 1.1°C for each 10% increase in glacier coverage. Streams with >30% glacier coverage demonstrated decreasing stream temperatures with rising summer air temperatures, while those with <30% glacier coverage exhibited summertime warming. The maximum weekly average temperature (MWAT, an index of thermal suitability for salmon species) in the six glacial streams was substantially below the lower threshold for optimum salmonid growth. This finding suggests that, while glaciers are important for moderating summer stream temperatures, future reductions in glacier runoff may actually improve the thermal suitability of some streams in northern southeast Alaska for salmon.
Hood, E. W.; Fellman, J. B.; Nagorski, S. A.; Vermilyea, A.; Pyare, S.; Scott, D.
Black Rapids is a surge-type glacier in the Alaska Range which last surged in 1936. Seismic studies and wire-line drilling have shown that its central, most active part, is underlain by several meters of till, processes in which account for more than half of the present surface motion. We recently developed a 400 kg down-hole hammer system to place instrumented probes as deeply as possible into the till. The hammer is operated from the surface with a cathead and a composition rope. In 2002 we penetrated about 2.5 m into the till under 500 m of ice. To circumvent problems with probe placement and survival of communication with the surface, the probes are wireless and broadcast pressure and two axes of tilt data to a down-hole receiver placed slightly above the ice-till interface. Results from two probes in separate holes 4.1 m apart showed almost identical, complex patterns of tilt rate, relativey quiescent periods punctuated by rapid tilt events. One tilt event was accompanied by an almost 90 degree change in the direction of tilt. The tilt events show some correlation with motion events measured at the surface.
Harrison, W.; Trufffer, M.
Snow and ice algae are cold tolerant algae growing on the surface of snow and ice, and they play an important role in the carbon cycles for glaciers and snowfields in the world. Seasonal and altitudinal variations in seven major taxa of algae (green algae and cyanobacteria) were investigated on the Gulkana glacier in Alaska at six different elevations from May to September in 2001. The snow algal communities and their biomasses changed over time and elevation. Snow algae were rarely observed on the glacier in May although air temperature had been above 0?° C since the middle of the month and surface snow had melted. In June, algae appeared in the lower areas of the glacier, where the ablation ice surface was exposed. In August, the distribution of algae was extended to the upper parts of the glacier as the snow line was elevated. In September, the glacier surface was finally covered with new winter snow, which terminated algal growth in the season. Mean algal biomass of the study sites continuously increased and reached 6.3 × 10 ?l m-2 in cell volume or 13 mg carbon m-2 in September. The algal community was dominated by Chlamydomonas nivalis on the snow surface, and by Ancylonema nordenskiöldii and Mesotaenium berggrenii on the ice surface throughout the melting season. Other algae were less abundant and appeared in only a limited area of the glacier. Results in this study suggest that algae on both snow and ice surfaces significantly contribute to the net production of organic carbon on the glacier and substantially affect surface albedo of the snow and ice during the melting season.
This tape uses a combination of video, three-dimensional computer imaging, and still photographs to provide a descriptive overview of the life-cycle and environmental effects of glaciers. An historical prospective of researchers and the contribution that they have made to the understanding of glaciers and Glacier Bay is presented. The data collected from these scientists have been documented and used by means of scientific visualization in the hope of learning how glacial activity relates to climate changes.
Hall, Dorothy K.
Tidewater glaciers exhibit dynamic behaviors across a range of spatial and temporal scales, posing a challenge to both in situ and remote sensing observations. In situ measurements capture variability over very short time intervals, but with limited spatial coverage and significant cost and risk to employ. Conversely, airborne and satellite remote sensing is capable of measuring changes over large spatial extents but at limited temporal sampling. Terrestrial LiDAR Scanning (TLS) combines rapid acquisition capabilities of in situ measurements with the broad spatial coverage of traditional remote sensing. This paper describes efforts to develop and field a new long-range (6-10 km) terrestrial full-waveform LiDAR scanner that is optimized for glaciated environments. Our work seeks to gain insights into the processes of glacier flow and terminus dynamics on two of the world's most active tidewater glaciers. Helheim Glacier, a large East Greenland outlet glacier is known to move at speeds >25 m/d near its terminus; rapid readjustments in speed are also know to occur following terminus retreat. Hubbard Glacier, located in southeast Alaska an outlet glacier flowing 90Km out of the St Elias mountains is ~13km across at its terminus, exhibits flow rates up to 5m/d and is advancing and thickening. These two glacial systems have similar characteristics yet represent inverse phases of tidewater glacier activity. Our understanding of these processes is limited by incomplete observational datasets. Most TLS instruments operate in the near-infrared spectrum (1550 nm), which greatly limits range (<150 m) and its application as a tool for long-range standoff glaciology. High spatial and temporal resolution surveys were conducted at Helheim Glacier during the summer of 2012 and 2013 and surveys were conducted at Hubbard Glacier in the spring of 2013. Both were conducted over multi-day periods ranging from 3-7 days. Preliminary results from these surveys have allowed us to quantify short-term horizontal displacement rates and terminus activities at temporal and spatial resolutions previously not possible. Furthermore, these results allow for a comparative analysis of two similar yet different tidewater glacier systems representing altering phases of dynamic activity. Identifying the operational limitations of these sensors in our work is a key guide to the optimal design characteristics for new, improved LiDAR instruments for campaign deployments in glacierized environments.
Finnegan, D. C.; Hamilton, G. S.; Stearns, L. A.; LeWinter, A.; Fowler, A.
Glacial ecosystems cover approximately 10% of the Earth’s surface and contribute large volumes of runoff to rivers and coastal oceans. Moreover, anticipated future changes in glacial runoff are markedly larger than those projected for non-glacial river systems. Recent research on the biogeochemistry of glacier ecosystems has shown that glacier environments contain abundant microbial communities and are more biogeochemically active than was previously believed. Runoff from glaciers typically contains low concentrations of dissolved organic matter (DOM) and nutrients, however at low latitudes and in coastal regions, high water fluxes can amplify material concentrations, such that biogeochemical (C, N, and P) fluxes from glacial watersheds can be substantial. As a result, glacier runoff has the potential to be an important biogeochemical subsidy to downstream freshwater and marine ecosystems. Glaciers in coastal watersheds along the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) are thinning and receding at rapid rates, leading to a transition from ecosystems dominated by glacial ice and rock to ecosystems containing developed soils and vegetation. Within this context, we are examining how the quality and quantity of carbon and nutrients within stream networks changes as a function of landcover. Our research is focused on a series of watersheds, primarily in southeastern Alaska, that range in glacier coverage from 0 to >60%. We are using these watersheds to substitute space for time and begin to unravel how both the magnitude and timing of watershed fluxes of C, N, and P may change as glaciers continue to recede. Our previous results have shown that different levels of glacial coverage alter the timing and magnitude of fresh water, dissolved organic matter and nutrient yields. Our results suggest that a lower extent of glacial coverage within a watershed leads to higher amounts of dissolved organic matter, but decreased phosphorous yields. We have also found that the glaciers are a significant source of old (approximately 4k years 14-C age) but very labile DOM, and that DOM from glacial runoff into the Gulf of Alaska is an important source of organic carbon to the marine ecosystem. Our current research is focused on understanding how changes in glacier runoff may impact in-stream processing (e.g. net ecosystem metabolism; carbon mineralization) across our study watersheds. In addition, we are attempting to use tracers such as conductivity and stable isotopes of water (d18O and D) to fingerprint glacier contributions to streamwater biogeochemical fluxes in mixed land use glacier watersheds. This presentation will highlight the current state of our knowledge regarding the controls on C, N, and P fluxes in glacier watersheds and highlight future directions in this emerging area of research.
Scott, D.; Hood, E. W.; Nassry, M. Q.; Vermilyea, A.
The digital elevation model (DEM) from the 2000 Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) was differenced from a composite DEM based on air photos dating from 1948 to 1987 to detennine glacier volume changes in southeast Alaska and adjoining Canada. SRTM accuracy was assessed at ??5 in through comparison with airborne laser altimetry and control locations measured with GPS. Glacier surface elevations lowered over 95% of the 14,580 km2 glacier-covered area analyzed, with some glaciers thinning as much as 640 in. A combination of factors have contributed to this wastage, including calving retreats of tidewater and lacustrine glaciers and climate change. Many glaciers in this region are particularly sensitive to climate change, as they have large areas at low elevations. However, several tidewater glaciers that had historically undergone calving retreats are now expanding and appear to be in the advancing stage of the tidewater glacier cycle. The net average rate of ice loss is estimated at 16.7 ?? 4.4 km3/yr, equivalent to a global sea level rise contribution of 0.04 ?? 0.01 mm/yr. Copyright 2007 by the American Geophysical Union.
Larsen, C. F.; Motyka, R. J.; Arendt, A. A.; Echelmeyer, K. A.; Geissler, P. E.
As glaciers retreat, they highly alter the characteristics of the overall water budget of the larger drainage basin. Understanding and quantifying glacier melt is key to effectively project future changes in watershed-scale stream flow from glacierized landscapes. In glacierized Southcentral Alaska, the State of Alaska is reviving analyses of the Susitna River's hydroelectric potential and impact by supporting a multitude of field and modeling studies. Here, we focus on the response of discharge to projected climate change through the end-of-the century. The analyzed sub-catchment is largely untouched by humans, and covers an area of 2,230 km2 (740 - 4000 m a.s.l.) of which 25% is glacierized. We use a distributed temperature index model (DETIM), which uses daily air temperature and precipitation to compute runoff, ice and snow melt/accumulation. Model calibration included daily discharge and annual mass balance point measurements between 1955 and 2012. Output from the CCSM global climate model forced by three emission scenarios (A1B, A2 and B1) was downscaled to project future runoff and glacier mass balance until 2100. Depending on the climate scenario, runoff is projected to increase by 22 to 39% (yrs 2005-2100) due to increased mean annual air temperature ranging from 3.0 to 4.9°C and precipitation increase between 23 and 34%. During the same period, the glaciers are projected to lose between 11 to 14% of their area. The future projections show no trend in winter glacier mass balance, but suggest an increasingly negative specific summer mass balance. The DETIM model, despite its hydrologic simplicity and focus on snow and ice melt and accumulation, is able to reproduce well the observations in basin discharge and glacier mass balance.
Aubry-Wake, C.; Hock, R.; Braun, J. L.; Zhang, J.; Wolken, G. J.; Liljedahl, A.
This park is home to the Fairweather Mountains, which formed during the Laramide Orogeny, as well as many glaciers. The site includes introductory information about glacial formation and icebergs, links to park maps, and visitor information.
Understanding the spatial variability of winter snow in glacierized watersheds is vital for estimating glacier changes, forecasting freshwater delivery to riverine and marine ecosystems and informing Earth loading models for studies of seasonal variations in crustal uplift. Accurately reproducing snow distribution within glacier-models still remains a challenge due to the difficulty obtaining in-situ measurements and large local or regional variability in snow thicknesses. Between March and July 2012, high frequency (200-500 MHz) Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR) surveys designed to obtain spatially distributed measurements of snow accumulation, were collected on a number of different glaciers in south-central Alaska, USA. The surveys span a range of climatic zones including continental and maritime glaciers. Several modes of travel were employed, including helicopter-borne, snowmobile and ski-towed. Preliminary results from the Valdez Glacier suggest that the agreement between 200 MHz-GPR-derived snow-depth and 17 manually measured snow-depths is ± 10% using an estimated radar velocity of 0.22 m/ns, as one example. Additionally, GPR profiles in the accumulation areas showed firn-stratigraphy of previous summer surfaces, thus, making it possible to distinguish the elevation of the firn line and indicating that in the accumulation zone it may be possible to estimate annual net mass balance if density can be estimated. In this presentation we will illustrate the characteristics of snow accumulation on this suite of Alaska Glaciers as derived by GPR and discuss our results in terms of the usefulness and challenges associated with using GPR to determine the winter and annual mass balance of these glaciers.
Gusmeroli, A.; Wolken, G. J.; Arendt, A. A.; Campbell, S. W.; O'Neel, S.; Marshall, H.
Ice-marginal glacier-dammed lakes (GDLs), prone to repeated catastrophic sudden drainages, and amenable to remote monitoring, pose unique hazards to human habitation downstream. Both GDLs and flood potential can be evaluated with satellite imagery and GIS tools. Using a baseline map and ASTER imagery, I determined impoundment longevity (absent, persisting, new) of nearly 700 Alaska/adjacent Canada GDL basins. I present here characterizations of these groups of basins and their 214 damming glaciers. Over 50% of historic GDLs, mapped by USGS in 1971, persisted. Of particular importance to proposed/existing infrastructure downstream, 34% of GDLs showing on recent satellite imagery were new since 1971; 44% of the glaciers damming these new GDLs did not previously dam GDLs. For absent GDLs, 70% of ice dam loss was related to glacier thinning; 27% was related to terminus retreat. Numbers of lakes and form of dam loss differed by damming glacier complexity and terminus type. Persisting lakes differed significantly (p=.005) from absent lakes in their: distance up the damming glacier in percent of its total length and in horizontal distance from terminus; and vertical distance below the mean glacier altitude. The predominant aspect of now-absent historic ice dams appeared to have strong oro-topographic origins. Emerging lake ice dam aspects, and the persistence of ice dams, by contrast, appear driven more by climate in that they predominantly face aspects of minimal solar input. Newly forming GDLs were significantly higher and 20% further up the length of damming glaciers than the now-absent historic lakes were, and 95% of all GDLs had glacier surface gradients of 6° or less below the GDL. This is of interest as GDL releases can flush waters stored within the glacier system, creating a larger than expected flood peak and/or duration, and gradients of 6° or less have been found to promote water storage within a glacier system. This work corroborates findings of dramatic Alaska glacier thinning, and findings of higher GDL emergence elsewhere. It highlights the dynamic hazards posed by these lakes and their recurring floods.
Wolfe, D. F.
Medial moraines are visually dominant structures of most large valley glaciers in the Copper River Basin (CRB), Alaska. Areally extensive but thin (usually <20 cm) accumulations of debris pose challenges for glacier mapping based on multispectral imagery, as done, for instance, in the GLIMS project. The sources of this material include large discrete landslides from wallrocks and from lateral moraines; diffuse contributions from rock falls and talus creep; rocks delivered via snow and ice avalanches; ingestion of lateral moraines along tributary convergences; and basal erosional debris. Evidence indicates that in CRB glaciers, discrete large avalanches predominate as the major contributors of moraine mass. Subglacial erosional debris is predominantly pulverized to small grain sizes and flushed. Many large, young avalanches exist on CRB glaciers. Evidence from colorimetry indicates that many medial moraines actually are landslides that have been sheared and swept downglacier, thus mimicking the form of other types of medial moraines formed where tributaries coalesce and flow down valley. Landcover classification of ASTER imagery, qualitative observations from air photos, and semiquantitative field-based estimations of rock color types indicate that on Allen Glacier, and other CRB glaciers, landslides are the sources of most medial moraines. On Allen and Root Glacier, for example, we see very few boulders with obvious signs of basal abrasion, whereas nearly all boulders exhibit signs of irregular fracture, for example in landslides. Such landslides have large effects on the thermal and mass balance of CRB glaciers, sometimes opposing or in other cases accentuating the effects of global/regional climate change. Considering the link between landslides and seismicity, and that Magnitude 8-9 earthquakes may occur nearby only about once a century, which is also the characteristic response time of large glaciers to climate shifts, seismicity must be considered along with climate change induced glacier responses in the CRB. Ultimately, climate has the final word, and already this is evident in the glacier record. Glacial flour is probably almost entirely from bed erosion. We will present estimates of the contributions of landslides and subglacially pulverized glacial rock flour to the overall rock mass budget of Allen Glacier. Each of the components of the rock mass budget differs in its probable distribution on the surface and within a typical glacier. We will present some preliminary empirical determinations of the influence of various thicknesses of supraglacial rock debris on the local mass balance of Allen Glacier; the net zero influence is exhibited for debris thicknesses on the order of 1 cm of fine debris or ~50% coverage by cobbles or boulders.
Kargel, J. S.; Fischer, L.; Furfaro, R.; Huggel, C.; Korup, O.; Leonard, G. J.; Uhlmann, M.; Wessels, R. L.; Wolfe, D. F.
Watersheds along the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) are undergoing climate warming, glacier volume loss, and shifts in the timing and volume of freshwater delivered to the eastern North Pacific Ocean. We estimate recent mean annual freshwater discharge to the GOA at 870 km3 yr-1. Small distributed coastal drainages contribute 78% of the freshwater discharge with the remainder delivered by larger rivers penetrating coastal ranges. Discharge from glaciers and icefields accounts for 47% of total freshwater discharge, with 10% coming from glacier volume loss associated with rapid thinning and retreat of glaciers along the GOA. Our results indicate the region of the GOA from Prince William Sound to the east, where glacier runoff contributes 371 km3 yr-1, is vulnerable to future changes in freshwater discharge as a result of glacier thinning and recession. Changes in timing and magnitude of freshwater delivery to the GOA could impact coastal circulation as well as biogeochemical fluxes to near-shore marine ecosystems and the eastern North Pacific Ocean.
Neal, Edward G.; Hood, Eran; Smikrud, Kathy
The glaciers surrounding the Blackstone-Spencer Ice Complex display a variety of termini types: Tebenkov, Spencer, Bartlett, Skookum, Trail, Burns, Shakespeare, Marquette, Lawrence, and Ripon glaciers end in terrestrial margins; Blackstone and Beloit glaciers have tidewater termini; and Portage Glacier has a calving lacustrine margin. In addition, steep temperature and precipitation gradients exist across the ice complex from the maritime environment of Prince William Sound to the colder, drier interior. The Neoglacial history of Tebenkov Glacier, as based on overrun trees near the terminus, shows advances ca. 250- 430 AD (calibrated date), ca. 1215-1275 AD (calibrated date), and ca. 1320-1430 AD (tree ring evidence), all intervals of glacier advance around the Gulf of Alaska. However, two tidewater glaciers in Blackstone Bay retreated from their outermost moraines by 1350 AD, apparently asynchronously with respect to the regional climate signal. The most extensive Kenai Mountain glacier expansions during Neoglaciation occurred in the late Little Ice Age. The outermost moraines are adjacent to mature forest stands and bog peats that yield dates as old as 5,600 BP. Prince William Sound glaciers advanced during two Little Ice Age cold periods, 1380-1680 and 1830-1900 AD. The terrestrial glaciers around the Blackstone-Spencer Ice Complex all built moraines during the 19th century and began retreating between 1875 and 1900 AD. Portage and Burns glaciers began retreating between 1790 and 1810 AD, but their margins remained close to the outermost moraines during the 19th century. Regional glacier fluctuations are broadly synchronous in the Gulf of Alaska region. With the exception of the two tidewater glaciers in Blackstone Bay, all glaciers in the Kenai Mountains, no matter their sizes, altitudes, orientations, or types of margins, retreated at the end of the Little Ice Age. The climate signal, especially temperature, appears to be the strongest control on glacier behavior during the last millennium.
Crossen, Kristine June
Glaciers around the globe are experiencing a notable retreat and thinning, triggered by atmospheric warming. Tidewater glaciers in particular have received much attention, because they have been recognized to contribute substantially to global sea level rise. However, lake calving glaciers in Alaska show increasingly high thinning and retreat rates and are therefore contributors to sea level rise. The number of such lake calving systems is increasing worldwide as land-terminating glaciers retreat into overdeepened basins and form proglacial lakes. Yakutat Glacier in Southeast Alaska is a low elevation lake calving glacier with an accumulation to total area ratio of 0.03. It experienced rapid thinning of 4.43 +/- 0.06 m w.e. yr-1 between 2000-2010 and terminus retreat of over 15 km since the beginning of the 20th century. Simultaneously, adjacent Yakutat Icefield land-terminating glaciers thinned at lower but still substantial rates (3.54 +/- 0.06 m w.e. yr -1 for the same time period), indicating lake calving dynamics help drive increased mass loss. Yakutat Glacier sustained a ˜3 km long floating tongue for over a decade, which started to disintegrate into large tabular icebergs in 2010. Such floating tongues are rarely seen on temperate tidewater glaciers. The floating ice was weakened by surface ablation, which then allowed rifts to form and intersect. Ice velocity from GPS measurements showed that the ice on the floating tongue was moving substantially faster than grounded ice, which was attributed to rift opening between the floating and grounded ice. Temporal variations of rift opening were determined from time-lapse imagery, and correlated well with variations in ice speeds. Larger rift opening rates occurred during and after precipitation or increased melt episodes. Both of these events increased subglacial discharge and could potentially increase the subaqueous currents towards the open lake and thus increase drag on the ice underside. Simultaneously, increased water input may cause lake level in rifts to rise resulting in faster rift propagation and spreading. Similar formation and disintegration of floating tongues are expected to occur in the glacier's future, as the ice divide lies below the current lake level. In addition to calving retreat, Yakutat Glacier is rapidly thinning, which lowers its surface and therefore exposes the ice to warmer air temperatures causing increased thinning. Even under a constant climate, this positive feedback mechanism would force Yakutat Glacier to quickly retreat and mostly disappear. Simulations of future mass loss were run for two scenarios, keeping the current climate and forcing it with a projected warming climate. Results showed that over 95% of the glacier ice will have disappeared by 2120 or 2070 under a constant vs projected climate, respectively. For the first few decades, the glacier will be able to maintain its current thinning rate by retreating and thus losing areas of lowest elevation. However, once higher elevations have thinned substantially, the glacier cannot compensate any more to maintain a constant thinning rate and transfers into an unstable run-away situation. To stop this collapse and transform Yakutat Glacier into equilibrium in its current geometry, air temperatures would have to drop by 1.5 K or precipitation would have to increase by more than 50%. An increase in precipitation alone is unlikely to lead to a stable configuration, due to the very small current accumulation area.
Trussel, Barbara Lea
In April 2007, we established an array of GPS and seismic stations on the Bering Glacier, Alaska, to investigate the relationship between glacier motion and glacier-generated seismicity. Bering Glacier is North America's largest mountain glacier and has an area of more than 5000 km2. Dual-frequency GPS data were recorded continuously at 15 second intervals at five stations on the glacier from April to September. Four of the GPS glacier stations were established in a strain diamond located roughly halfway between the equilibrium line and the terminus, at a distance of 40 km from a GPS base station located near the terminus. These four GPS glacier stations were co-located with seismometers, which, together with a fifth seismometer located at center of the strain diamond, form a cross pattern seismic array with a 4-km aperture. The fifth GPS station is located 20 km up glacier from the strain diamond and seismic array, at a point where the upper icefield feeds into a narrow gate to the lower glacier. GPS antennas were fixed to tripods constructed of steel poles drilled 5-7 m deep into the surface of the glacier. This provides a stable reference relative to the glacier surface, which is subject to several meters of annual ablation at the elevation of the strain diamond. The GPS data have been processed using the GAMIT kinematic utility Track. The motion recorded at all sites is rapid (3+ m/day) but smooth and steady down to the temporal resolution of the data. Specifically, we find no evidence for sudden motion events in the timeseries, but rather find only small perturbations superimposed on slowly varying velocities. The seismic records from short period (L-22) and broadband (6TD) instruments reveal frequent icequakes including both emergent low frequency events and impulsive high frequency events. Many of the events recorded show strong time domain correlations across the array. We will construct a timeseries of seismicty using an automatic icequake detector, allowing comparison of the GPS and seismic timeseries. The effect of alternative processing methods for the GPS data, such as GYPSY precise point positioning analysis, will also be explored.
Larsen, C. F.; Truffer, M.; Leblanc, L.; O'Neel, S.; West, M.; None, N.
High-resolution seismic-reflection profiles of sediment fill within Tarr Inlet of Glacier Bay, Alaska, show seismic facies changes with increasing distance from the glacial termini. Five types of seismic facies are recognized from analysis of Huntec and minisparker records, and seven lithofacies are determined from detailed sedimentologic study of gravity-, vibro- and box-cores, and bottom grab samples. Lithofacies and seismic facies
Jinkui Cai; Ross D. Powell; Ellen A. Cowan; Paul R. Carlson
Long Lake Basin in the Snettisham Project Area southeast of Juneau, Alaska, yields water used for the production of hydroelectric power. Development of adjacent Crater Lake is planned to increase the Project 's generating capacity. Estimates of the hydroelectric potential of the lakes are based on streamflow records which are influenced by glaciers that cover 25% of the combined basins. Analysis of streamflow records shows that the quality and extent of records in the area are sufficient to predict flow from the Crater Creek basin with a fairly high degree of confidence. Comparison of aerial photographs indicates that glacier ablation and recession have been continuous since at least 1929. Estimates of ice-volume change from photogrammetric measurements indicate that less than 2.5% of the average runoff from the basins of Long and Crater Lakes has been from reduction in glacier-ice storage. (Author 's abstract)
Sloan, C. E.; Emery, P. A.; Fair, Diana
Much recent research points to the shrinkage of the Earth's small glaciers, however, few studies have been performed to quantify the amount of change over time. We measured glacier-extent changes in two national parks in southeastern Alaska. There are hundreds of glaciers in Kenai Fjords National Park (KEFJ) and Katmai National Park and Preserve (KATM) covering over 2373 sq km of parkland. There are two primary areas of glaciation in KEFJ - the Harding Icefield and the Grewingk-Yalik Glacier Complex, and three primary areas of glaciation in KATM - the Mt. Douglas area, the Kukak Volcano to Mt. Katmai area and the Mt. Martin area. We performed glacier mapping using satellite imagery, from the 1970s, 1980s, and from 2000. Results of the analysis show that there has been a reduction in the amount of glacier ice cover in the two parks over the study period, of approximately 22 sq km of ice, approximately - 1.6% from 1986 to 2000 (for KEFJ), and of approximately 76 sq km of glacier ice, or about -7.7% from 1986187 to 2000 (for KATM). In the future, measurements of surface elevation changes of these ice masses should be acquired; together with our extent-change measurements, the volume change of the ice masses can then be determined to estimate their contribution to sea-level rise. The work is a continuation of work done in KEFJ, but in KATM, our measurements represent the first comprehensive study of the glaciers in this remote, little-studied area.
Giffen, Bruce A.; Hall, Dorothy K.; Chien, Janet Y.L.
In April 2004, more than 40 hours of georeferenced submarine digital video was collected in water depths of 15-370 m in Glacier Bay to (1) ground-truth existing geophysical data (bathymetry and acoustic reflectance), (2) examine and record geologic characteristics of the sea floor, and (3) investigate the relation between substrate types and benthic communities, and (4) construct predictive maps of seafloor geomorphology and habitat distribution. Common substrates observed include rock, boulders, cobbles, rippled sand, bioturbated mud, and extensive beds of living horse mussels and scallops. Four principal sea-floor geomorphic types are distinguished by using video observations. Their distribution in lower and central Glacier Bay is predicted using a supervised, hierarchical decision-tree statistical classification of geophysical data.
Harney, Jodi N.; Cochrane, Guy R.; Etherington, Lisa L.; Dartnell, Pete; Golden, Nadine E.; Chezar, Hank
We have used airborne altimetry to measure surface elevations along the central flowline of 86 glaciers in Alaska, Yukon Territory and northwestern British Columbia (northwestern North America). Comparison of these elevations with contours on maps derived from 1950s to 1970s aerial photography yields elevation and volume changes over a 30 to 45 year period. Approximately one-third of glaciers have been re-profiled 3 to 5 years after the earlier profile, providing a measure of short-timescale elevation and volume changes for comparison with the earlier period. We have used these measurements to estimate the total contribution of glaciers in northwestern North America to rising sea level, and to quantify the magnitude of climate changes in these regions. We found that glaciers in northwestern North America have contributed to about 10% of the rate of global sea level rise during the last half-century and that the rate of mass loss has approximately doubled during the past decade. During this time, summer and winter air temperatures at low elevation climate stations increased by 0.2+/-0.1 and 0.4+/-0.2°C (decade)-1 respectively. There was also a weak trend of increasing precipitation and an overall lengthening of the summer melt season. We modeled regional changes in glacier mass balance with climate station data and were able to reproduce altimetry measurements to within reported errors. We conclude that summer temperature increases have been the main driver of the increased rates of glacier mass loss, but winter warming might also be affecting the glaciers through enhanced melt at low elevations and a change in precipitation from snow to rain, especially in maritime regions. Uncertainties in our calculations are large, owing to the inaccuracies of the maps used to provide baseline elevations, the sparsity of accurate climate data, and the complex and dynamic nature of glaciers in these regions. Tidewater, surging, and lake-terminating glaciers have dynamical cycles that are not linked in a simple way to climate variability. We found that regional volume losses can depend on one or several large and dynamic glaciers. These glaciers should be treated separately when extrapolating altimetry data to an entire region.
Arendt, Anthony A.
This report contains field and laboratory data from a paleoseismic study of the Susitna Glacier fault, Alaska. The initial M 7.2 subevent of the November 3, 2002, M 7.9 Denali fault earthquake sequence produced a 48-km-long set of complex fault scarps, folds, and aligned landslides on the previously unknown, north-dipping Susitna Glacier thrust fault along the southern margin of the Alaska Range in central Alaska. Most of the 2002 folds and fault scarps are 1-3 m high, implying dip-slip thrust offsets (assuming a near-surface fault dip of approximately 20 degrees)of 3-5 m. Locally, some of the 2002 ruptures were superimposed on preexisting scarps that have as much as 5-10 m of vertical separation and are evidence of previous surface-rupturing earthquakes on the Susitna Glacier fault. In 2003-2005, we focused follow-up studies on several of the large scarps at the 'Wet fan' site in the central part of the 2002 rupture to determine the pre-2002 history of large surface-rupturing earthquakes on the fault. We chose this site for several reasons: (1) the presence of pre-2002 thrust- and normal-fault scarps on a gently sloping, post-glacial alluvial fan; (2) nearby natural exposures of underlying fan sediments revealed fine-grained fluvial silts with peat layers and volcanic ash beds useful for chronological control; and (3) a lack of permafrost to a depth of more than 1 m. Our studies included detailed mapping, fault-scarp profiling, and logging of three hand-excavated trenches. We were forced to restrict our excavations to 1- to 2-m-high splay faults and folds because the primary 2002 ruptures mostly were superimposed on such large scarps that it was impossible to hand dig through the hanging wall to expose the fault plane. Additional complications are the pervasive effects of cryogenic processes (mainly solifluction) that can mask or mimic tectonic deformation. The purpose of this report is to present photomosaics, trench logs, scarp profiles, and fault slip, radiocarbon, tephrochronologic, and unit description data obtained during this investigation. We do not attempt to use the data presented herein to construct a paleoseismic history of the Susitna Glacier fault; that history will be the subject of a future report. When completed, our results will be used to compare the Susitna Glacier fault paleoseismic record with results of similar studies on the nearby Denali fault to determine if the simultaneous rupture of these two faults during the 2002 Denali fault earthquake sequence is typical or atypical of their long-term interaction.
Personius, Stephen F.; Crone, Anthony J.; Burns, Patricia A.; Beget, James E.; Seitz, Gordon G.; Bemis, Sean P.
Alaska's climate is changing and one of the most significant indications of this change has been the late 19th to early 21st century behavior of Alaskan glaciers. Over the last decade, Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) gravity measurements have enabled estimates of regional ice loss trends in glaciated southern Alaska. However, higher-resolution in situ, aircraft, GPS and other satellite data are being used to study the basin-scale processes responsible for the observed broad-scale seasonal and inter-annual variability of GRACE-derived mass change. Specifically we report on the use Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Land Surface Temperature (LST) and Fractional Snow Cover (FSC) products, at a spatial scale of 1 km or less, to document the temporal and spatial evolution of seasonal processes over a time period that includes the GRACE observations (2002 to present). We use observations of cryospheric change over the last decade as input to 3-D viscoelastic Earth models of southern Alaska. In addition to glacial changes on a variety of temporal and spatial scales, southern Alaska is tectonically active with frequent large earthquakes. The gravimetric response, as well as the rate and orientation of crustal deformation, due to relaxation processes associated with inter-annual snow/ice changes, glacier wastage on time scales of years to decades, and large earthquakes (1964 Prince William Sound, M=9.2, 2002 Denali, Mw=7.9) will be discussed.
Sauber, J. M.; Hall, D. K.; Han, S.; Luthcke, S. B.
Queen Inlet is unique among Glacier Bay fjords because it alone has a branching channel system incised in the Holocene sediment fill of the fjord floor. Queen Inlet and other known channel-containing fjords are marine-outwash fjords; the tidewater glacial fjords do not have steep delta fronts on which slides are generated and may not have a sufficient reservoir of potentially unstable coarse sediment to generate channel-cutting turbidity currents. Presence or absence of channels, as revealed in the ancient rock record, may be one criterion for interpreting types of fjords. -Authors
Carlson, P. R.; Powell, R. D.; Rearic, D. M.
Glaciers, ice sheets, and permafrost form a 'cryosphere cap' that traps methane formed in the subsurface, restricting its flow to the Earth's surface and atmosphere. Despite model predictions that glacier melt and degradation of permafrost open conduits for methane's escape, there has been a paucity of field evidence for 'subcap' methane seepage to the atmosphere as a direct result of cryosphere disintegration in the terrestrial Arctic. Here, we document for the first time the release of sub-cryosphere methane to lakes, rivers, shallow marine fjords and the atmosphere from abundant gas seeps concentrated along boundaries of receding glaciers and permafrost thaw in Alaska and Greenland. Through aerial and ground surveys of 6,700 lakes and fjords in Alaska we mapped >150,000 gas seeps identified as bubbling-induced open holes in seasonal ice. Using gas flow rates, stable isotopes, and radiocarbon dating, we distinguished recent ecological methane from subcap, geologic methane. Subcap seeps had anomalously high bubbling rates, 14C-depletion, and stable isotope values matching microbial sources associated with sedimentary deposits and coal beds as well as thermogenic methane accumulations in Alaska. Since differential ice loading can overpressurize fluid reservoirs and cause sediment fracturing beneath ice sheets, and since the loss of glacial ice reduces normal stress on ground, opens joints, and activates faults and fissures, thereby increasing permeability of the crust to fluid flow, we hypothesized that in the previously glaciated region of Southcentral Alaska, where glacial wastage continues presently, subcap seeps should be disproportionately associated with neotectonic faults. Geospatial analysis confirmed that subcap seep sites were associated with faults within a 7 km belt from the modern glacial extent. The majority of seeps were located in areas affected by seismicity from isostatic rebound associated with deglaciation following the Little Ice Age (LIA; ca. 1650-1850 C.E.). Across Alaska, we found a relationship between methane stable isotopes, radiocarbon age, and distance to faults. Faults appear to allow the escape of deeper, more 14C-depleted methane to the atmosphere, whereas seeps away from faults entrained 14C-enriched methane formed in shallower sediments from microbial decomposition of younger organic matter. Additionally, we observed younger subcap methane seeps in lakes of Greenland's Sondrestrom Fjord that were associated with ice-sheet retreat since the LIA. These correlations suggest that in a warming climate, continued disintegration of glaciers, permafrost, and parts of the polar ice sheets will weaken subsurface seals and further open conduits, allowing a transient expulsion of methane currently trapped by the cryosphere cap.
Walter Anthony, K. M.; Anthony, P. M.; Grosse, G.; Chanton, J.
In the marine environment, stability of the glacier terminus and the location of subglacial streams are the dominant controls on the distribution of grounding-line deposits within morainal banks. A morainal bank complex in Muir Inlet, Glacier Bay, SE Alaska, is used to develop a model of terminus stability and location of subglacial streams along the grounding line of temperate marine glaciers. This model can be used to interpret former grounding-line conditions in other glacimarine settings from the facies architecture within morainal bank deposits. The Muir Inlet morainal bank complex was deposited between 1860 A.D. and 1899 A.D., and historical observations provide a record of terminus positions, glacial retreat rates and sedimentary sources. These data are used to reconstruct the depositional environment and to develop a correlation between sedimentary facies and conditions along the grounding line. Four seismic facies identified on the high-resolution seismic-reflection profiles are used to interpret sedimentary facies within the morainal bank complex. Terminus stability is interpreted from the distribution of sedimentary facies within three distinct submarine geomorphic features, a grounding-line fan; stratified ridges, and a field of push ridges. The grounding-line fan was deposited along a stable terminus and is represented on seismic-reflection profiles by two distinct seismic facies, a proximal and a distal fan facies. The proximal fan facies was deposited at the efflux of subglacial streams and indicates the location of former glacifluvial discharges into the sea. Stratified ridges formed as a result of the influence of a quasi-stable terminus on the distribution of sedimentary facies along the grounding line. A field of push ridges formed along the grounding line of an unstable terminus that completely reworked the grounding-line deposits through glacitectonic deformation. Between 1860 A.D. and 1899 A.D. (39 years), 8.96 x 108 m3 of sediment were deposited within the Muir Inlet morainal bank complex at an average annual sediment accumulation rate of 2.3 x 107 m3/a. This rate represents the annual sediment production capacity of the glacier when the Muir Inlet drainage basin is filled with glacial ice.
Seramur, K. C.; Powell, R. D.; Carlson, P. R.
Ice velocity data are presented for the lower reach of Columbia Glacier, Alaska. The data span a 29 day period and contain 1,072 angle sightings from two survey stations to 22 markers placed on the ice surface, and 1,621 laser measurements of the distance to one of those markers (number 11) from another station. These short-interval observations were made to investigate the dynamics of the glacier and to provide input to models for estimation of future retreat and iceberg discharge. The mean ice velocity (at marker number 11) was approximately 9 m/day and ranged from 8 to < 15 m/day. The data set includes a well defined 2-day, 50% velocity increase and a clear pattern of velocity fluctuations of about 5% with approximately diurnal and semiurnal periods. (Author 's abstract)
Vaughn, B. H.; Raymond, C. F.; Rasmussen, L. A.; Miller, D. S.; Michaelson, C. A.; Meier, M. F.; Krimmel, R. M.; Fountain, A. G.; Dunlap, W. W.; Brown, C. S.
The 1964 Alaska earthquake occurred in a region where there are many hundreds of glaciers, large and small. Aerial photographic investigations indicate that no snow and ice avalanches of large size occurred on glaciers despite the violent shaking. Rockslide avalanches extended onto the glaciers in many localities, seven very large ones occurring in the Copper River region 160 kilometers east of the epicenter. Some of these avalanches traveled several kilometers at low gradients; compressed air may have provided a lubricating layer. If long-term changes in glaciers due to tectonic changes in altitude and slope occur, they will probably be very small. No evidence of large-scale dynamic response of any glacier to earthquake shaking or avalanche loading was found in either the Chugach or Kenai Mountains 16 months after the 1964 earthquake, nor was there any evidence of surges (rapid advances) as postulated by the Earthquake-Advance Theory of Tarr and Martin.
This interactive Flash exercise and animation explores glaciers, including their formation, growth, and retreat. This resource provides animations, diagrams, models in which students can see the influence of temperature and precipitation on glacier growth, and supplementary information that may serve as an overview or review of glaciers for introductory level physical geology or Earth science students at the high school or undergraduate level.
Smoothstone; Mifflin, Houghton
The terminus of Columbia Glacier, Alaska, unexpectedly became ungrounded in 2007 during its prolonged retreat. Visual observations showed that calving changed from a steady release of low-volume bergs, to episodic flow-perpendicular rifting, propagation, and release of very large icebergs - a style reminiscent of calving from ice shelves. Here, we compare passive seismic and photographic observations through this transition to examine changes in calving. Mechanical changes accompany the visible changes in calving style post flotation: generation of seismic energy during calving is substantially reduced. We propose this is partly due to changes in source processes.
Walter, Fabian; O'Neel, Shad; McNamara, Daniel; Pfeffer, W.T.; Bassis, Jeremy N.; Fricker, Helen Amanda
Yakutat Glacier has been exposed to calving retreat for more than a century with a total terminus retreat of over 15 km since 1903. This temperate glacier in Southeast Alaska calves into over 300 m deep Harlequin Lake. Cold, non-stratified lake water with uniform temperatures of around 1 °C combined with the large lake depth allowed this glacier to form a 17.2 km2 floating tongue. This floating tongue existed for over a decade between 2000 and 2010. Thinning in this terminus area exceeds 6 m during the summer. Digital elevation model differencing shows annual thinning rates of around 9 m yr-1 in the terminus area with a glacier wide mean of 4.07±0.03 m yr-1 (2007-2010). Calving rates are highly variable with periods of rapid retreat followed by periods of relative stability. The most recent period of rapid retreat began in 2010, when the floating tongue disintegrated into large tabular ice bergs. Those ice bergs calve as crevasses transform into rifts, a process supported by rapid thinning. Once the rifts intersect, large tabular icebergs are able to disconnect from the tongue and float away, generally without rolling over. This episodic style of calving also produces a large number of small ice bergs. Tidewater glaciers in the vicinity of Yakutat Glacier are exposed to a similar climate, but they neither form nor maintain a stable floating tongue, nor do they calve large tabular icebergs, even when retreating into over-deepened basins. We hypothesize that the different calving behavior is caused by the presence or absence of submarine melt as the glacier retreats into an over-deepening. In the case of a tidewater glacier, submarine melt can be large leading to instability and retreat. In a lacustrine system, subaquatic melt is negligible, allowing floating tongues to form. The recent break-up of this floating tongue shows certain similarities to the disintegration of ice shelves in Antarctica, but on a much smaller scale and in temperate ice. To better understand the rifting and calving processes during the break-up, we tracked rift opening with a time-lapse camera, monitored lake level and air temperature, and tracked ice surface displacement with GPSs. In addition, we recorded seismic data on near terminus bedrock, which show increased high frequency signals during calving events.
Truessel, B.; Truffer, M.; Motyka, R. J.; Larsen, C. F.
Seventy surface pollen samples from coastal forest, coastal meadow, muskeg, tree line, and alpine tundra communities form a basis for interpreting fossil pollen assemblages in the Malaspina Glacier district, Alaska. Poflen and macrofossil analyses of three radiocarbon-dated fossil sections from Icy Cape indicate that vegetational changes resulting from plant succession can be distinguished from those of migrational and climatic origin. Vegetation of the early Holocene xerothermic interval (10,000-7600 yr B.P.) was dominated by Alnus communities. Wetter conditions ensued, enabling generative muskeg surfaces to develop and first Picea sitchensis, then Tsuga heterophylla to expand from areas southeastward. Climatic cooling in more recent millennia (3500 yr B.P. to the present) is indicated by the appearance and persistent growth of Tsuga mertensiana and Selaginella selaginoides along this portion of the Gulf of Alaska coastline.
Peteet, Dorothy M.
Across the plate boundary zone in south central Alaska, tectonic strain rates are high in a region that includes large glaciers undergoing wastage (glacier retreat and thinning) and surges. For the coastal region between the Bering and Malaspina Glaciers, the average ice mass thickness changes between 1995 and 2000 range from 1 to 5 m/year. These ice changes caused solid Earth displacements in our study region with predicted values of -10 to 50 mm in the vertical and predicted horizontal displacements of 0-10 mm at variable orientations. Relative to stable North America, observed horizontal rates of tectonic deformation range from 10 to 40 mm/year to the north-northwest and the predicted tectonic uplift rates range from approximately 0 mm/year near the Gulf of Alaska coast to 12 mm/year further inland. The ice mass changes between 1995 and 2000 resulted in discernible changes in the Global Positioning System (GPS) measured station positions of one site (ISLE) located adjacent to the Bagley Ice Valley and at one site, DON, located south of the Bering Glacier terminus. In addition to modifying the surface displacements rates, we evaluated the influence ice changes during the Bering glacier surge cycle had on the background seismic rate. We found an increase in the number of earthquakes (ML???2.5) and seismic rate associated with ice thinning and a decrease in the number of earthquakes and seismic rate associated with ice thickening. These results support the hypothesis that ice mass changes can modulate the background seismic rate. During the last century, wastage of the coastal glaciers in the Icy Bay and Malaspina region indicates thinning of hundreds of meters and in areas of major retreat, maximum losses of ice thickness approaching 1 km. Between the 1899 Yakataga and Yakutat earthquakes (Mw=8.1, 8.1) and prior to the 1979 St. Elias earthquake (M s=7.2), the plate interface below Icy Bay was locked and tectonic strain accumulated. We used estimated ice mass change during the 1899-1979 time period to calculate the change in the fault stability margin (FSM) prior to the 1979 St. Elias earthquake. Our results suggest that a cumulative decrease in the fault stability margin at seismogenic depths, due to ice wastage over 80 years, was large, up to ???2 MPa. Ice wastage would promote thrust faulting in events such as the 1979 earthquake and subsequent aftershocks.
Sauber, J. M.; Molnia, B. F.
In South-Central Alaska, the Susitna River is the site of a proposed hydroelectric dam. The catchment of the reservoir in the upper Susitna watershed (13,289 km^2, 450-4000 m a.s.l.) is 4% glacierized and is characterized by sparse vegetation, discontinuous permafrost, and little human development. Glaciers, permafrost, and the water cycle are expected to change in response to anticipated future atmospheric warming by the end of this century, thus impacting water yields to the hydroelectric reservoir. We aim to quantify future changes in glacier wastage, surface- and groundwater, permafrost, and evapotranspiration. We apply the physically-based hydrological model WaSiM using daily air temperature and precipitation data from station observations and gridded climate products. The model is calibrated with runoff and glacier mass balance measurements from the 1980s and validated with measurements from ongoing field campaigns which started in spring 2012. With the past and present data, the model is able to match both the magnitude and timing of observed river discharge. However, the scarcity of meteorological observations from the upper Susitna basin presents a major challenge to simulating the catchment hydrology. We present methods for extrapolation of the spatially-sparse long-term data across the catchment, with particular emphasis on high-elevation precipitation. To project future changes in river runoff, we run WaSiM with air temperature and precipitation downscaled from global climate models and compare results from several emission scenarios (selected from CMIP5). We discuss the anticipated changes in basin hydrology as the climate warms, permafrost thaws, and glaciers shrink.
Bliss, A. K.; Braun, J. L.; Daanen, R. P.; Hock, R.; Liljedahl, A.; Wolken, G. J.; Zhang, J.
Understanding melt on alpine glaciers is required both for accurate mass balance modeling and ice core paleoclimate reconstruction. In alpine regions with complex meteorology and topography, modeling melt through the quantification and balance of all identifiable energy fluxes is the most complete way of describing how local meteorology influences melt layer formation and snowpack evolution. To meet this goal at our field site on the Kahiltna glacier, located in the Central Alaska Range, Denali National Park, we have developed an energy balance model from two years of meteorological data from Kahiltna Base Camp (2100 m elevation, 63.25 degrees N, 151 degrees W). Current model results show the dominance of turbulent heat transfer at the study site and the importance of surface roughness and albedo in controlling melt. Preliminary data show a 30 percent overestimation of melt flux from the surface into the snowpack although an albedo submodel is being developed which may address this. Sampling of the snowpack across the glacier for analysis of stratigraphic and chemical evolution shows an isothermal near surface snowpack (to at least 1m) at 2100 meters in elevation in the early melt season with increasing density and melt layer abundance as the summer progresses. This suggests that a large amount of the meltwater remains in the snowpack after surface melting. We will discuss further the model’s accuracy in relation to ablation stake measurements as well as the major environmental controls on physical and chemical snowpack evolution into the melt season as additional results are processed.
Winski, D. A.; Kreutz, K. J.; Osterberg, E. C.; Campbell, S. W.; Denali Ice Core Team
Water levels were measured in boreholes spaced along the entire length of Bench Glacier, Alaska, USA, for a period in excess of 2 years. Instrumented boreholes were arranged as nine pairs along the center line of the glacier and an orthogonal grid of 16 boreholes in a 3600 m2 region at the center of the ablation area. Diurnal fluctuations of the water levels were found to be restricted to the late melt season. Pairs of boreholes spaced along the length of the ablation area often exhibited similar fluctuations and diurnal changes in water levels. Three distinct and independent types of diurnal fluctuations in water level were observed in clusters of boreholes within the grid of boreholes. Head gradients suggest water did not flow between clusters, and a single tunnel connecting the boreholes could not explain the observed pattern of diurnal water-level fluctuations. Inter-borehole and borehole-cluster connectivity suggests the cross-glacier width of influence of a segment of the drainage system connected to a borehole was limited to tens of meters. A drainage configuration whereby boreholes are connected to a somewhat distant tunnel by drainage pipes of differing lengths, often hundreds of meters, is shown with a numerical test to be a plausible explanation for the observed borehole behavior.
Fudge, T. J.; Humphrey, Neil F.; Harper, Joel T.; Pfeffer, W. Tad
A large potential rock avalanche above the northern shore of Tidal Inlet, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska, was investigated to determine hazards and risks of landslide-induced waves to cruise ships and other park visitors. Field and photographic examination revealed that the 5 to 10 million cubic meter landslide moved between AD 1892 and 1919 after the retreat of Little Ice Age glaciers from Tidal Inlet by AD 1890. The timing of landslide movement and the glacial history suggest that glacial debuttressing caused weakening of the slope and that the landslide could have been triggered by large earthquakes of 1899-1900 in Yakutat Bay. Evidence of recent movement includes fresh scarps, back-rotated blocks, and smaller secondary landslide movements. However, until there is evidence of current movement, the mass is classified as a dormant rock slump. An earthquake on the nearby active Fairweather fault system could reactivate the landslide and trigger a massive rock slump and debris avalanche into Tidal Inlet. Preliminary analyses show that waves induced by such a landslide could travel at speeds of 45 to 50 m/s and reach heights up to 76 m with wave runups of 200 m on the opposite shore of Tidal Inlet. Such waves would not only threaten vessels in Tidal Inlet, but would also travel into the western arm of Glacier Bay endangering large cruise ships and their passengers.
Wieczorek, Gerald F.; Jakob, Matthias; Motyka, Roman J.; Zirnheld, Sandra L.; Craw, Patricia
An unstable rock slump, estimated at 5 to 10????????10 6 m3, lies perched above the northern shore of Tidal Inlet in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska. This landslide mass has the potential to rapidly move into Tidal Inlet and generate large, long-period-impulse tsunami waves. Field and photographic examination revealed that the landslide moved between 1892 and 1919 after the retreat of the Little Ice Age glaciers from Tidal Inlet in 1890. Global positioning system measurements over a 2-year period show that the perched mass is presently moving at 3-4 cm annually indicating the landslide remains unstable. Numerical simulations of landslide-generated waves suggest that in the western arm of Glacier Bay, wave amplitudes would be greatest near the mouth of Tidal Inlet and slightly decrease with water depth according to Green's law. As a function of time, wave amplitude would be greatest within approximately 40 min of the landslide entering water, with significant wave activity continuing for potentially several hours. ?? 2007 Springer-Verlag.
Wieczorek, G. F.; Geist, E. L.; Motyka, R. J.; Jakob, M.
Ice cores have often been used to reconstruct paleoclimate based on proxies contained in the cores. Using an ice core from McCall Glacier, in the eastern Brooks Range of Alaska, we attempt to determine relationships between ice core proxies and synoptic weather patterns influencing McCall Glacier. The method of self-organizing maps is used to objectively identify the synoptic patterns that influence Alaska. Results presented in this talk will focus on relationships between ice core proxies and synoptic weather patterns for the past 50 years, when reliable atmospheric reanalysis data are available. The focus will be on annual accumulation and lead concentration from an ice core recovered from the McCall Glacier.
Cassano, E.; Cassano, J. J.; McConnell, J. R.; Nolan, M.
Jarvis Glacier is an important water source for Fort Greely and Delta Junction, Alaska. Yet with warming summer temperatures caused by climate change, the glacier is melting rapidly. Growing concern of a dwindling water supply has caused significant research efforts towards determining future water resources from spring melt and glacier runoff which feeds the community on a yearly basis. The main objective of this project was to determine the total volume of the Jarvis Glacier. In April 2012, a centerline profile of the Jarvis Glacier and 15 km of 100 MHz ground-penetrating radar (GPR) profiles were collected in cross sections to provide ice depth measurements. These depth measurements were combined with an interpreted glacier boundary (depth = 0 m) from recently collected high resolution WorldView satellite imagery to estimate total ice volume. Ice volume was calculated at 0.62 km3 over a surface area of 8.82 km2. However, it is likely that more glacier-ice exists within Jarvis Glacier watershed considering the value calculated with GPR profiles accounts for only the glacier ice within the valley and not for the valley side wall ice. The GLIMS glacier area database suggests that the valley accounts for approximately 50% of the total ice covered watershed. Hence, we are currently working to improve total ice volume estimates which incorporate the surrounding valley walls. Results from this project will be used in conjunction with climate change estimates and hydrological properties downstream of the glacier to estimate future water resources available to Fort Greely and Delta Junction.
Wu, N. L.; Campbell, S. W.; Douglas, T. A.; Osterberg, E. C.
Submarine melting impacts the stability of tidewater glaciers worldwide, but the connections between the ocean, a warming climate, and retreat of outlet glaciers are poorly known. Clearly warm seawater plays an important role, but the tremendous heat potential resident in oceans and fjords must first be brought into contact with outlet glacier termini in order to affect them. We show here that for many glaciers, the principal process driving high rates of submarine melting is subglacial discharge of freshwater. This buoyant discharge draws in warm seawater, entraining it in a turbulent upwelling convective flow along the submarine face that melts glacier ice. To capture the effect of changing subglacial discharge on submarine melting, we conducted four days of hydrographic transects during late summer 2012 at LeConte Glacier, Alaska. A major rainstorm allowed us to directly measure the influence of large changes in subglacial discharge. We found strong submarine melt rates that increased from 9.0×1.0 to 16.8×1.3 m/d (ice face equivalent frontal ablation) as subglacial discharge increased from 130 to 440 m^3/s over a four day period. This subglacial discharge drove influx of warm seawater (thermal forcing ~ 8° C) to the terminus with fluxes increasing from 1800 to 4000 m3/s. Our ice equivalent frontal ablation rates due to submarine melting are two to three times values found for Greenland glaciers, where thermal forcing is substantially lower (~ 1 - 4 °C) and termini are wider. Together, these studies confirm the importance of submarine melting at grounded glaciers. At LeConte, the total frontal ablation rate (calving flux plus submarine melting) is ~ 3.0 x10^6 m^3/d w.e., which far surpasses surface ablation. One-half to two-thirds of the frontal ablation during September 2012 can be attributed to submarine melting. A two-layer model driven by a buoyant plume of subglacial discharge has been previously invoked to describe the proglacial fjord circulation pattern. Although this circulation pattern is generally supported by our results, we also see evidence of eddying both at the terminus and down fjord, which adds complexity to the simple two layer model. Our results demonstrate that turbulent subglacial discharge is a key driver of ice-proximal fjord circulation that entrains warm seawater and melts submarine glacial ice. With projected continued global warming and increased glacial runoff, our results highlight the direct impact that increases in subglacial discharge will have on the stability of polar and subpolar tidewater outlet systems. These effects and feedbacks must be considered when modeling glacier response to future warming and increased runoff. Our results have direct implications for predicting future behavior at the ice sheet ocean interface, which constitutes the major uncertainty for future predictions of ice loss and sea-level rise.
Motyka, R. J.; Dryer, W. P.; Amundson, J. M.; Truffer, M.; Fahnestock, M. A.
Contents: Spot Shrimp Growth in Unakwik Inlet. Prince William Sound, Alaska; Abundance of the Chinook Salmon Escapement in the Taku River, 1989 to 1990; Relative Effects of Mixed Stock Fisheries on Specific Stocks of Concern: A Simplified Model and Brief ...
R. L. Wilbur
Information about glacier volume and ice thickness distribution is essential for many glaciological applications, but direct measurements of ice thickness can be difficult and costly. We present a new method that calculates ice thickness via an estimate of ice flux. We solve the familiar continuity equation between adjacent flowlines, which decreases the computational time required compared to a solution on the whole grid. We test the method on Columbia Glacier, a large tidewater glacier in Alaska, USA, and compare calculated and measured ice thicknesses, with favorable results. This shows the potential of this method for estimating ice thickness distribution of glaciers for which only surface data are available. We find that both the mean thickness and volume of Columbia Glacier were approximately halved over the period 1957–2007, from 281m to 143 m, and from 294 km3 to 134 km3, respectively. Using bedrock slope and considering how waves of thickness change propagate through the glacier, we conduct a brief analysis of the instability of Columbia Glacier, which leads us to conclude that the rapid portion of the retreat may be nearing an end.
McNabb, R. W.; Hock, R.; O'Neel, Shad R.; Rasmussen, L. A.; Ahn, Y.; Braun, M.; Conway, H.; Herreid, S.; Joughin, I.; Pfeffer, W. T.; Smith, B. E.; Truffer, M.
Seafloor geology and potential benthic habitats were mapped in Muir Inlet, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska, using multibeam sonar, ground-truth information, and geological interpretations. Muir Inlet is a recently deglaciated fjord that is ...
G. R. Cochran L. A. Mayer L. D. Trusel L. L. Etherington R. D. Powell
Viable bacterial communities on the surface of Gulkana Glacier (Alaska) were investigated using a cultivation method. Viable bacteria were isolated using R2A, diluted-R2A (DR2A), LB, diluted-LB (DLB), and xylose agar at 4, 15 and 25 °C. The highest number of colony-forming units (CFU) was observed on DR2A agar plates at 4 °C, ranging from 10 4-10 5 CFU mL -1. A collection of 234 morphologically distinct isolates was obtained in total. The glacial snow and ice sample was dominated by Betaproteobacteria (97 isolates) and Gammaproteobacteria (87 isolates). The bacterial communities were examined by amplifying 16S rRNA genes from the isolates, and 34 phylotypes with >99% similarities were obtained. Of these phylotypes, 26 (76.5%) were similar to those phylotypes found in bacteria that were previously recorded from cold environments. Five of the phylotypes appeared in the clone library of a previous independent cultivation study, corresponding with 6.5% in the clone library. Our results suggest that cold environments harbor common phylotypes of culturable bacteria, which could possibly lead to a better understanding of bacterial diversity on glaciers in combination with molecular studies.
Segawa, Takahiro; Yoshimura, Yoshitaka; Watanabe, Kenichi; Kanda, Hiroshi; Kohshima, Shiro
The United States Global Fiducial Program is a significant contribution to the time series monitoring and ongoing observations of the Bering Glacier system. The Bering Glacier, in south-central coastal Alaska, is undergoing rapid change largely due to increasing summer air temperatures. These changes to the largest surging glacier in North America (nearly 5000 km2 in area and over 190 km in length), have been documented via satellite remote sensing observations using a suite of electro-optical and microwave systems. The satellite record has documented changes in the terminus location, glacier velocity, snow equilibrium line altitude, snow-versus-ice area, surface elevation and volume change estimates, iceberg production and calving rates, surface albedo, and glacier features, as well as changes in the area of the ice-marginal lakes. Additionally, the satellite remote sensing observations documented the 1994-95 and 2010-11 surges of the Bering Glacier where glacial velocities in excess of 20 m/day were measured. These remote sensing products drive surface-based models of ablation and glacial hydrology where equivalent meltwater and the adiabatic lapse rate are required inputs. The United States Global Fiducials Program is an archive of free publicly available images from U.S. National Imagery Systems (http://gfp.usgs.gov) and represents a long-term periodic record for time series analysis at selected scientifically important sites.
Shuchman, R. A.; Endsley, K.; Jenkins, L. K.; Josberger, E. G.; Molnia, B. F.; Roussi, C.; Bawden, G. W.
An extensive suite of physical oceanographic, remotely sensed, and water quality measurements, collected from 2001 through 2004 in two ice-marginal lakes at Bering Glacier, Alaska-Berg Lake and Vitus Lake-show that each has a unique circulation controlled by their specific physical forcing within the glacial system. Conductivity profiles from Berg Lake, perched 135 m a.s.l., show no salt in the lake, but the temperature profiles indicate an apparently unstable situation, the 4??C density maximum is located at 10 m depth, not at the bottom of the lake (90 m depth). Subglacial discharge from the Steller Glacier into the bottom of the lake must inject a suspended sediment load sufficient to marginally stabilize the water column throughout the lake. In Vitus Lake, terminus positions derived from satellite imagery show that the glacier terminus rapidly retreated from 1995 to the present resulting in a substantial expansion of the volume of Vitus Lake. Conductivity and temperature profiles from the tidally influenced Vitus Lake show a complex four-layer system with diluted (???50%) seawater in the bottom of the lake. This lake has a complex vertical structure that is the result of convection generated by ice melting in salt water, stratification within the lake, and freshwater entering the lake from beneath the glacier and surface runoff. Four consecutive years, from 2001 to 2004, of these observations in Vitus Lake show little change in the deep temperature and salinity conditions, indicating limited deep water renewal. The combination of the lake level measurements with discharge measurements, through a tidal cycle, by an acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) deployed in the Seal River, which drains the entire Bering system, showed a strong tidal influence but no seawater entry into Vitus Lake. The ADCP measurements combined with lake level measurements established a relationship between lake level and discharge, which when integrated over a tidal cycle, gives a tidally averaged discharge ranging from 1310 to 1510 m3 s-1. ?? 2006 Regents of the University of Colorado.
Josberger, E. G.; Shuchman, R. A.; Meadows, G. A.; Savage, S.; Payne, J.
Side-scan sonar and multibeam imagery of Glacier Bay, Alaska, revealed complex iceberg gouge patterns at water depths to 135 m on the floor of Whidbey Passage and south to the bay entrance. These previously undiscovered gouges likely formed more than 100 years ago as the glacier retreated rapidly up Glacier Bay. Gouged areas free of fine sediment supported greater biodiversity of Pacific halibut Hippoglossus stenolepsis than nearby sediment-filled gouges, probably due to increased habitat complexity. Small Pacific halibut were forund more frequently in sediment-free gouged areas, presumably due to higher prey abundance. In contrast, large Pacific halibut were found more frequently on soft substrates such as sediment-filled gouges, where they could bury themselves and ambush prey.
Carlson, P. R.; Hooge, P. N.; Cochrane, G. R.
Glacier Bay provides an excellent example of the tidewater glacier cycle proposed by Austin Post. It has a complete record of an advancing phase, stability, rapid calving and drawdown, lengthy retreat, and then readvance behind protective sediments. Glacier Bay currently consists of numerous discrete glaciers and small isolated icefields, but it recently contained a huge continuous icefield up to 2
R. J. Motyka; C. F. Larsen
Saint Elias Mountains in southern Alaska are located at a structural syntaxis where the coastal thrust and fold belt of the Fairweather plate boundary intersects thrust faults and folds generated by collision of the Yakutat Terrane. The axial trace of this syntaxis extends southeastward out of the Saint Elias Mountains and beneath Malaspina Glacier where it is hidden from view and cannot be mapped using conventional methods. Here we examine the surface morphology and flow patterns of Malaspina Glacier to infer characteristics of the bedrock topography and organization of the syntaxis. Faults and folds beneath the eastern part of the glacier trend northwest and reflect dextral transpression near the terminus of the Fairweather fault system. Those beneath the western part of the glacier trend northeast and accommodate folding and thrust faulting during collision and accretion of the Yakutat Terrane. Mapping the location and geometry of the structural syntaxis provides important constraints on spatial variations in seismicity, fault kinematics, and crustal shortening beneath Malaspina Glacier, as well as the position of the collisional deformation front within the Yakutat Terrane. We also speculate that the geometrical complexity of intersecting faults within the syntaxis formed a barrier to rupture propagation during two regional Mw 8.1 earthquakes in September 1899.
Cotton, Michelle M.; Bruhn, Ronald L.; Sauber, Jeanne; Burgess, Evan; Forster, Richard R.
This August 1941 photograph is of Muir Glacier in Glacier Bay National Monument, Alaska. It shows the lower reaches of Muir Glacier, then a large, tidewater calving valley glacier and its tributary, Riggs Glacier. For nearly two centuries before 1941, Muir Glacier had been retreating. In places, a t...
The author has identified the following significant results. The area of snowcover on 10 individual drainage basins in the North Cascades, Washington, has been determined by use of a semi-automatic radiance threshold technique. The result is a unique record of the changing water storage as snow in these important hydrologic units, the runoff of which is utilized for hydroelectric power, dilution of wastes and heat, support of salmon migration, and irrigation. These data allow a new type of hydrologic modelling to proceed which should permit more accurate forecasts of streamflow. A new technique has been developed for measuring snow-covered area or snowline altitude semi-automatically. This variable contour overlay method permits the snowcover to be matched efficiently to the best fit contour of altitude. The motion of the Yentna Glacier during the concluding phase of its surge was successfully measured by a flicker technique using images of two dates. It appears that displacements as small as 100 to 200 m can be measured. Motion of the Tweedsmuir Glacier in Alaska was measured using ERTS-1 images enlarged to 1:50,000. Changes detected included a shock wave moving down the glacier, the margin expanding, the moraine pattern deforming, and the marginal valley deepening.
Meier, M. F. (principal investigator)
Since the installation of the Alaska Regional Seismic Network in the 1970s, data analysts have noted nontectonic seismic events thought to be related to glacier dynamics. While loose associations with the glaciers of the St. Elias Mountains have been made, no detailed study of the source locations has been undertaken. We performed a two-step investigation surrounding these events, beginning with manual locations that guided an automated detection and event sifting routine. Results from the manual investigation highlight characteristics of the seismic waveforms including single-peaked (narrowband) spectra, emergent onsets, lack of distinct phase arrivals, and a predominant cluster of locations near the calving termini of several neighboring tidewater glaciers. Through these locations, comparison with previous work, analyses of waveform characteristics, frequency-magnitude statistics and temporal patterns in seismicity, we suggest calving as a source for the seismicity. Statistical properties and time series analysis of the event catalog suggest a scale-invariant process that has no single or simple forcing. These results support the idea that calving is often a response to short-lived or localized stress perturbations. Our results demonstrate the utility of passive seismic instrumentation to monitor relative changes in the rate and magnitude of iceberg calving at tidewater glaciers that may be volatile or susceptible to ensuing rapid retreat, especially when existing seismic infrastructure can be used.
O'Neel, Shad R.; Larsen, Christopher F.; Rupert, Natalia; Hansen, Roger
The 1993-1995 surge of Bering Glacier, Alaska, occurred in two distinct phases. Phase 1 of the surge began on the eastern sector in July, 1993 and ended in July, 1994 after a powerful outburst of subglacial meltwater into Tsivat Lake basin on the north side of Weeping Peat Island. Within days, jokulhlaup discharge built a 1.5 km2 delta of ice blocks (25-30 m) buried in outwash. By late October 1994, discharge temporarily shifted to a vent on Weeping Peat Island, where a second smaller outburst dissected the island and built two new sandar. During phase 2, which began in spring 1995 and ended within five months, continuous discharge issued from several vents along the ice front on Weeping Peat Island before returining to the Tsivat Basin. Surge related changes include a five- to six-fold increase in meltwater turbidity; the redirection of supercooled water in two ice-contact lakes; and an increase in the rate of glaciolacustrine sedimentation. US Geological Survey aerial photos by Austin Post show large ice blocks in braided channels indicating excessive subglacial discharge in a similar position adjacent to Weeping Peat Island during the 1966-1967 surge. During the subsequent three decades of retreat, the location of ice-marginal, subglacial discharge vents remained aligned on a linear trend that describes the position of a persistent subglacial conduit system. The presence of a major conduit system, possibly stabilized by subglacial bedrock topography, is suggested by: 1) high-level subglacial meltwater venting along the northern side of Weeping Peat Island during the 1966-1967 surge, 2) persistent low-level discharge between surges, and 3) the recurrence of localizing meltwater outbursts associated with both phases of the 1993-1005 surge.
Fleisher, P. J.; Cadwell, D. H.; Muller, E. H.
This report describes the mineral investigations of specific sites in the Johns Hopkins-Margerie Glacier area. Approximately 17 square miles were mapped, and over 99 rock and placer samples were collected in an effort to determine possible extensions of known mineralization. Several rock samples contained anomalous copper and gold values, and anomalous gold was detected in several placer samples. The area has been found to contain copper, zinc, molybdenum, and gold.
The debate over a coastal migration route for the First Americans revolves around two major points: seafaring technology, and a viable landscape and resource base. Three lake cores from Sanak Island in the western Gulf of Alaska yield the first radiocarbon ages from the continental shelf of the Northeast Pacific and record deglaciation nearly 17 ka BP (thousands of calendar years ago), much earlier than previous estimates based on extrapolated data from other sites outside the coastal corridor in the Gulf of Alaska. Pollen data suggest an arid, terrestrial ecosystem by 16.3 ka BP. Therefore glaciers would not have hindered the movement of humans along the southern edge of the Bering Land Bridge for two millennia before the first well-recognized "New World" archaeological sites were inhabited.
Misarti, Nicole; Finney, Bruce P.; Jordan, James W.; Maschner, Herbert D. G.; Addison, Jason A.; Shapley, Mark D.; Krumhardt, Andrea; Beget, James E.
There are hundreds of glaciers in Kenai Fjords National Park (KEFJ) and Katmai National Park and Preserve (KATM) covering over 2276 sq km of park land (circa 2000). There are two primary glacierized areas in KEFJ -- the Harding Icefield and the Grewingk-Yalik Glacier Complex, and three primary glacierized areas in KATM - the Mt. Douglas area, the Kukak Volcano to Mt. Katmai area and the Mt. Martin area. Most glaciers in these parks terminate on land, though a few terminate in lakes. Only KEFJ has tidewater glaciers, which terminate in the ocean. Glacier mapping and analysis of the change in glacier extent has been accomplished on a decadal scale using satellite imagery, primarily Landsat data from the 1970s, 1980s, and from 2000. Landsat Multispectral Scanner (MSS), Thematic Mapper (TM) and Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) imagery was used to map glacier extent on a park-wide basis. Classification of glacier ice using image processing software, along with extensive manual editing, was employed to create Geographic Information System (GIS) outlines of the glacier extent for each park. Many glaciers that originate in KEFJ but terminate outside the park boundaries were also mapped. Results of the analysis show that there has been a reduction in the amount of glacier ice cover in the two parks over the study period. Our measurements show a reduction of approximately 21 sq km, or -1.5% (from 1986 to 2000), and 76 sq km, or -7.7% (from 1986/87 to 2000), in KEFJ and KATM, respectively. This work represents the first comprehensive study of glaciers of KATM. Issues that complicate the mapping of glacier extent include: debris-cover (moraine and volcanic ash), shadows, clouds, fresh snow, lingering snow from the previous season, and differences in spatial resolution between the MSS and TM or ETM+ sensors. Similar glacier mapping efforts in western Canada estimate mapping errors of 3-4%. Measurements were also collected from a suite of glaciers in KEFJ and KATM detailing terminus positions and rates of recession using datasets including the 15-minute USGS quadrangle maps (1950/1951), Landsat imagery (1986/1987, 2000, 2006) and 2005 Ikonos imagery (KEFJ only).
Giffen, bruce A.; Hall, Dorothy K.; Chien, Janet Y. L.
Glacial outburst floods occur when ice-dammed lakes or other reservoirs on the glacier release large volumes of water usually due to the failure of an ice dam. In 2011 and 2012 these types of floods have occurred at Mendenhall Glacier in Southeast Alaska, 15 km northwest of Juneau. The floods emanated from a lake within a remnant branch of Mendenhall Glacier, called Suicide Basin, and rapidly changed the levels of Mendenhall Lake. Homes on the shore of Mendenhall Lake were threatened by rapidly rising lake levels during such floods. We analyze data from a set of 4 short and broadband period seismometers placed in ice-boreholes in an array on Mendenhall Glacier for a period of 4 months in 2012. We also examine the outburst flood that occurred between July 4th and 8th 2012. We first manually pick icequakes as high-frequency bursts recorded by at least two stations. Next, we use a matched-filter technique to help complete the icequake record by detecting missed events with similar waveforms to those hand-picked events. While high-frequency noise was present during the flooding, the impulsive icequake activity did not appear to be modulated significantly during periods of flooding, suggesting that the flooding does not significantly deform the overlying ice. Impulsive icequake activity appears to show strongly diurnal periodicity, indicating that the icequakes were mainly caused by expansion/contraction of ice during daytime. We also analyze the activity in concert with GPS velocity and meteorological data from the area. By analyzing the temporal and spatial patterns of the events we hope to reveal more about the fundamental processes occurring beneath Mendenhall Glacier.
Morgan, P. M.; Walter, J. I.; Peng, Z.; Amundson, J. M.; Meng, X.
In May 1986, the entrance to Russell Fiord, Alaska, was blocked by the advancing Hubbard Glacier, forming a 34-mile long ice-dammed lake. Runoff to the lake, mainly runoff from melting snow and glacier ice, filled the lake to an elevation of 83 feet above sea level by October 8, when the ice dam failed. The lake level rose at an average rate of 0.6 ft/day, and average daily inflow to the lake was calculated to be 16,500 cu ft/sec. After failure of the ice dam, the water level fell to the former high tide level of Russell Fiord within 24 hours. Average discharge through the breach in the ice dam during a 4-hr period of maximum water level decline is estimated to have been 3.8 million cu ft/sec. The formation and breakout of the lake is expected to be repeated as the Hubbard Glacier continues to advance, though the timing of the phenomenon cannot be predicted with certainty. (USGS)
Seitz, H. R.; Thomas, D. S.; Tomlinson, Bud
Data from remotely sensed Earth observation facilitates the mapping and monitoring of remote regions enabling us to improve our understanding of key areas of the Earth System. In particular, the mapping of changes to these systems as a result of recent climate change is important to help assess and predict the impact of these changes, and the implications for the wider Earth System. One of the best-studied regions for the succession in landscape evolution is Glacier Bay National park (GBNP) in Alaska which has experienced rapid glacial retreat over the last 250 years. This study assesses the potential of aircraft-derived lidar data to map a number of catchments in GBNP for the purpose of studying the biogeochemical cycles and ecosystem change in this region. Three catchments were selected for the study, Ice Valley, Stonefly Creek and Wolf Point, representing a range of between 38-133 years since glacial retreat and therefore providing different levels of vegetation succession and vegetation maturity. The lidar used in this study, an aircraft mounted Riegl LMS-Q240i, operates at 905 nm in the near infrared, scans 30 degrees either side of nadir, and samples 10,000 points per second, resulting in a pixel density of about 1-1.2 points/m with a sample resolution of about 20 cm. On-board waveform processing records alternately records the first and last return from the surface, together with the intensity of the return. The high repetition rate allows the aggregation of data over areas enabling the three-dimensional distribution of the vegetation to be measured, and thus improving the identification of canopy tops. Post-processing of the data is tailored towards the detailed mapping of the riparian system and surrounding environments and in particular, gathering information on the vegetation and potential watershed pathways. Bespoke software is used to extract vegetation cover, slope of ground surface, break in slope etc. This enables regions where the confluence of different surface (and inferred sub-surface) pathways is likely to occur, enabling the targeting of field sites to study the biogeochemical cycling in these remote regions.
Kidd, Chris; Klaar, Megan; Larsen, Chris; Malone, Edward; Milner, Alexander
Like active volcanoes, glaciers are among the most dynamic components of the Earth's solid surface. All of the main surface processes active in these areas have an ability to suddenly remake or "resurface" the landscape, effectively wiping the land clean of vegetation and habitats, and creating new land surface and aqueous niches for life to colonize and develop anew. This biological and geomorphological resurfacing may remove the soil or replace it with inorganic debris layers. The topographical, hydrological, and particle size-frequency characteristics of resurfaced deglaciated landscapes typically create a high density of distinctive, juxtaposed niches where differing plant communities may become established over time. The result is commonly a high floral and faunal diversity and fecundity of life habitats. The new diverse landscape continues to evolve rapidly as ice-cored moraines thaw, lakes drain or fill in with sediment, as fluvial dissection erodes moraine ridges, as deltaic sedimentation shifts, and other processes (coupled with primary succession) take place in rapid sequence. In addition, climate dynamics which may have caused the glaciers to retreat may continue. We will briefly explore two distinctive glacial environments-(1) the maritime Copper River corridor through the Chugach Mountains (Alaska), Allen Glacier, and the river's delta; and (2) Nepal's alpine Khumbu valley and Imja Glacier. We will provide an example showing how ASTER multispectral and stereo-derived elevation data, with some basic field-based constraints and observations, can be used to make automatic maps of certain habitats, including that of the Tibetan snowcock. We will examine geomorphic and climatic domains where plant communities are becoming established in the decades after glacier retreat and how these link to the snowcock habitat and range. Snowcock species have previously been considered to have evolved in close association with glacial and tectonic history of South and Central Asia (B. An et al., 2009, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 50: 526-533; R. Luzhang et al., 2010, Animal Biology 60: 449-465). The new maps and some observations of the snowcock's habits, ecological relationships to other species and landscapes, and physiological limitations support that basic model. Our new data and mapping carries some profound implications for past, present, and future coevolution of these birds and glaciers. Using insights derived from ASTER remote sensing based habitat mapping, we will explore some specific processes that may drive snowcock habitat, population, and genetic dynamics. Although the ecological fabric differs from one region to another, some basic insights from the Himalayan Khumbu valley may be applied to the Chugach Range.
Kargel, J. S.; Leonard, G. J.; Furfaro, R.
The coastal Gulf of Alaska region is experiencing rapid and accelerating changes due to local and regional warming. Predicted high latitude warming may result in rapid recession of glaciers with subsequent changes in river discharge, nutrient fluxes into the rivers, shifts in landscape vegetation cover, and altered CO2 fluxes affecting the regional carbon balance. As glaciers recede an increase in glacier-dominated river discharge and a change in seasonality of the river discharge are expected. Recently deglaciated landscapes will, over time, be occupied by a succession of vegetation cover that are likely to alter the fluxes of carbon both between the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems, and between terrestrial ecosystems and stream and river systems. As the landscape evolves from deglaciated forelands it is expected that there is low to no CO2 fluxes between the atmosphere and the recently deglaciated landscape, as well as dissolved organic and inorganic carbon inputs into rivers and streams. These recently deglaciated landscapes will transition to early successional plant species and on towards mature spruce forests. Each transitional terrestrial ecosystem will have different carbon cycling between the atmosphere, terrestrial, and aquatic systems until the mature spruce forests which is expected to have high carbon uptake and sequestration as well as increased inputs of dissolved organic and inorganic carbon into the rivers and streams. A new research project was initiated in the summer of 2011 focusing on glacier-dominated landscapes within the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in southcentral Alaska with the objective to quantify how the transition from deglaciated forelands to mature spruce forests (a successional sequence) alters the patterns and magnitudes of CO2 exchange, the dissolved carbon inputs from terrestrial to aquatic systems and the extent to which these are manifested due to changes in glacier coverage. We seek to examine present-day carbon cycling along a vegetation successional sequence and plan to use a space-for-time substitution to make predictions about the future evolution of carbon cycling between the atmosphere, terrestrial landscape, and the river and stream systems This year we have established a 30m eddy covariance tower in a mature spruce forest to investigate the magnitude and patterns of carbon exchange between the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystem as well as water sampling from adjacent rivers and streams to analyze for dissolved organic and inorganic carbon fluxes from the forested ecosystem into the river and stream systems. High rates of carbon sequestration into the mature spruce forests indicate that these forests along the glacier-dominated Copper River watershed are important sinks for carbon and may be contributing large amounts of inorganic carbon to the rivers which are transported downstream to and eventually into the marine ecosystem of the Gulf of Alaska.
Zulueta, R. C.; Welker, J. M.; Tomco, P. L.
A landslide block perched on the northern wall of Tidal Inlet, Glacier Bay National Park (Figure 1), has the potential to generate large waves in Tidal Inlet and the western arm of Glacier Bay if it were to fail catastrophically. Landslide-generated waves are a particular concern for cruise ships transiting through Glacier Bay on a daily basis during the summer months. The objective of this study is to estimate the range of wave amplitudes and periods in the western arm of Glacier Bay from a catastrophic landslide in Tidal Inlet. This study draws upon preliminary findings of a field survey by Wieczorek et al. (2003), and evaluates the effects of variations in landslide source parameters on the wave characteristics.
Geist, Eric L.; Jakob, Matthias; Wieczoreck, Gerald F.; Dartnell, Peter
Southern Alaska is a continent-scale region of ongoing crustal deformation within the Pacific-North American plate boundary zone. Glaciers and glacial erosion have dictated patterns of denudation in the orogen over the last approx. 5 My. The orogen comprises three discrete topographic domains from south to north, respectively: (1) the Chugach/St. Elias Range; (2) the Wrangell Mountains; and (3) the eastern Alaska Range. Although present deformation is distributed across the orogen, much of the shortening and uplift are concentrated in the Chugach/St. Elias Range. A systematic increase in topographic wavelength of the range from east to west reflects east-to-west increases in the width of a shallowly-dipping segment of the plate interface, separation of major upper plate structures, and a decrease in the obliquity of plate motion relative to the plate boundary. Mean elevation decays exponentially from approx. 2500 m to approx. 1100 m from east to west, respectively. Topographic control on the present and past distribution of glaciers is indicated by close correspondence along the range between mean elevation and the modern equilibrium line altitude of glaciers (ELA) and differences in the modern ELA, mean annual precipitation and temperature across the range between the windward, southern and leeward, northern flanks. Net, range- scale erosion is the sum of: (1) primary bedrock erosion by glaciers and (2) erosion in areas of the landscape that are ice-marginal and are deglaciated at glacial minima. Oscillations between glacial and interglacial climates controls ice height and distribution, which, in turn, modulates the locus and mode of erosion in the landscape. Mean topography and the mean position of the ELA are coupled because of the competition between rock uplift, which tends to raise the ELA, and enhanced orographic precipitation accompanying mountain building, which tends to lower the ELA. Mean topography is controlled both by the 60 deg latitude and maritime setting of active deformation and by the feedback between shortening and uplift, glacial erosion, and orographic effects on climate accompanying mountain building.
Meigs, Andrew; Sauber, Jeanne
ALWAS is an inexpensive, free-floating, sail-powered or jet-driven water quality measuring and watershed evaluation buoy. It is capable of measuring data points with multiple parameters (depth, temperature, conductivity, salinity, total dissolved solids, dissolved oxygen, pH, oxidation reduction potential, turbidity, chlorophyll-a, blue-green algae, nitrate, ammonium, chloride, latitude/longitude, date, time, speed, and barometric pressure) as rapidly as every 40 seconds. Data is transmitted for real-time viewing and is stored for future retrieval and analysis. The collected data are easily downloaded into geographic databases (ESRI shapefile) and spreadsheet formats. ALWAS uses state-of-the-art sensors to measure water quality parameters and GPS data. Field demonstrations of the ALWAS technology from the Bering Glacier and the North Slope of Alaska will be presented. The ALWAS buoy will also be described as well as ALWAS data sharing, web-based mapping, and decision support tools.
Shuchman, R.; Meadows, G.; Liversedge, L.; Hatt, C.; Vansumeren, H.; Payne, J.
The physical and structural characteristics of instream wood were examined within five streams that represented 200 years of stream development following glacial recession within Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska. Wood characteristics altered with watershed age as terrestrial succession progressed and wood was recruited into the riverine environment. The influence of wood characteristics on the development of geomorphic diversity and hydraulic variability within the streams were assessed using detailed habitat mapping, sediment analysis, and hydraulic assessment using an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler at a number of transects upstream, downstream, and adjacent to wood. Results show that the size, complexity, and orientation of wood accumulations are the main drivers in determining the degree of influence instream wood have on stream geomorphic and hydraulic complexity. Adjacent terrestrial vegetation must be of a sufficient stage of development (in terms of size and maturity) in order to elicit significant hydrogeomorphic changes to benefit aquatic biota such as fish, macroinvertebrates, and plants.
Klaar, Megan J.; Hill, David F.; Maddock, Ian; Milner, Alexander M.
Streamflow data from 35 stations in and near Alaska were analyzed for changes between the cool phase (1947-1976) and the warm phase (1977-2006) of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. Winter, spring, and summer flow changes and maximum annual flow changes were different for glaciated basins (more than 10% glacier-covered area) than for nonglaciated basins, showing the influence of glaciers on historical streamflowchanges. Mean February flows, for example, increased for the median of available stations by 45% for glaciated basins and by 17% for nonglaciated ones.
Hodgkins, Glenn A.
An AGU Chapman Conference on Fast Glacier Flow was held at Whistler Village, Canada, from May 4 to 8, 1986. The timing of the conference seemed particularly propitious because of results of recent observational programs, such as the breakup of the tidewater Columbia Glacier in Alaska, the imbalance of Ice Stream B in Antarctica and the existence of deforming sediment under it, and the surge of Variegated Glacier in Alaska.
Whillans, Ian M.; Harrison, William D.
Horizontal ice motion in the western terminus region of the Matanuska Glacier, AK, was tracked over an 18-day period during June-July 2004. The movement of 23 stakes anchored into the ice was monitored using total station surveying equipment, which was set up over a temporary benchmark on an end moraine. The summer of 2004 was unique in that there was
Monica Z. Bruckner
In July 2012, 200 km of 400 MHz ground-penetrating radar (GPR) profiles were collected across the Juneau Icefield, Alaska. The goal was to determine if spatial accumulation rate variability and winter mass balance estimates could be improved by linking stratigraphic features between yearly-excavated snow pits through GPR. Profiles were collected along the centerline and cross sections of the main branch, northwest, and Southwest branch of the Taku Glacier as well as the Mathes, Llewellyn, and Demorest Glaciers. Over 650 km^2 of area and 1000 m of elevation range were covered during this pilot project linking sixteen snow pits with GPR data across the icefield. The field work was conducted as part of the Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP) with hopes of continuing this method in future years if first year results show promise. As an annually operated field research and education program, JIRP creates a unique opportunity to provide significant future contributions to Alaska mass balance records if the program is continued. Signal penetration reached ? 25 m with maximum depths reached at higher elevations of the icefield. Conversely, minimal penetration occurred in wetter regions at lower elevations, likely caused by volume scattering from free water within the firn and ice. Ice lenses and the annual layer located in mass balance snow pits correlated well with continuous stratigraphy imaged in GPR profiles suggesting that the lenses are relatively uninterrupted across the icefield and that GPR may be an appropriate tool for extrapolating point mass balance pit depths in this part of Alaska. The Northwest and Southwest Branches of the Taku Glacier show a strong stratigraphic thinning gradient, west to east; the main trunk of the Taku Glacier which originates from the Mathes-Llewellyn ice divide showed a similar thinning from the divide to the ELA. The thinning displayed by all three glacier systems matches a typical gradient from accumulation zone to ELA. However, it is also likely that a local influx of accumulation at the higher elevations of the Southwest and Northwest Branches result from their close proximity of the ocean. Beyond mass balance estimates, radar profiles also revealed ablation horizons underlying the annual layer near the ELA. Monitoring the location of this ablation horizon relative to the annual balance reflector may be helpful in quantifying changes in the ELA at the end of each previous melt season. Perched water tables were also imaged in several locations which may be suitable for future hydrological studies focused on delineation of sub-glacial drainage systems and their impact on local glacier dynamics. This is a particularly interesting finding considering the unprecedented recent jokulhlaup of the Mendenhall Glacier and re-routing of the primary water drainage at the Llewellyn Glacier terminus in 2011.
Braddock, S. S.; Boucher, A. L.; Sandler, H. C.; McNeil, C.; Campbell, S. W.; Kreutz, K. J.
Interest in global climate change continues to fuel the search for more sources of quality paleo-climate information in hopes of accurately reconstructing and predicting past and future climates respectively. Ice core records from the Arctic and Antarctic have provided some of the most reliable data for paleo-climate modeling however, the validity of these data and models rely heavily on a number of assumptions regarding ice stratigraphy and glacier structure. Unfortunately, many Arctic valley glaciers are unsuitable for ice core drilling because they exhibit significant melt, ice flow, deformation, and dipping stratigraphy due to their thermal regime and confined flow boundary conditions. Other valley glaciers do exhibit stable accumulation basins with conditions suitable for ice core drilling, however these sites need to be validated through a variety of geophysical and glacio-chemical techniques. A thorough assessment of local meteorological data, snow chemistry, ice flow dynamics, glacier structure, and stratigraphy prior to ice core drilling in a valley glacier is important to determine if the site meets the proper criteria. A glacio-chemical and geophysical reconnaissance of the Kahiltna Glacier on Mount McKinley, Alaska, was performed in 2008 and 2009 to search for an appropriate deep ice core drill location in Central Alaska. Surface velocity measurements from a rapid static GPS survey were coupled with approximately 10 km of 100 MHz GPR profiles to determine surface and subsurface glacier structure and dynamics at a promising drill site near Kahiltna Pass (3078 masl). The GPR profiles reveal a pocket of ice east of Kahiltna Pass with horizontal stratigraphy and 300 meters of ice; based on local accumulation rates and ice flow modeling, this depth of ice likely represents 500 +/- years of climate record. Preliminary geodetic data suggest low velocities (less the 0.1 m/day) at the potential drill site and velocities up to 0.45 m/day 7 km down slope of the drill site. These velocities are comparable to previous velocity measurements recorded on the Kahiltna Glacier. Stratigtraphic complexities do exist in the upper Kahiltna Glacier region; interpretation of these features and their relevance to local ice flow and drill site selection will be discussed.
Campbell, S. W.; Kreutz, K. J.; Wake, C. P.; Osterberg, E. C.; Arcone, S. A.; Volkening, K.; Lurie, M.
Vitus Lake, the ice-marginal basin at the southeastern edge of Bering Glacier, Alaska, U.S.A., is a site of modern, rapid, glacial-marine sedimentation. Rather than being a fresh-water lake, Vitus Lake is a tidally influenced, marine to brackish embayment connected to the Pacific Ocean by an inlet, the Seal River. Vitus Lake consists of five deep bedrock basins, separated by interbasinal highs. Glacial erosion has cut these basins as much as 250 m below sea level. High-resolution seismic reflection surveys conducted in 1991 and 1993 of four of Vitus Lake's basins reveal a complex, variable three-component acoustic stratigraphy. Although not fully sampled, the stratigraphy is inferred to be primarily glacial-marine units of (1) basal contorted and deformed glacial-marine and glacial sediments deposited by basal ice-contact processes and submarine mass-wasting; (2) acoustically well-stratified glacial-marine sediment, which unconformably overlies the basal unit and which grades upward into (3) acoustically transparent or nearly transparent glacial-marine sediment. Maximum thicknesses of conformable glacial-marine sediment exceed 100 m. All of the acoustically transparent and stratified deposits in Vitus Lake are modern in age, having accumulated between 1967 and 1993. The basins where these three-part sequences of "present-day" glacial-marine sediment are accumulating are themselves cut into older sequences of stratified glacial and glacial-marine deposits. These older units outcrop on the islands in Vitus Lake. In 1967, as the result of a major surge, glacier ice completely filled all five basins. Subsequent terminus retreat, which continued through August 1993, exposed these basins, providing new locations for glacial-marine sediment accumulation. A correlation of sediment thicknesses measured from seismic profiles at specific locations within the basins, with the year that each location became ice-free, shows that the sediment accumulation at some locations exceeds 10 m year-1.
Molnia, B. F.; Post, A.; Carlson, P. R.
Understanding interactions between large ships and large whales is important to estimate risks posed to whales by ships. The coastal waters of Alaska are a summer feeding area for humpback whales ( Megaptera novaeangliae) as well as a prominent destination for large cruise ships. Lethal collisions between cruise ships and humpback whales have occurred throughout Alaska, including in Glacier Bay National Park (GBNP). Although the National Park Service (NPS) establishes quotas and operating requirements for cruise ships within GBNP in part to minimize ship-whale collisions, no study has quantified ship-whale interactions in the park or in state waters where ship traffic is unregulated. In 2008 and 2009, an observer was placed on ships during 49 different cruises that included entry into GBNP to record distance and bearing of whales that surfaced within 1 km of the ship's bow. A relative coordinate system was developed in ArcGIS to model the frequency of whale surface events using kernel density. A total of 514 whale surface events were recorded. Although ship-whale interactions were common within GBNP, whales frequently surfaced in front of the bow in waters immediately adjacent to the park (west Icy Strait) where cruise ship traffic is not regulated by the NPS. When ships transited at speeds >13 knots, whales frequently surfaced closer to the ship's midline and ship's bow in contrast to speeds slower than 13 knots. Our findings confirm that ship speed is an effective mitigation measure for protecting whales and should be applied to other areas where ship-whale interactions are common.
Harris, Karin; Gende, Scott M.; Logsdon, Miles G.; Klinger, Terrie
Understanding interactions between large ships and large whales is important to estimate risks posed to whales by ships. The coastal waters of Alaska are a summer feeding area for humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) as well as a prominent destination for large cruise ships. Lethal collisions between cruise ships and humpback whales have occurred throughout Alaska, including in Glacier Bay National Park (GBNP). Although the National Park Service (NPS) establishes quotas and operating requirements for cruise ships within GBNP in part to minimize ship-whale collisions, no study has quantified ship-whale interactions in the park or in state waters where ship traffic is unregulated. In 2008 and 2009, an observer was placed on ships during 49 different cruises that included entry into GBNP to record distance and bearing of whales that surfaced within 1 km of the ship's bow. A relative coordinate system was developed in ArcGIS to model the frequency of whale surface events using kernel density. A total of 514 whale surface events were recorded. Although ship-whale interactions were common within GBNP, whales frequently surfaced in front of the bow in waters immediately adjacent to the park (west Icy Strait) where cruise ship traffic is not regulated by the NPS. When ships transited at speeds >13 knots, whales frequently surfaced closer to the ship's midline and ship's bow in contrast to speeds slower than 13 knots. Our findings confirm that ship speed is an effective mitigation measure for protecting whales and should be applied to other areas where ship-whale interactions are common. PMID:21983996
Harris, Karin; Gende, Scott M; Logsdon, Miles G; Klinger, Terrie
In June 2002, Hubbard Glacier advanced across the entrance to 35-mile-long Russell Fiord creating a glacier-dammed lake. After closure of the ice and moraine dam, runoff from mountain streams and glacial melt caused the level in ?Russell Lake? to rise until it eventually breached the dam on August 14, 2002. Daily mean inflows to the lake during the period of closure were estimated on the basis of lake stage data and the hypsometry of Russell Lake. Inflows were regressed against the daily mean streamflows of nearby Ophir Creek and Situk River to generate an equation for simulating Russell Lake inflow. The regression equation was used to produce 11 years of synthetic daily inflows to Russell Lake for the 1992-2002 water years. A flood-frequency analysis was applied to the peak daily mean inflows for these 11 years of record to generate a 100-year peak daily mean inflow of 235,000 cubic feet per second. Regional-regression equations also were applied to the Russell Lake basin, yielding a 100-year inflow of 157,000 cubic feet per second.
Neal, Edward G.
Bering Glacier lacunas are steep-sided, flat-floored hollows ranging in size from 40 to 60 m wide, 80 to 120 m long, and 35 to 50 m in deep. They are confined within a band of clean ice (1.5 km wide, 5 km long) paralleling the eastern margin of the Bering piedmont lobe. The 1993-1995 surge displaced the lacuna band several kilometers onto the foreland. Specifically significant is the formation of a new band of lacunas 5-6 years later in the same location occupied by the displaced band prior to the surge. Conditions essential to lacuna formation were initiated during the surge as overriding ice was thrust into position across the trend of a subglacial trough, leading to stagnation of ice within the trough. Stagnation combined with saturation at depth altered ice texture and density. Exposure of this ice through normal ablation led to areas of differential ablation and the formation of lacunas.
Fleisher, P. J.
A dramatic iceberg calving from Columbia Glacier in Prince William Sound, Alaska. The iceberg has just broken free from under the water and shot to the surface, spinning towards the ice face. The ice cliff here is about 70 m (229.7 ft) tall. Icebergs are calved as stress fractures in the glacier mer...
The detailed analysis of the shelf stratigraphy along the northern Gulf of Alaska margin has the potential to reveal critical insights into past glacial and climate conditions in this modern temperate glacimarine environment. The shelf stratigraphy in and around the Yakutat Sea Valley is of interest as it can provide insights into the interaction between the Malaspina Glacier and glaciers within Disenchantment Bay, including Hubbard Glacier, during times of glacial expansion along the shelf. The interpretation of seismic facies, depositional environments, submarine landforms, and glacial sequence stratigraphy from the analysis of high-resolution seismic reflection profiles and multibeam bathymetry can be used to generate such insights. Here we put forward a hypothesis that the Malaspina Glacier may be more dominant than Hubbard Glacier in the erosion and deposition of sediment within Yakutat Bay and along the Yakutat Sea Valley during times of ice expansion. This hypothesis is supported by the orientation and distribution of submarine landforms within Yakutat Bay and the seismic stratigraphy of glacial influenced strata in and around the Yakutat Sea Valley. The orientation of approximately 215 meters of seismic strata infilling the sea valley indicates the Malaspina Glacier may be the most significant source of sediment input along the central portion of the Yakutat Sea Valley since the LGM. These strata contain multiple distally thinning wedges of seismically chaotic sediment interbedded within a continuously stratified seismic facies. The wedges of chaotic facies are interpreted to represent sediment deposited at a proximal grounding line position from a source along the northern or northwestern edge of the Yakutat Sea Valley. Sequence stratigraphic analysis of glacimarine deposits adjacent to and below the Yakutat Sea Valley is preliminary and is hindered by abrupt seismic facies changes and ambiguity when defining distinct erosional surfaces from reflection termination patterns. Nonetheless, differences in reflection amplitude and continuity of particular reflections indicate that multiple sequences can be identified and that glacimarine sequences are preserved below the Yakutat Sea- Valley. This preliminary interpretation indicates that there is a potential to constrain the timing of the development of the sea valley, which will provide greater insight into the depositional, glacial, tectonic, and climate history along this part of the Gulf of Alaska shelf.
Willems, B. A.; Powell, R. D.; Gulick, S. P.; Jaeger, J. M.; Elmore, R.
The 1996 measured winter snow, maximum winter snow, net, and annual balances in the Gulkana Glacier Basin were evaluated on the basis of meteorological, hydrological, and glaciological data. Averaged over the glacier, the measured winter snow balance was 0.87 meter on April 18, 1996, 1.1 standard deviation below the long-term average; the maximum winter snow balance, 1.06 meters, was reached on May 28, 1996; and the net balance (from August 30, 1995, to August 24, 1996) was -0.53 meter, 0.53 standard deviation below the long-term average. The annual balance (October 1, 1995, to September 30, 1996) was -0.37 meter. Area-averaged balances were reported using both the 1967 and 1993 area altitude distributions (the numbers previously given in this abstract use the 1993 area altitude distribution). Net balance was about 25 percent less negative using the 1993 area altitude distribution than the 1967 distribution. Annual average air temperature was 0.9 degree Celsius warmer than that recorded with the analog sensor used since 1966. Total precipitation catch for the year was 0.78 meter, 0.8 standard deviations below normal. The annual average wind speed was 3.5 meters per second in the first year of measuring wind speed. Annual runoff averaged 1.50 meters over the basin, 1.0 standard deviation below the long-term average. Glacier-surface altitude and ice-motion changes measured at three index sites document seasonal ice-speed and glacier-thickness changes. Both showed a continuation of a slowing and thinning trend present in the 1990s. The glacier terminus and lower ablation area were defined for 1996 with a handheld Global Positioning System survey of 126 locations spread out over about 4 kilometers on the lower glacier margin. From 1949 to 1996, the terminus retreated about 1,650 meters for an average retreat rate of 35 meters per year.
March, Rod S.
THE UNIT DESCRIBED IN THIS BOOKLET DEALS WITH THE GEOGRAPHY OF ALASKA. THE UNIT IS PRESENTED IN OUTLINE FORM. THE FIRST SECTION DEALS PRINCIPALLY WITH THE PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY OF ALASKA. DISCUSSED ARE (1) THE SIZE, (2) THE MAJOR LAND REGIONS, (3) THE MOUNTAINS, VOLCANOES, GLACIERS, AND RIVERS, (4) THE NATURAL RESOURCES, AND (5) THE CLIMATE. THE…
Louisiana Arts and Science Center, Baton Rouge.
With the exception of a few large colonies, the distribution of ground-nesting marine birds in Glacier Bay National Park in southeastern Alaska is largely unknown. As visitor use increases in back-country areas of the park, there is growing concern over the potential impact of human activities on breeding birds. During the 2003i??05 breeding seasons, the shoreline of Glacier Bay was surveyed to locate ground-nesting marine birds and their nesting areas, including wildlife closures and historical sites for egg collection by Alaska Native peoples. The nesting distribution of four common ground-nesting marine bird species was determined: Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea), Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani), Mew Gull (Larus canus), and Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus glaucescens). Observations of less abundant species also were recorded, including Herring Gull (Larus argentatus), Red-throated Loon (Gavia stellata), Canada Goose (Branta canadensis), Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus), Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus), Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularia), Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla), Parasitic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus), and Aleutian Tern (Sterna aleutica). Nesting distribution for Arctic Terns was largely restricted to the upper arms of the bay and a few treeless islets in the lower bay, whereas Black Oystercatchers were more widely distributed along shorelines in the park. Mew Gulls nested throughout the upper bay in Geikie Inlet and in Fingers and Berg Bays, and most Glaucous-winged Gull nests were found at wildlife closures in the central and lower bays. Several areas were identified where human disturbance could affect breeding birds. This study comprises the first bay-wide survey for the breeding distribution of ground-nesting marine birds in Glacier Bay National Park, providing a minimum estimate of their numbers and distribution within the park. This information can be used to assess future human disturbance and track natural changes in nesting bird distribution over time.
Arimitsu, M. L.; Piatt, J. F.; Romano, M. D.
We assess the glacier mass loss of Wrangell Mountains, a heavily glacierized volcanic range in south central Alaska for the periods 1957 to 2000 and 2000 to 2007. These glaciers have a total area of about 4,700 km2 and an elevation range of about 400 to 5,000 m a.s.l. Airborne laser altimetry profiles acquired on the Wrangell Mountains in 2000 and 2007 and 1957 USGS topographical maps are used to compute area averaged mass balance in this region. Mass balances of the ocean facing and inland facing side are evaluated separately. The area averaged mass balance of the entire mountain range from 1957 to 2000 is estimated to be -0.08±0.02 m /yr ice equivalent and - 0.32±0.015 m/yr ice equivalent from 2000 to 2007. Our results show indications of thickening at elevations above 3000 m a.s.l. in both periods but coverage is incomplete and data are too sparse to be conclusive at these high elevations. Sparse data coverage at high elevations, which are about 40% of the total glacierized area, and USGS map errors, particularly in accumulation areas, are the major sources of mass balance uncertainty. To investigate the plausibility of thickening in the higher reaches of the mountain range, we have used a precipitation model based on the linear theory of orographic precipitation to simulate the orographic enhancement of precipitation across the mountain range. The model uses 12 hourly precipitation and 6 hourly temperature, specific humidity and wind data from ECMWF (European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts), to compute annual and winter precipitation on a 1 km grid over the study area from 1958 to 2001. The model has been validated by weather station data as well as winter mass balance data from two glaciers outside the Wrangell Mountains. We will also present the model-simulated spatial patterns and temporal trends in precipitation over the Wrangell Mountain glaciers during 1958-2001 in relation to our airborne laser altimetry measurements.
Das, I.; Hock, R.; Schuler, T. V.; Larsen, C.; Lingle, C.; Zirnheld, S.
Biological activity on glaciers has been believed to be extremely limited. However, we found various biotic communities specialized to the glacier environment in various part of the world, such as Himalaya, Patagonia and Alaska. Some of these glacier hosted biotic communities including various cold-tolerant insects, annelids and copepods that were living in the glacier by feeding on algae and bacteria growing in the snow and ice. Thus, the glaciers are simple and relatively closed ecosystems sustained by the primary production in the snow and ice. In this presentation, we will briefly introduce glacier ecosystems in Himalaya; ecology and behavior of glacier animals, altitudinal zonation of snow algal communities, and the structure of their habitats in the glacier. Since the microorganisms growing on the glacier surface are stored in the glacial strata every year, ice-core samples contain many layers with these microorganisms. We showed that the snow algae in the ice-core are useful for ice core dating and could be new environmental signals for the studies on past environment using ice cores. These microorganisms in the ice core will be important especially in the studies of ice core from the glaciers of warmer regions, in which chemical and isotopic contents are often heavily disturbed by melt water percolation. Blooms of algae and bacteria on the glacier can reduce the surface albedo and significantly affect the glacier melting. For example, the surface albedo of some Himalayan glaciers was significantly reduced by a large amount of dark-colored biogenic material (cryoconite) derived from snow algae and bacteria. It increased the melting rates of the surfaces by as much as three-fold. Thus, it was suggested that the microbial activity on the glacier could affect the mass balance and fluctuation of the glaciers.
Kohshima, S.; Yoshimura, Y.; Takeuchi, N.; Segawa, T.; Uetake, J.
We present a framework for interpreting small glacier seismic events based on data collected near the center of Bering Glacier, Alaska, in spring 2007. We find extremely high microseismicity rates (as many as tens of events per minute) occurring largely within a few kilometers of the receivers. A high-frequency class of seismicity is distinguished by dominant frequencies of 20–35 Hz and impulsive arrivals. A low-frequency class has dominant frequencies of 6–15 Hz, emergent onsets, and longer, more monotonic codas. A bimodal distribution of 160,000 seismic events over two months demonstrates that the classes represent two distinct populations. This is further supported by the presence of hybrid waveforms that contain elements of both event types. The high-low-hybrid paradigm is well established in volcano seismology and is demonstrated by a comparison to earthquakes from Augustine Volcano. We build on these parallels to suggest that fluid-induced resonance is likely responsible for the low-frequency glacier events and that the hybrid glacier events may be caused by the rush of water into newly opening pathways.
West, Michael E.; Larsen, Christopher F.; Truffer, Martin; O'Neel, Shad; LeBlanc, Laura
Glaciers in Patagonia and Alaska have been losing their mass, and for longer than glaciers elsewhere in the world, according to a 7 December report compiled by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). “Climate change is causing significant mass loss of glaciers in high mountains worldwide,” notes the report, which calls for accelerated research, monitoring, and modeling of glaciers and snow and their role in water supplies. The report “also highlights the vulnerability and exposure of people dependent upon [glacier-fed] rivers to floods, droughts and eventually shortages as a result of changes in the melting and freezing cycles linked with climate change and other pollution impacts,” according to UNEP executive director Achim Steiner. For more information, visit http://www.grida.no/publications/highmountain-glaciers/.
Showstack, Randy; Tretkoff, Ernie
Holocene fluctuations of the three cirque glaciers on the Seward Peninsula and five groups of tidewater- and land-terminating glaciers along the northernmost Gulf of Alaska, provide a proxy record of late Holocene climatic change. Furthermore, the movements of the coastal glaciers were relevant to late Holocene native American migration. The earliest expansion was recorded about 6850yr BP by Hubbard Glacier
Parker E. Calkin; Gregory C. Wiles; David J. Barclay
The 1995 measured winter snow, maximum winter snow, net, and annual balances in the Gulkana Glacier basin were evaluated on the basis of meteorological, hydrological, and glaciological data obtained in the basin. Averaged over the glacier, the measured winter snow balance was 0.94 meter on April 19, 1995, 0.6 standard deviation below the long-term average; the maximum winter snow balance, 0.94 meter, was reached on April 25, 1995; the net balance (from September 18, 1994 to August 29, 1995) was -0.70 meter, 0.76 standard deviation below the long-term average. The annual balance (October 1, 1994, to September 30, 1995) was -0.86 meter. Ice-surface motion and altitude changes measured at three index sites document seasonal ice speed and glacier-thickness changes. Annual stream runoff was 2.05 meters averaged over the basin, approximately equal to the long-term average. The 1976 ice-thickness data are reported from a single site near the highest measurement site (180 meters thick) and from two glacier cross profiles near the mid-glacier (270 meters thick on centerline) and low glacier (150 meters thick on centerline) measurement sites. A new area-altitude distribution determined from 1993 photogrammetry is reported. Area-averaged balances are reported from both the 1967 and 1993 area-altitude distribution so the reader may directly see the effect of the update. Briefly, loss of ablation area between 1967 and 1993 results in a larger weighting being applied to data from the upper glacier site and hence, increases calculated area-averaged balances. The balance increase is of the order of 15 percent for net balance.
March, Rod S.
In this spectacular MODIS image from November 7, 2001, the skies are clear over Alaska, revealing winter's advance. Perhaps the most interesting feature of the image is in its center; in blue against the rugged white backdrop of the Alaska Range, Denali, or Mt. McKinley, casts its massive shadow in the fading daylight. At 20,322 ft (6,194m), Denali is the highest point in North America. South of Denali, Cook Inlet appears flooded with sediment, turning the waters a muddy brown. To the east, where the Chugach Mountains meet the Gulf of Alaska, and to the west, across the Aleutian Range of the Alaska Peninsula, the bright blue and green swirls indicate populations of microscopic marine plants called phytoplankton. Image courtesy Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC
The size structure of the population of the Dungeness crab Cancer magister was studied at six sites in or near Glacier Bay, Alaska, before and after the closure of commercial fishing. Seven years of preclosure and 4 years of postclosure data are presented. After the closure of Glacier Bay to commercial fishing, the number and size of legal-sized male Dungeness crabs increased dramatically at the experimental sites. Female and sublegal-sized male crabs, the portions of the population not directly targeted by commercial fishing, did not increase in size or abundance following the closure. There was not a large shift in the size-abundance distribution of male crabs at the control site that is still open to commercial fishing. Marine protected areas are being widely promoted as effective tools for managing fisheries while simultaneously meeting marine conservation goals and maintaining marine biodiversity. Our data demonstrate that the size of male Dungeness crabs can markedly increase in a marine reserve, which supports the concept that marine reserves could help maintain genetic diversity in Dungeness crabs and other crab species subjected to size-limit fisheries and possibly increase the fertility of females. ?? 2004 by the American Fisheries Society.
Taggart, S. J.; Shirley, T. C.; O'Clair, C. E.; Mondragon, J.
The Border Ranges fault system of southern Alaska, the fundamental break between the arc basement and the forearc accretionary complex, is the boundary between the Peninsular-Alexander-Wrangellia terrane and the Chugach terrane. The fault system separates crystalline rocks of the Alexander terrane from metamorphic rocks of the Chugach terrane in Glacier Bay National Park. Mylonitic rocks in the zone record abundant evidence for dextral strike-slip motion along north-northwest-striking subvertical surfaces. Geochronologic data together with regional correlations of Chugach terrane rocks involved in the deformation constrain this movement between latest Cretaceous and Early Eocene (???50 Ma). These findings are in agreement with studies to the northwest and southeast along the Border Ranges fault system which show dextral strike-slip motion occurring between 58 and 50 Ma. Correlations between Glacier Bay plutons and rocks of similar ages elsewhere along the Border Ranges fault system suggest that as much as 700 km of dextral motion may have been accommodated by this structure. These observations are consistent with oblique convergence of the Kula plate during early Cenozoic and forearc slivering above an ancient subduction zone following late Mesozoic accretion of the Peninsular-Alexander-Wrangellia terrane to North America.
Smart, K. J.; Pavlis, T. L.; Sisson, V. B.; Roeske, S. M.; Snee, L. W.
The 1994 measured winter snow, maximum winter snow, net, and annual balances in the Gulkana Glacier basin were evaluated on the basis of meteorological, hydrological, and glaciological data obtained in the basin. Averaged over the glacier, the measured winter snow balance was 1.34 meters on April 29, 1994, 0.9 standard deviation above the long-term average; the maximum winter snow balance, 1.43 meters, was reached on April 18, 1994; the net balance (from September 8, 1993 to September 17, 1994) was -0.72 meter, 0.7 standard deviation below the long-term average. The annual balance (October 1, 1992, to September 30, 1993) was -0.88 meter. Ice-surface motion and altitude changes measured at three index sites document seasonal ice speed and glacier-thickness changes. Annual stream runoff was 1.93 meters averaged over the basin, approximately equal to the long-term average.
March, Rod S.
The 1992 measured winter snow, maximum winter snow, net, and annual balances in the Gulkana Glacier basin were evaluated on the basis of meteorological, hydrological, and glaciological data measured in the basin and are reported herein. Averaged over the glacier, the measured winter snow balance was 0.97 meters on March 26, 1992; the maximum winter snow balance was 1.05 meters on May 19, 1992; the net balance (from September 8, 1991 to August 17, 1992) was -0.29 meters; and the annual balance (October 1, 1991 to September 30, 1992) was -0.38 meters. Ice surface, motion, and altitude changes measured at three index sites document seasonal changes in ice speed and glacier thickness. Annual stream runoff was 1.24 meters averaged over the basin.
March, R. S.; Trabant, D. C.
Lower elevations are thawing out, while higher mountain ranges are still covered in snow in this MODIS image of Alaska from May 14, 2002. At right, the Aleutian Range falls along Alaska's eastern coastline. At upper right, a thin white line traversing generally south-southwest across the state is the Yukon River, still mostly frozen, although the high-resolution image shows a few dark places along the river's length that could be thawed. Sediment fills the waters along the southwestern coastline, with some blue-green color that could be phytoplankton, as well.
Our poor understanding of tidewater glacier dynamics remains the primary source of uncertainty in sea level rise projections. On the ice sheets, mass lost from tidewater calving exceeds the amount lost from surface melting. In Alaska, the magnitude of calving mass loss remains unconstrained, yet immense calving losses have been observed. With 20% of the global new-water sea level rise coming from Alaska, partitioning of mass loss sources in Alaska is needed to improve sea level rise projections. Here we present the first regionally comprehensive map of glacier flow velocities in Central Alaska. These data reveal that the majority of the regional downstream flux is constrained to only a few coastal glaciers. We find regional calving losses are 17.1?Gt?a-1, which is equivalent to 36% of the total annual mass change throughout Central Alaska.
Burgess, Evan W.; Forster, Richard R.; Larsen, Christopher F.
This ship-deck-based August 1980 photograph of Muir Glacier and Muir Inlet, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, St. Elias Mountains, Alaska, shows the nearly 200-ft-high retreating tidewater end of Muir Glacier with part of its face capped by a few angular pinnacles of ice, called séracs....
As glaciers advance and retreat, they leave erosional surfaces, retreat sequences, morainal banks, and terminal moraines. These features can be imaged and interpreted in seismic reflection data to gain insight into ice routing, ice-sediment processes, and preserved glacial history. High-resolution 2-D multichannel seismic data gathered on the August 2012 UTIG-USGS National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program survey of Disenchantment and Yakutat Bays have provided understanding of the advance pathways of the Hubbard Glacier and the glacial history of the bays. These data show evidence of three unconformities appearing in the form of channels and interpreted to be glacial advance and retreat paths. The youngest observable channel in Disenchantment Bay is ~2 km wide, forming morainal banks along the edges of the bay. The depth below modern sea level in two-way travel time (twtt) shallows from 510 ms in the middle of the bay to 400 ms ~4 km north of the entrance to Yakutat Bay. The sediment contained within the youngest channel measured from the seafloor thins southward from a twtt thickness of 260 ms to 115 ms. Beneath the youngest channel lies an older, 2.2 km-wide channel which is observed at ~580 ms below sea level, and is filled with sediments ranging in thickness from 480 ms to 180 ms at the terminus. This older channel extends from Disenchantment Bay into Yakutat Bay, staying to the northeast of Yakutat Bay, then turns southward at Knight Island and shallows to 450 ms twtt before forming a terminal moraine ~10 km north of the mouth of Yakutat Bay. Evidence for the third and oldest unconformity can only be seen within a very small number of short seismic lines in Disenchantment Bay. It is the largest of the channels, at ~3 km wide and 720 ms below modern sea level. The evidence of three nested unconformities suggests that the Hubbard Glacier has had at least three major advances in recent history. Radiocarbon dating of wooden branches in moraine deposits confirms at least two of these advances to be during the Holocene while the oldest may represent the Last Glacial Maximum. The most recent advance likely reached its terminal position at the mouth of Disenchantment Bay, never entering Yakutat Bay. Our interpretation suggests that the Hubbard Glacier has repeatedly advanced around the east side of Yakutat Bay in Knight Island Channel, possibly due to the presence of Malaspina Glacier cutting off access to the central Yakutat Bay during a time of mutual advance. Within the range of the seismic data available for the area, it seems unlikely that the Hubbard Glacier fills all of Yakutat Bay when it advances.
Zurbuchen, J.; Gulick, S. P.; Levoir, M. A.; Goff, J. A.; Haeussler, P. J.
The 1993 measured winter snow, maximum winter snow, net, and annual balances in the Gulkana Glacier basin were evaluated on the basis of meteorological, hydrological, and glaciological data measured in the basin and are reported herein. Averaged over the glacier, the measured winter snow balance was 0.81 meter on March 31, 1993, 1.2 standard deviations below the long-term average; the maximum winter snow balance, 0.84 meter, was reached on May 10, 1993 and remained until May 11, 1993; the net balance (from August 18, 1992 to September 8, 1993) was 1.80 meters, the most negative balance year on record at 2.8 standard deviations below the long-term average. The annual balance (October 1, 1992 to September 30, 1993) was 1.64 meters. Ice-surface motion and altitude changes measured at three index sites document seasonal ice speed and glacier thickness changes. Annual stream runoff was 1.996 meters averaged over the basin, 0.2 standard deviations above the long-term average.
March, Rod; Trabant, Dennis
Though it's not quite spring, waters in the Gulf of Alaska (right) appear to be blooming with plant life in this true-color MODIS image from March 4, 2002. East of the Alaska Peninsula (bottom center), blue-green swirls surround Kodiak Island. These colors are the result of light reflecting off chlorophyll and other pigments in tiny marine plants called phytoplankton. The bloom extends southward and clear dividing line can be seen west to east, where the bloom disappears over the deeper waters of the Aleutian Trench. North in Cook Inlet, large amounts of red clay sediment are turning the water brown. To the east, more colorful swirls stretch out from Prince William Sound, and may be a mixture of clay sediment from the Copper River and phytoplankton. Arcing across the top left of the image, the snow-covered Brooks Range towers over Alaska's North Slope. Frozen rivers trace white ribbons across the winter landscape. The mighty Yukon River traverses the entire state, beginning at the right edge of the image (a little way down from the top) running all the way over to the Bering Sea, still locked in ice. In the high-resolution image, the circular, snow-filled calderas of two volcanoes are apparent along the Alaska Peninsula. In Bristol Bay (to the west of the Peninsula) and in a couple of the semi-clear areas in the Bering Sea, it appears that there may be an ice algae bloom along the sharp ice edge (see high resolution image for better details). Ground-based observations from the area have revealed that an under-ice bloom often starts as early as February in this region and then seeds the more typical spring bloom later in the season.
Recent work has suggested that high iron supply may contribute to a northward increase in phytoplankton biomass along the U.S. west coast, consistent with “bottom-up” control of these coastal ecosystems. We examine this hypothesis in waters of the Copper River plume and nearby continental shelf in the northern Gulf of Alaska (GoA). These are the first data we know of examining “bottom up” control of this coastal ecosystem by the supply of nitrate and iron. These are also the first data we know of that examine seasonal variability in the mechanisms that supply iron to this region, and in the iron concentrations. High concentrations (several hundred nM) of “total dissolveable” Fe (unfiltered, pH ~2) were present in surface waters spanning the continental shelf in early April 2010, from resuspension of fine glacial flour. Concentrations decreased dramatically beyond the shelf break. This fine particulate matter represents a large source of “dissolved” Fe to these waters. Surface-water nitrate concentrations were fairly uniform (~15 uM) across the entire shelf at this time, due to deep winter mixing. By late July this shelf particulate Fe source is greatly diminished, owing to strong stratification. Yet there is abundant “total dissolveable” Fe (several mM) at this time from the Copper River plume (largest single freshwater source to the GoA) and lower (several hundred nM) concentrations in the AK coastal current (that reflect the cumulative impact of melting glaciers from further south). By late July this abundant supply of iron in the Copper River vicinity, together with strong stratification, lead to complete consumption of surface-water nitrate across the entire shelf (and extending tens of km beyond the shelf). These data are consistent with the idea that high primary productivity in this region is fueled by abundant wintertime surface-water nitrate, together with iron supply from fine, labile, glacier-derived particulate matter from seasonally variable sources.
Crusius, J.; Schroth, A. W.; Campbell, R. W.; Nielsen, J. L.; Hoyer, I. R.; Brooks, W.
Turnagain Arm is a macrotidal fjord-style estuary. Glacier Creek is a small, glacially fed stream which enters the estuary tangentially near Girdwood, Alaska. Trenches and daily sedimentation measurements were made in a mudflat along the fluvio-estuarine transition of Glacier Creek during several summers since 2003. Each year, the flats appear to erode during the winter and then accrete vertically in the spring and summer. In each of the years studied, tidal laminae in vertically thickening and thinning laminae bundles were deposited by twice daily tides in neap-spring tidal cycles. In 2004, bundles of thickening and thinning laminae couplets were noted in trenches cut into the flats. Five laminae bundles alternated between thicker and thinner bundles, corresponding to the perigean (high spring) and apogean (low spring) tides. Well-preserved apogean-perigean cycles have rarely been documented in modern tidal flat sediments. At this location, vertical accretion of tidal rhythmites with well-developed neap-spring cyclicity is possible because of the near-complete removal of the flat from the previous year, which creates accommodation space for vertical accretion without significant reworking. Macrotidal conditions, no reworking by infaunal invertebrates, protection from the main tidal channel by a gravel bar and protection from storm waves and fluvial erosion by a recess in the sedge marsh that surrounds the flats all aid in preservation of rhythmites during aggradation. The position of the flats relative to tidal range allows for accumulation of complete spring cycles and incomplete neap cycles. In the summer of 2004, apogee and perigee were closely aligned with the new and full moons, resulting in successive strong perigee and apogee tides which probably aided in the accumulation of successive thick-thin spring cycles encoding the apogean and perigean tidal cycle. The apogean-perigean signal was not observed in subsequent years. ?? 2011 The Authors.
Greb, S. F.; Archer, A. W.; Deboer, D. G.
In glacier-fed systems climate change may have various effects over a range of time scales, including increasing river discharge, flood frequency and magnitude. This study uses a combination of empirical monitoring and modelling to project the impacts of climate change on the glacial-fed Middle Fork Toklat River, Denali National Park, Alaska. We use a regional calibration of the model HBV to account for a paucity of long term observed flow data, validating a local application using glacial mass balance data and summer flow records. Two Global Climate Models (HADCM3 and CGCM2) and two IPCC scenarios (A2 and B2) are used to ascertain potential changes in meteorological conditions, river discharge, flood frequency and flood magnitude. Using remote sensing methods this study refines existing estimates of glacial recession rates, finding that since 2000, rates have increased from 24m per year to 68.5m per year, with associated increases in ablation zone ice loss. GCM projections indicate that over the 21st century these rates will increase still further, most extensively under the CGCM2 model, and A2 scenarios. Due to greater winter precipitation and ice and snow accumulation, glaciers release increasing meltwater quantities throughout the 21st century. Despite increases in glacial melt, results indicate that it is predominantly precipitation that affects river discharge. Three of the four IPCC scenarios project increases in flood frequency and magnitude, events which were primarily associated with changing precipitation patterns, rather than extreme temperature increases or meltwater release. Results suggest that although increasing temperatures will significantly increase glacial melt and winter baseflow, meltwater alone does not pose a significant flood hazard to the Toklat River catchment. Projected changes in precipitation are the primary concern, both through changing snow volumes available for melt, and more directly through increasing catchment runoff.
Crossman, Jill; Futter, Martyn N.; Whitehead, Paul G.
Glacier length is an important measure of glacier geometry but global glacier inventories are mostly lacking length data. Only recently semi-automated approaches to measure glacier length have been developed and applied regionally. Here we present a first global assessment of glacier length using a fully automated method based on glacier surface slope, distance to the glacier margins and a set of trade-off functions. The method is developed for East Greenland, evaluated for the same area as well as for Alaska, and eventually applied to all ∼200 000 glaciers around the globe. The evaluation highlights accurately calculated glacier length where DEM quality is good (East Greenland) and limited precision on low quality DEMs (parts of Alaska). Measured length of very small glaciers is subject to a certain level of ambiguity. The global calculation shows that only about 1.5% of all glaciers are longer than 10 km with Bering Glacier (Alaska/Canada) being the longest glacier in the world at a length of 196 km. Based on model output we derive global and regional area-length scaling laws. Differences among regional scaling parameters appear to be related to characteristics of topography and glacier mass balance. The present study adds glacier length as a central parameter to global glacier inventories. Global and regional scaling laws might proof beneficial in conceptual glacier models.
Machguth, H.; Huss, M.
Seafloor geology and potential benthic habitats were mapped in Muir Inlet, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska, using multibeam sonar, ground-truth information, and geological interpretations. Muir Inlet is a recently deglaciated fjord that is under the influence of glacial and paraglacial marine processes. High glacially derived sediment and meltwater fluxes, slope instabilities, and variable bathymetry result in a highly dynamic estuarine environment and benthic ecosystem. We characterize the fjord seafloor and potential benthic habitats using the Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS) recently developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NatureServe. Substrates within Muir Inlet are dominated by mud, derived from the high glacial debris flux. Water-column characteristics are derived from a combination of conductivity temperature depth (CTD) measurements and circulation-model results. We also present modern glaciomarine sediment accumulation data from quantitative differential bathymetry. These data show Muir Inlet is divided into two contrasting environments: a dynamic upper fjord and a relatively static lower fjord. The accompanying maps represent the first publicly available high-resolution bathymetric surveys of Muir Inlet. The results of these analyses serve as a test of the CMECS and as a baseline for continued mapping and correlations among seafloor substrate, benthic habitats, and glaciomarine processes.
Trusel, Luke D.; Cochrane, Guy R.; Etherington, Lisa L.; Powell, Ross D.; Mayer, Larry A.
Alaska is the United States' only Arctic region. Its marine, tundra, boreal (northern) forest, and rainforest ecosystems differ from most of those in other states and are relatively intact. Alaska is home to millions of migratory birds, hundred of thousands of caribou, some of the nation's largest salmon runs, a significant proportion of he nation's marine mammals, and half of the nation's fish catch. Energy production is the main driver of the state's economy, providing more than 80% of state government revenue and thousands of jobs. Continuing pressure for oil, gas, and mineral development on land and offshore in ice-covered waters increases the demand for infrastructure, placing additional stresses on ecosystems. Land-based energy exploration will be affected by a shorter season when ice roads are viable, yet reduced sea ice extent may create more opportunity for offshore development. Climate also affects hydropower generation. Mining and fishing are the second and third largest industries in the state, with tourism rapidly increasing the 1990s. Fisheries are vulnerable to changes in fish abundance and distribution that result from both climate change and fishing pressure. Tourism might respond positively to warmer springs and autumns but negatively to less favorable conditions for winter activities and increased summer smoke from wildfire. Alaska is home to 40% (229 of 566) of the federally recognized tribes in the United States. The small number of jobs, high cost of living, and rapid social change make rural, predominantly Native, communities highly vulnerable to climate change through impacts on tradition hunting and fishing and cultural connection to the land and sad. Because most of these communities re not connected to the state's road system or electrical grid, the cost of living is high, and it is challenging to supply good, fuel, materials, health care, and other services. Climate impacts on these communities are magnified by additional social and economic stresses. However, Alaskan Native communities have for centuries dealt with scarcity and high environmental variability and thus have deep cultural reservoirs of flexibility and adaptability.
Chapin, F. Stuart, III; Trainor, Sarah F.; Cochran, Patricia; Huntington, Henry; Markon, Carl; McCammon, Molly; McGuire, A. David; Serreze, Mark
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) operates a long-term "benchmark" glacier program to intensively monitor climate, glacier motion, glacier mass balance, glacier geometry, and stream runoff at a few select sites. The data collected are used to understand glacier-related hydrologic processes and improve the quantitative prediction of water resources, glacier-related hazards, and the consequences of climate change. This page presents some of the balance, runoff, and temperature data for three glaciers: Gulkana, South Cascade and Wolverine. Reports for each of these glaciers uses the collected data to draw many conclusions. There is also a section with common questions and myths about glaciers.
Columbia Glacier is a grounded tidewater glacier located on the south coast of Alaska. It has lost half of its volume during 1957-2007, more rapidly after 1980. It is now split into two branches, known as Main/East and West branch due to the dramatic retreat of ~ 23 km and calving of iceberg from its terminus in past few decades. In Alaska, a majority of the mass loss from glaciers is due to rapid ice flow and calving icebergs into tidewater and lacustrine environments. In addition, submarine melting and change in the frontal position can accelerate the ice flow and calving rate. We use time series of high-resolution TanDEM-X stripmap satellite imagery during 2011-2013. The active image of the bistatic TanDEM-X acquisitions, acquired over 11 or 22 day repeat intervals, are utilized to derive surface velocity fields using SAR intensity offset tracking. Due to the short temporal baselines, the precise orbit control and the high-resolution of the data, the accuracies of the velocity products are high. We observe a pronounce seasonal signal in flow velocities close to the glacier front of East/Main branch of Columbia Glacier. Maximum values at the glacier front reach up to 14 m/day were recorded in May 2012 and 12 m/day in June 2013. Minimum velocities at the glacier front are generally observed in September and October with lowest values below 2 m/day in October 2012. Months in between those dates show corresponding increase or deceleration resulting a kind of sinusoidal annual course of the surface velocity at the glacier front. The seasonal signal is consistently decreasing with the distance from the glacier front. At a distance of 17.5 km from the ice front, velocities are reduced to 2 m/day and almost no seasonal variability can be observed. We attribute these temporal and spatial variability to changes in the basal hydrology and lubrification of the glacier bed. Closure of the basal drainage system in early winter leads to maximum speeds while during a fully developed basal drainage system speeds are at their minimum. We also analyze the variation in conjunction with the prevailing meteorological conditions as well as changes in calving front position in order to exclude other potential influencing factors. In a second step, we also exploit TanDEM-X data to generate various digital elevation models (DEMs) at different time steps. The multi-temporal DEMs are used to estimate the difference in surface elevation and respective ice thickness changes. All TanDEM-X DEMs are well tied with a SPOT reference DEM. Errors are estimated over ice free moraines and rocky areas. The quality of the TanDEM-X DEMs on snow and ice covered areas are further assessed by a comparison to laser scanning data from NASA Icebridge campaigns. The time wise closest TanDEM-X DEMs were compared to the Icebridge tracks from winter and summer surveys in order to judge errors resulting from the radar penetration of the x/band radar signal into snow, ice and firn. The average differences between laser scanning and TanDEM-X in August, 2011 and March, 2012 are observed to be 8.48 m and 14.35 m respectively. Retreat rates of the glacier front are derived manually by digitizing the terminus position. By combining the data sets of ice velocity, ice thickness and the retreat rates at different time steps, we estimate the seasonal variability of the ice discharge of Columbia Glacier.
Vijay, Saurabh; Braun, Matthias
Concerns regarding the issue of climate change and, in particular, the rapid retreat of glaciers around the world, have placed great importance on glacial monitoring. Some of the methods most commonly used to observe glacial change---direct mass balance measurements and remote sensing---provide valuable information about glacier change. However, these methods do not address the englacial and subglacial environments. Surface meltwater that enters englacial and subglacial hydrological networks can contribute to acceleration of ice flow, increased calving on marine-terminating glaciers, surges or outburst floods, and greater overall ablation rates. Because subsurface drainage systems often freeze during the winter and re-form each summer, examining the seasonal evolution of these networks is crucial for assessing the impact that internal drainage may have on the behavior of a glacier each year. The goal of this study is to determine the role englacial and subglacial drainage system evolution plays in influencing summer ablation and discharge at the terminus of Exit Glacier, a small valley glacier located in South-central Alaska. During the summers of 2010 and 2011, we used ground-penetrating radar (GPR) to locate internal drainage features on the lower 100 meters of the glacier. GPR surveys were conducted in June and August of each year in an effort to observe the evolution of the drainage systems over the course of an ablation season. Three antenna frequencies---250, 500, and 800 MHz---were used on a dual frequency GPR so that various resolutions and depths in the ice could be viewed simultaneously. Stream monitoring was conducted to document discharge in the proglacial stream throughout the 2011 season. These data were compared with weather records to differentiate noticeable meltwater releases from precipitation events. Additionally, morphological changes in the glacier were observed through photographic documentation. Throughout the observation period, significant subglacial tunnels appeared, followed by the collapse of terminal ice above the tunnels. This phenomenon was most noticeable in 2011. These observations indicate that the internal drainage systems near the terminus of Exit Glacier became very well-developed each summer, and contributed approximately 75 meters of ice loss between June, 2010 and August, 2011.
Kilgore, Susan Marlena
This short video shows an example of melting alpine glaciers in the Austrian Alps (Goldberg Glacier). Disappearing alpine glaciers have social and environmental impacts, including the decline of fresh water supplies and contributing to sea level rise.
Today, accurate interpretation of paleoclimate records stored in Arctic ice cores requires a modern understanding of how synoptic climate influences water vapor and precipitation isotopes. In order to provide these comparative modern data, continuous water vapor isotopic measurements (?18O, ?D, H2O concentration) were collected from May to August 2013 at Toolik Field Station (Lat. 68°38' N & Long. 149°36' W) in the northern foothills of the Brooks Range in the Alaskan Arctic. Isotopic measurements were collected using a wavelength scanned-cavity ring down spectroscopy analyzer (Picarro L2130-i). Results indicate that diurnal and intraseasonal variations in isotopic composition exhibit relationships with local and synoptic weather conditions. Specifically, air mass back-trajectory analyses suggest that high deuterium excess (?D - 8*?18O), or d-excess, values in atmospheric water vapor are generally associated with air masses of oceanic origin, while low d-excess values appear more related to air masses with continental origins. The range of d-excess values throughout the season was ~70 ‰. The high d-excess values are likely caused by evaporation from the ocean surface, while the lower d-excess values appear to be influenced by transportation of air masses across relatively low humidity land environments. This modern understanding of moisture source effects on d-excess values is being applied to down-core reanalysis of the isotope records preserved in the McCall Glacier in the Brooks Range (~160 kilometers from Toolik Field Station) to elucidate the details of past climates in Arctic Alaska.
Klein, E. S.; Nolan, M.; Young, J.; Cherry, J. E.; Welker, J. M.
Chemical denudation rates and strontium isotope ratios in streams vary substantially and systematically in the foreland of the retreating Bench Glacier in south-central Alaska. To study weathering of young glacier sediments, we sampled 12 streams draining a chronosequence of till and moraine soils derived from Cretaceous metagraywacke–metapelite bedrock. Both sediment age and vegetation cover increase with distance from the glacier.
Suzanne Prestrud Anderson; James I Drever; Carol D Frost; Pete Holden
The marine sedimentary record of Miocene to Pleistocene tectonics and glaciation is well preserved along the southern Alaska convergent margin. This margin is well suited for linking proximal to distal sediment transport processes because sediment is being generated by glacial erosion in the highest coastal mountain range on earth and subsequently being transported to the Aleutian subduction zone. We will discuss the sedimentary record from two end members of this system: (1) the proximal marine record now exposed onshore in the high peaks of the coastal ranges, and (2) the offshore distal record preserved in the Surveyor submarine fan system that was cored during the 2013 IODP Expedition 341. Onshore the Miocene non-glacial strata are represented by the Poul Creek Fm. This unit is 2000 m thick and in its upper part consists of mudstone, thin sandstone beds (10-30 cm thick), and thick bedded (1-2 m) highly bioturbated green sandstone beds that contain hummocky stratification. We interpret this unit as being deposited mainly in marine shelf environments. A gradational contact between the Poul Creek and the overlying upper Miocene-Pleistocene Yakataga Formation is marked by a transition to mudstone, thick bedded sandstone and glacial diamictite. This transition to glacial dominated deposition is interpreted to have occurred around 5 Ma based on previous studies. The onshore glacimarine strata are 5 km thick and grade up section from submarine fan to marine shelf strata. In the distal submarine fan record at IODP Site U1417, the upper Miocene strata in the lower part of the Site consist of 340 m of highly bioturbated gray to green mud interbedded with coarse sand and sandy diamict. These coarse-grained units are lithic rich with mainly sedimentary, volcanic, and coal clasts. We interpret these units as being derived from coal-bearing sedimentary strata exposed in the onshore thrust belt. These facies are interbedded with diatom ooze; we interpret this combination of facies as representing deposition of coarse-grained detritus originating from sedimentary gravity flows followed by longer periods of hemipelagic deposition. The first clear record of glacial sediment input in the distal submarine fan environment is late Pliocene - early Pleistocene muddy diamict beds that probably are the products of ice-rafting. This unit is about 30 m in thickness. The overlying 260 m of the core are mainly dark gray mud with thin beds of volcanic ash and sand/silt beds. Lonestones are common and are mainly argillite and metasiltstone clasts suggesting at least a component of sediment derivation from onshore metamorphosed parts of the Mesozoic accretionary prism. In general, the overall Neogene sedimentary record in both the proximal and distal marine settings appears to be similar but requires a sediment link between the proximal strata deposited on the Yakutat microplate and the Surveyor fan system deposited on the Pacific Plate.
Ridgway, K. D.; Bahlburg, H.; Childress, L. B.; Cowan, E. A.; Forwick, M.; Moy, C. M.; Müller, J.; Ribeiro, F.; Gupta, S.; Gulick, S. P.; Jaeger, J. M.
Sediment entrainment by glaciohydraulic supercooling has recently been demonstrated as an effective process at Matanuska glacier, Alaska. Although subfreezing meltwater temperatures have been recorded at several Alaskan glaciers, the link between supercooling and sediment accretion remains confined to Matanuska. This study presents evidence of glaciohydraulic supercooling and associated basal ice formation from five Icelandic glaciers: Skeidarárjökull, Skaftafellsjökull, Kvíárjökull, Flaájökull, and Hoffellsjökull. These observations provide the best example to-date of glaciohydraulic supercooling and related sediment accretion outside Alaska. Fieldwork undertaken in March, July and August 2001 confirmed that giant terraces of frazil ice, diagnostic of the presence of supercooled water, are forming around subglacial artesian vents. Frazil flocs retrieved from these vents contained localised sandy nodules at ice crystal boundaries. During periods of high discharge, sediment-laden frazil flocs adhere to the inner walls of vents, and continue to trap suspended sediment. Bands of debris-rich frazil ice, representing former vents, are texturally similar to basal ice exposures at the glacier margins, implying a process-form relationship between glaciohydraulic freeze-on and basal ice formation. It is hypothesised that glaciohydraulic supercooling is generating thick sequences of basal ice. Observations also confirm that in situ melting of basal ice creates thick sedimentary sequences, as sediment structures present in the basal ice can be clearly traced into ice-marginal ridges. Glaciohydraulic supercooling is an effective sediment entrainment mechanism at Icelandic glaciers. Supercooling has the capacity to generate thick sequences of basal ice and the sediments present in basal ice can be preserved. These findings are incompatible with established theories of intraglacial sediment entrainment and basal ice formation; instead, they concur with, and extend, the current model of Matanuska-type glaciohydraulic supercooling. This work adds a new dimension to the understanding of debris entrainment in temperate glaciers.
Knudsen, O.; Roberts, M. J.; Roberts, M. J.; Tweed, F. S.; Russell, A. J.; Lawson, D. E.; Larson, G. J.; Evenson, E. B.; Bjornsson, H.
Biological activity on glaciers has been believed to be extremely limited. However, we found various biotic communities specialized to the glacier environment in various part of the world, such as Himalaya, Patagonia and Alaska. Some of these glacier hosted biotic communities including various cold-tolerant insects, annelids and copepods that were living in the glacier by feeding on algae and bacteria growing in the snow and ice. Thus, the glaciers are simple and relatively closed ecosystems sustained by the primary production in the snow and ice. Since these microorganisms growing on the glacier surface are stored in the glacial strata every year, ice-core samples contain many layers with these microorganisms. Recently, it was shown that the snow algae in the ice-core are useful for ice core dating and could be new environmental signals for the studies on past_@environment using ice cores. These microorganisms in the ice core will be important especially in the studies of ice core from the glaciers of warmer regions, in which chemical and isotopic contents are often heavily disturbed by melt water percolation. Blooms of algae and bacteria on the glacier can reduce the surface albedo and significantly affect the glacier melting. For example, the surface albedo of some Himalayan glaciers was significantly reduced by a large amount of dark-colored biogenic material (cryoconite) derived from snow algae and bacteria. It increased the melting rates of the surfaces by as much as three-fold. Thus, it was suggested that the microbial activity on the glacier could affect the mass balance and fluctuation of the glaciers.
Kohshima, S.; Yoshimura, Y.; Takeuchi, N.; Segawa, T.; Uetake, J.
A project to learn about ice cores and Antarctica. Use handout lab (Webquest: Glaciers) and follow instructions given for each procedure. Go to Ice Core Changes Go to Glacial Loss Go to Glacial Cover Animation Go to Snow Cover Go to Gulkana Glacier Home Page Go to Glacial Topography Go to Glacial Picture Archive Go to Additional Glacier Pictures ...
The response of glaciers to changing climate is explored with an atmosphere\\/glacier hierarchical modeling approach, in which global simulations are downscaled with an Arctic MM5 regional model which provides temperature and precipitation inputs to a glacier mass-balance model. Themass balances of Hubbardand BeringGlaciers, south-central Alaska, USA, aresimulated for October 1994-September 2004. The comparisons of the mass-balance simulations using dynamically-downscaled vs
Jing Zhang; Uma S. Bhatt; Wendell V. Tangborn; Craig S. Lingle
West of British Columbia, Canada, and south of the Yukon Territory, the southeastern coastline of Alaska trails off into the islands of the Alexander Archipelago. The area is rugged and contains many long, U-shaped, glaciated valleys, many of which terminate at tidewater. The Alexander Archipelago is home to Glacier Bay National Park. The large bay that has two forks on its northern end is Glacier Bay itself. The eastern fork is Muir inlet, into which runs the Muir glacier, named for the famous Scottish-born naturalist John Muir. Glacier Bay opens up into the Icy Strait. The large, solid white area to the west is Brady Icefield, which terminates at the southern end in Brady's Glacier. To locate more interesting features from Glacier Bay National Park, take a look at the park service map. As recently as two hundred years ago, a massive ice field extended into Icy Strait and filled the Glacier Bay. Since that time, the area has experienced rapid deglaciation, with many large glaciers retreating 40, 60, even 80 km. While temperatures have increased in the region, it is still unclear whether the rapid recession is part of the natural cycle of tidewater glaciers or is an indicator of longer-term climate change. For more on Glacier Bay and climate change, read an online paper by Dr. Dorothy Hall, a MODIS Associate Science Team Member. Credit: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC
Researchers studying southern Alaska's Variegated Glacier believe they have found an explanation for why the 24-km-long ice mass, like other "surging" glaciers, periodically speeds up in its movement down valley. The surges, they propose, have to do with increases in water pressure beneath the glacier— the result of inhibited drainage at the base of the ice—that cause it to become more slippery and to flow faster.The Variegated Glacier, located northwest of Juneau near the village of Yakutat, is small among surging glaciers, but it has been one of the most extensively studied in this century. Every 18-20 years, it begins to accelerate its flow rate. The last time such a surge began was in January 1982. The glacier reached a peak velocity of 9 m per day by summertime, then returned to near normal flow rates of 1-2 m per day by early fall. It started up again in November 1982, however, and by the next spring was speeding along at 54 m per day. Then, in early July 1983, the surge stopped abruptly when large amounts of water drained out of the glacier.
On the morning of May 23, 2000, while the Netherlands-registered passenger ship Nieuw Amsterdam was en route to Glacier National Park with 1,169 passengers and 542 crewmembers on board, a fire broke out in a crew cabin. A premature effort to extinguish th...
The seasonal advance and retreat of tidewater glaciers is a relatively well-documented phenomenon. But our understanding of the processes and conditions within the ice-marginal submarine environment that drive or result from this activity is limited. Capturing holistic information within this environment such as bathymetric topography, hydrographic measurements and geospatial information about the terminus itself is often limited to discrete measurements
D. C. Finnegan; D. E. Lawson; W. Butler; T. Waller; T. Pratt
About 30 percent of the 175,000-km2 area of southeastern Alaska is underlain by intrusive igneous rocks. Compilation of available information on the distribution, composition, and ages of these rocks indicates the presence of six major and six minor plutonic belts. From west to east, the major belts are: the Fairweather-Baranof belt of early to mid-Tertiary granodiorite; the Muir-Chichagof belt of mid-Cretaceous tonalite and granodiorite; the Admiralty-Revillagigedo belt of porphyritic granodiorite, quartz diorite, and diorite of probable Cretaceous age; the Klukwan-Duke belt of concentrically zoned or Alaskan-type ultramafic-mafic plutons of mid-Cretaceous age within the Admiralty-Revillagigedo belt; the Coast Plutonic Complex sill belt of tonalite of unknown, but perhaps mid-Cretaceous, age; and the Coast Plutonic Complex belt I of early to mid-Tertiary granodiorite and quartz monzonite. The minor belts are distributed as follows: the Glacier Bay belt of Cretaceous and(or) Tertiary granodiorite, tonalite, and quartz diorite lies within the Fair-weather-Baranof belt; layered gabbro complexes of inferred mid-Tertiary age lie within and are probably related to the Fairweather-Baranof belt; the Chilkat-Chichagof belt of Jurassic granodiorite and tonalite lies within the Muir-Chichagof belt; the Sitkoh Bay alkaline, the Kendrick Bay pyroxenite to quartz monzonite, and the Annette and Cape Fox trondhjemite plutons, all interpreted to be of Ordovician(?) age, together form the crude southern southeastern Alaska belt within the Muir-Chichagof belt; the Kuiu-Etolin mid-Tertiary belt of volcanic and plutonic rocks extends from the Muir-Chichagof belt eastward into the Admiralty-Revillagigedo belt; and the Behm Canal belt of mid- to late Tertiary granite lies within and next to Coast Plutonic Complex belt II. In addition, scattered mafic-ultramafic bodies occur within the Fairweather-Baranof, Muir-Chichagof, and Coast Plutonic Complex belts I and II. Palinspastic reconstruction of 200 km of right-lateral movement on the Chatham Strait fault does not significantly change the pattern of the major belts but does bring parts of the minor mid-Tertiary and Ordovician(?) belts closer together. The major belts are related to the stratigraphic-tectonic terranes of Berg, Jones, and Coney (1978) as follows: the Fairweather-Baranof belt is largely in the Chugach, Wrangell (Wrangellia), and Alexander terranes; the Muir-Chichagof belt is in the Alexander and Wrangell terranes; the Admiralty-Revillagigedo belt is in the Gravina and Taku terranes; the Klukwan-Duke belt is in the Gravina, Taku, and Alexander terranes; the Coast Plutonic Complex sill belt is probably between the Taku and Tracy Arm terranes; and the Coast Plutonic Complex belts I and II are in the Tracy Arm and Stikine terranes. Significant metallic-mineral deposits are spatially related to certain of these belts, and some deposits may be genetically related. Gold, copper, and molybdenum occurrences may be related to granodiorites of the Fairweather-Baranof belt. Magmatic copper-nickel deposits occur in the layered gabbro within that belt. The Juneau gold belt, which contains gold, silver, copper, lead, and zinc occurrences, parallels and lies close to the Coast Plutonic Complex sill belt; iron deposits occur in the Klukwan-Duke belt; and porphyry molybdenum deposits occur in the Behm Canal belt. The Muir-Chichagof belt of mid-Cretaceous age and the Admiralty-Revillagigedo belt of probable Cretaceous age are currently interpreted as possible magmatic arcs associated with subduction events. In general, the other belts of intrusive rocks are spatially related to structural discontinuities, but genetic relations, if any, are not yet known. The Coast Plutonic Complex sill belt is probably related to a post-Triassic, pre-early Tertiary suture zone that nearly corresponds to the boundary between the Tracy Arm and Taku terranes. The boundary between the Admiralty-Revillagigedo and Muir-Chichagof belts coincides nearly with the Seymour Canal-Clarence Strait lineament and also is probably a
Brew, David A.; Morrell, Robert P.
This video from a 2005 NOVA program features scientists who study how the Jakobshavn Isbrae glacier in western Greenland is shrinking and moving faster due to increased melting over the past ten years. The video includes footage of scientists in the field explaining methods and animation of ice sheet dynamics leading to faster glacier movement.
A comprehensive Atlas of Alaska marine ice is presented. It includes information on pack and landfast sea ice and calving tidewater glacier ice. It also gives information on ice and related environmental conditions collected over several years time and indicates the normal and extreme conditions that might be expected in Alaska coastal waters. Much of the information on ice conditions in Alaska coastal waters has emanated from research activities in outer continental shelf regions under assessment for oil and gas exploration and development potential. (DMC)
LaBelle, J.C.; Wise, J.L.; Voelker, R.P.; Schulze, R.H.; Wohl, G.M.
Ice flow acceleration has played a crucial role in the rapid retreat of calving glaciers in Alaska, Greenland and Antarctica. Glaciers that calve in water flow much faster than those that terminate on land, as a result of enhanced basal ice motion where basal water pressure is high. However, a scarcity of subglacial observations in calving glaciers limits a mechanistic
Shin Sugiyama; Pedro Skvarca; Nozomu Naito; Hiroyuki Enomoto; Shun Tsutaki; Kenta Tone; Sebastián Marinsek; Masamu Aniya
Between 1999 and 2007, we conducted a series of geophysical experiments on Bench Glacier in the Chugach Range of southeast Alaska. Objectives of the experiments include measuring 1) the distribution of water in the snow pack, 2) water storage and routing within the glacier, and 3) the geometry of flow paths at the bed of the glacier. To accomplish these
J. H. Bradford; W. Clement; J. Nichols; J. Brown; D. Mikesell; J. Harper; N. Humphrey; T. Tschetter
The concept of glacier facies developed as a result of physical measurements made in Greenland on repeated traverses that went inland from the west coast at two latitudes (77 N and 70 N) and north to south along the crest of the ice sheet. Snow pits and shallow cores showed discontinuities in physical characteristics that defined the facies boundaries. Some refinement have resulted from research in Antarctica and on Alaskan mountain glaciers. Thirty years after the facies were defined, based on field measurements, it was found that radar data (SAR) from satellites show the boundary between the percolation and dry snow facies in Greenland. They also show the percolation facies of the Greenland ice sheet to be the brightest radar reflector on earth. The dry snow facies is rare except on the major ice sheets (Greenland and Antarctica), but it is present on mountains that exceed 4000 m in Alaska and the Yukon. In particular, Mt. Wrangell, Alaska was selected for continued study of glacier facies because it has a large and accessible area above 4000 m. Mt. Wrangell has proven to have the full spectrum of glacier facies, and these can be seen on the SAR map of Alaska. Refinements in the definition of the lower end of the wet snow facies, to deal with a slush zone and a superimposed ice zone, resulted from Fritz Mueller's research on Axel Heiberg Island and from studies on the McCall Glacier of Alaska. Minor refinements in defining the dry snow facies resulted from comparing Antarctica and Greenland in places where mean annual temperature and accumulation rates were essentially equal. The glacier facies concept also provides a way of comparing the two polar regions and of speculating on the glacier facies that existed on the Pleistocene continental ice sheets.
Benson, C. S.
Portage, Whittier, Eklutna, as well as many other well-known "tourism glaciers" in the vicinity of Anchorage, Alaska are known to have retreated in the past 20 years. This begs the question, "what of the other lesser-known glaciers? Do they follow the same patterns and minimal glacier models?" Glaciers such as Byron, Leonard, Matanuska, Raven and Spencer may fit a minimal model. Information on Byron and Leonard is sparse, as both have become hanging glaciers. Other glaciers, such as Raven, are small enough to be deemed insignificant, yet may have information to give. Consequently our objective is to study five Alaskan glaciers and determine wide-ranging variability to changing regional climate. To do this we obtained field geo-location data and characterized glaciers based on the satellite imagery and climate reevaluation. Our result shows that glaciers are retreating and thinning irrespective of their aspects, location and altitudinal variability. Moreover, our presentation establishes the strong climate-glacier relationship and defines retreating snowline patterns over the last few decades.
Mazur, E. M.
Glacier ecosystems are a significant source of bioavailable, yet ancient dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Characterizing DOC in Mendenhall Glacier outflow (southeast Alaska) we document a seasonal persistence to the radiocarbon-depleted signature of DOC, highlighting ancient DOC as a ubiquitous feature of glacier outflow. We observed no systematic depletion in ? 14C-DOC with increasing discharge during the melt season that would suggest mobilization of an aged subglacial carbon store. However, DOC concentration, ? 13C-DOC, ? 14C-DOC and fluorescence signatures appear to have been influenced by runoff from vegetated hillslopes above the glacier during onset and senescence of melt. In the peak glacier melt period, the ? 14C-DOC of stream samples at the outflow (?181.7 to ?355.3‰) was comparable to the ? 14C-DOC for snow samples from the accumulation zone (?207.2 to ?390.9‰), suggesting that ancient DOC from the glacier surface is exported in glacier runoff. The pre-aged DOC in glacier snow and runoff is consistent with contributions from fossil fuel combustion sources similar to those documented previously in ice cores and thus provides evidence for anthropogenic perturbation of the carbon cycle. Overall, our results emphasize the need to further characterize DOC inputs to glacier ecosystems, particularly in light of predicted changes in glacier mass and runoff in the coming century.
Spencer, Robert G. M.; Vermilyea, Andrew; Fellman, Jason; Raymond, Peter; Stubbins, Aron; Scott, Durelle; Hood, Eran
Glacier length is an important, but largely missing parameter in digital glacier inventories as it has to be digitized by hand (with the related variability). Length changes of glaciers are key indicators of climate change, but can only be measured in the field for a few hundred selected glaciers globally. Its vector representation (a central flow line) is a most important input for modelling future glacier evolution, but only seldom available from digital databases. Hence, there is an urgent need to generate such flow lines for a large number of glaciers from automated methods. The study describes a new method to automatically create central flowlines of glaciers along with an application to a study site where its suitability to automatically derive changes in glacier length is demonstrated. Our new method will likely strongly facilitate the number of available data on both issues (length values and changes) and thus help to improve the assessment and modelling of climate change impacts on glaciers. This new algorithm is based on Python scripting and additional libraries (GDAL / OGR) and requires only a DEM and glacier outlines as an input. The core of the method is based on a glacier axis concept that is combined with geometry rules such as the k-d Tree, Nearest Neighbour and crossing test theory. We have applied the method to 400 glaciers located in Western Alaska, where a new glacier inventory was recently created. The accuracy of the method was assessed by a quantitative and qualitative (outline overlay) comparison with a manually digitized data set for 20 glaciers. This comparison revealed for 17 out of the 20 glaciers a length value that is within the range of the manual digitizations. Other potential methods to determined glacier length performed less good. Combined with previous glacier outlines from the same region we determined and analysed length changes for 390 glaciers over a c. 50 year period.
Le Bris, R.; Paul, F.
Muir Inlet is in the northeast part of Glacier Bay National Monument in Southeastern Alaska, about 135 kilometers northeast of Juneau. Muir Inlet is part of a large dendritic glacial valley system that has three tidal glaciers. It is flanked on the east, ...
G. M. Haselton
The report is a baseline description of resource use in the Dry Bay area, which in 1981 became Glacier Bay National Preserve. The study involved the joint cooperation of the NPS and the Subsistence Division of the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game. The main p...
Due to the potential disastrous consequences to the environment and to numerous societies, scientists, governments, and civilians are concerned with the growing trend of glacial melt. This topic-in-depth explores various geographic regions where this phenomenon has recently been observed. Providing background into the study of glaciology, this report begins with a Web site (1) discussing the unique features of glaciers. The US Army Corps of Engineers offers visitors an insight to glacial properties including their locations, movements, and influences; along with a series educational images. The second site (2) explains the exceptionality of the two hundred sixty six glaciers at Glacier National Park. Through a collection of images, animations, and pictures provided by the National Park Service, users can learn about ice dams, climatic impacts, and the erosive powers of ice and water. The rest of the topic-in-depth discusses findings of glacial melting from around the world. NASA (3) addresses the Artic warming's affects on glacier formations. This Web site provides a few animations displaying ice sheet extent and the cracking of icebergs. On a positive note, visitors can learn how the decrease in glaciers has opened up new habitat for some Artic species. The next Web site (4), also by NASA, discusses the findings of a twenty-five year study of Patagonia's glaciers. Educators and students can discover how NASA utilized the Space Shuttle Endeavor to study the entire 17,200 square kilometer region. The site also discusses potential causes of the melting in this region, which has contributed to almost ten percent of the global sea-level change from mountain glaciers. As reported by the BBC (5), Dr. Harrison at the University of Oxford has determined that the glaciers in parts of Kazakhstan have been decreasing annually by almost two cubic kilometers between 1955 and 2000. Visitors can learn how the melting of these four hundred sixteen glaciers will adversely affect the region's rivers and its water supply. The Taipei Times (6) reports that the Swiss Alpine glacial melting has probably intensified due to this summer's record-breaking heat wave. This Web site provides short, intriguing descriptions of consequences of the "rush of melt water streaming from the ice wall." Users can learn about predictions in the 1990s that the glaciers would shrink to ten percent of their 1850 size by the end of the twenty first century. In the next Web site (7), the BBC provides a captivating illustration of the effects the Peruvian glacial melts may have on tourism, the country's water supply, and more. Students and educators can learn about NASA studies showing cracks in the ice, which could lead to the flooding of large cities. Visitors can also find out how the recent glacier recessions have affected some ancient spiritual traditions. The last site, by the USGS, (8) features excerpts from Myrna Hall and Daniel Fagre's 2003 research paper in BioScience. Visitors can discover the melt rate and spatial distributions of glaciers for two possible future climate situations. Providing an amazing animation, users will be amazed by the changes predicted by the model.
Perennial bodies of ice in the North Cascades having areas of at least 0.1 km2 (square kilometer) are tabulated and classified. The inventory, a contribution to the International Hydrological Decade, includes 756 glaciers, covering 267 km2, about half of the glacier area in the United States south of Alaska. Listings include each glacier's location, drainage basin, area, length, orientation, altitude, and classification as to form, source, surface, nature of terminus, and activity. These glaciers contribute annually about 800 million cubic meters of water to streamflow in the State of Washington.
Post, Austin; Richardson, Don; Tangborn, Wendell V.; Rosselot, F. L.
This reference guide provides a brief review of glaciers in the Northeastern U.S. It then focuses on the glacial affects in four areas, an inland basin near the Finger Lakes area of New York, the Appalachian/Piedmont through New York and Pennsylvania, the coastal plain and the exotic terrane of New England. Topics covered include glacial scouring, glacial deposits and periglacial features.
We examine long-term streamflow and mass balance data from two Alaskan glaciers located in climatically distinct basins: Gulkana Glacier, a continental glacier located in the Alaska Range, and Wolverine Glacier, a maritime glacier located in the Kenai Mountains. Both glaciers lost mass, primarily as a result of summer warming, and both basins exhibit increasing streamflow over the 1966-2011 study interval. We estimated total glacier runoff via summer mass balance, and separated the fraction related to annual mass imbalances. In both climates, the fraction of streamflow related to annual mass balance averages less than 20%, substantially smaller than the fraction related to total summer mass loss (>50%), which occurs even in years of glacier growth. The streamflow fraction related to changes in annual mass balance has increased only in the continental environment. In the maritime climate, where deep winter snowpacks and frequent rain events drive consistently high runoff, the magnitude of this streamflow fraction is small and highly variable, precluding detection of any existing trend. Changes in streamflow related to annual balance are often masked by interannual variability of maritime glacier mass balance, such that predicted scenarios of continued glacier recession are more likely to impact the quality and timing of runoff than the total basin water yield.
Oneel, S.; Hood, E. W.; Arendt, A. A.; Sass, L. C.; March, R. S.
Rapid disintegration and thinning of Glacier Bay's tidewater glaciers and ice fields followed the end of the Little Ice Age. Geodetic studies by Larsen et al. have quantified average rates of post-glacial isostatic rebound (PGR) in the vicinity of Glacier Bay in Southeast Alaska. PGR continues today with maximum uplift rates of 30 mm\\/yr in Glacier Bay's upper West Arm
A. M. Kaufman; J. T. Freymueller; S. Miura; R. S. Cross; T. Sato; W. Sun; H. Fujimoto
This activity engages learners in examining data pertaining to the disappearing glaciers in Glacier National Park. After calculating percentage change of the number of glaciers from 1850 (150) to 1968 (50) and 2009 (26), students move on to the main glacier-monitoring content of the module--area vs. time data for the Grinnell Glacier, one of 26 glaciers that remain in the park. Using a second-order polynomial (quadratic function) fitted to the data, they extrapolate to estimate when there will be no Grinnell Glacier remaining (illustrating the relevance of the question mark in the title of the module).
Mcllrath, University O.; Curriculum/serc, Spreadsheets A.
This image collection from the National Snow and Ice Data Center features 14 pairs of Alaskan glacier photographs. Each photographic pair consists of a late-19th or early-20th century photograph and a 21st century photograph taken from the same location. The comparative photographs clearly show substantial changes in glacier position and size and document significant landscape evolution and vegetative succession. The site also provides links to pairs of photographs of glaciers in Switzerland, a repeat photography project at Glacier National Park by the USGS, a glacier database which features satellite images and maps, and further information on glaciers.
The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC)
Thirty years old this summer, RAHI, the Rural Alaska Honors Institute is a statewide, six-week, summer college-preparatory bridge program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks for Alaska Native and rural high school juniors and seniors. This summer, in collaboration with the University of Texas Austin, the Rural Alaska Honors Institute launched a new program, GeoFORCE Alaska. This outreach initiative is designed to increase the number and diversity of students pursuing STEM degree programs and entering the future high-tech workforce. It uses Earth science to entice kids to get excited about dinosaurs, volcanoes and earthquakes, and includes physics, chemistry, math, biology and other sciences. Students were recruited from the Alaska's Arctic North Slope schools, in 8th grade to begin the annual program of approximately 8 days, the summer before their 9th grade year and then remain in the program for all four years of high school. They must maintain a B or better grade average and participate in all GeoFORCE events. The culmination is an exciting field event each summer. Over the four-year period, events will include trips to Fairbanks and Anchorage, Arizona, Oregon and the Appalachians. All trips focus on Earth science and include a 100+ page guidebook, with tests every night culminating with a final exam. GeoFORCE Alaska was begun by the University of Alaska Fairbanks in partnership with the University of Texas at Austin, which has had tremendous success with GeoFORCE Texas. GeoFORCE Alaska is managed by UAF's long-standing Rural Alaska Honors Institute, that has been successfully providing intense STEM educational opportunities for Alaskan high school students for over 30 years. The program will add a new cohort of 9th graders each year for the next four years. By the summer of 2015, GeoFORCE Alaska is targeting a capacity of 160 students in grades 9th through 12th. Join us to find out more about this exciting new initiative, which is enticing young Alaska Native and minority students into the geosciences. View them as they explore the permafrost tunnel in Fairbanks, sand dunes in Anchorage, Portage Glacier, Matanuska-Susitna Glacier, and the Trans-Alaska pipeline damage from the earthquake of 2002.
Most Americans have never seen a glacier, and most would say that glaciers are rare features found only in inaccessible, isolated wilderness mountains. Are they really so rare? Or are they really potentially important sources of water supply?
Meier, Mark; Post, Austin
The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) provides the World Glacier Inventory data, which was collected by the World Glacier Monitoring Service. This inventory contains geographic location, area, length, orientation, elevation, and classification of morphological type and moraines of more than 67,000 glaciers throughout the world. The data may be downloaded via FTP or through form-based queries.
Surge-type glaciers are scattered in a non-random fashion, gathered in clusters in some glaciated regions. One group of clusters forms an Arctic and Sub-Arctic 'crescent', spanning from Alaska-Yukon, through Arctic Canada, West and East Greenland, Iceland, Svalbard and Novaya Zemlya. Another cluster occurs in western High Asia, including the Karakoram Mountains. Although several studies have assessed the influence of environmental controls on surging, so far none has provided a satisfactory explanation for the geographical location of these clusters. The distribution of such glaciers undoubtedly holds the keys of a better understanding on the controls on surging behaviour. For this study, two glacier populations are considered. First, a global inventory of glacier surges has been compiled, based on published observations, field reports and remote sensing studies. This digital database is structured in three tables, respectively providing information on the location and geometry of each surge-type glacier, surge dates and magnitude, and methodology employed at the time of observation. This global dataset is compared to the population of "non-surge-type glaciers" based on the Randolph Glacier Inventory version 2.0 excluding the inventoried surging glaciers. In both populations, glaciers are classified depending on their geometry and thermal regime. Downscaled climatic datasets are used to identify climatic envelopes associated with clusters of surging glaciers. We identified which environments are most prone to be associated to glacier surging, and examined the influence of these parameters on the surge cycle duration and character. These results emphasize the importance of external controls on surging (as against individual surges), and promote the need to study this behaviour in the frame of an energy-balance budget.
Sevestre, H.; Benn, D.
Glaciers, like rivers, have a branching structure which can be characterized by topological trees or networks. Probability distributions of various topological quantities in the networks are shown to satisfy the criterion for self-similarity, a symmetry structure which might be used to simplify future models of glacier dynamics. Two analytical methods of describing river networks, Shreve's random topology model and deterministic self-similar trees, are applied to the six glaciers of south central Alaska studied in this analysis. Self-similar trees capture the topological behavior observed for all of the glaciers, and most of the networks are also reasonably approximated by Shreve's theory. Copyright 1996 by the American Geophysical Union.
Bahr, D. B.; Peckham, S. D.
This web site is part of the National Snow and Ice Data Center's World Glacier Monitoring Service. The World Glacier Inventory contains information for over 67,000 glaciers throughout the world. Parameters within the inventory include: geographic location, area, length, orientation, elevation, and classification of morphological type and moraines. The inventory entries are based upon a single observation in time and can be viewed as a "snapshot" of the glacier at this time. These data are collected and digitized by the World Glacier Monitoring Service, Zurich. A point and click map of the world will also take users to the region of interest with a list of glaciated areas.
This National Park Service (NPS) website examines the geology of Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska. It highlights the glacier-carved valleys, 1964 Alaskan earthquake, nunataks (peaks), and wildlife of the park. There are links to visitor information, maps, and additional resources.
The temperature in the Arctic region has been increasing in the recent past accompanied by melting of its glaciers. We took a snapshot of the current microbial inhabitation of an Alaskan glacier (which can be considered as one of the simplest possible ecosystems) by using metagenomic sequencing of 16S rRNA recovered from ice/snow samples. Somewhat contrary to our expectations and earlier estimates, a rich and diverse microbial population of more than 2,500 species was revealed including several species of Archaea that has been identified for the first time in the glaciers of the Northern hemisphere. The most prominent bacterial groups found were Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Firmicutes. Firmicutes were not reported in large numbers in a previously studied Alpine glacier but were dominant in an Antarctic subglacial lake. Representatives of Cyanobacteria, Actinobacteria and Planctomycetes were among the most numerous, likely reflecting the dependence of the ecosystem on the energy obtained through photosynthesis and close links with the microbial community of the soil. Principal component analysis (PCA) of nucleotide word frequency revealed distinct sequence clusters for different taxonomic groups in the Alaskan glacier community and separate clusters for the glacial communities from other regions of the world. Comparative analysis of the community composition and bacterial diversity present in the Byron glacier in Alaska with other environments showed larger overlap with an Arctic soil than with a high Arctic lake, indicating patterns of community exchange and suggesting that these bacteria may play an important role in soil development during glacial retreat. PMID:24712530
Choudhari, Sulbha; Lohia, Ruchi; Grigoriev, Andrey
This project is continuing along the lines of the semiannual report dated January 1993. Four major tasks have been addressed: analysis of variability in the seasonal snow of interior and arctic Alaska, the interpretation of microwave brightness temperature across Alaska on transects from south to north, study of nonclimatic controls which affect glaciers, and the location of glacier facies boundaries.
Benson, Carl S.
Within the past year, two large landslides have originated from south-facing peaks on Waxell Ridge, the bedrock massif that separates the Bagley Icefield from Bering Glacier, Alaska. Each involves a near-summit hanging glacier. In each instance, the presence of meltwater appears to be a triggering factor. The largest of the two, which occurred on September 14, 2005, originated from just below the summit of 3,236-m-high Mt Steller and landed on the surface of Bering Glacier, nearly 2,500 m below. The Alaska Volcano Observatory estimated the volume of this landslide, which consisted of rock, glacier ice, and snow, to be approximately 50 million cubic meters. Unlike most large Alaskan glacier-related landslides, this one was not triggered by an earthquake. However, the energy that the slide released was intense enough to generate a seismic signal that was recorded around the world with magnitudes of 3.8 to greater than 5. The slide extended ~10 km down the Bering Glacier from the point of impact. Much of the surface on which the slide occurred had a slope >50 degrees. The second landslide, located ~6 km to the west of Mt Steller, originated from a secondary summit of a 2,500- m-high unnamed peak. The date of its occurrence is unknown, but its toe sits on winter 2005-2006 snow. Both slides have been examined from helicopter and fixed-wing overflights, and with a variety of vertical and oblique aerial photographs. Oblique aerial photographs obtained of the Mt Steller slide on September 15, 2005 depict a 10-15-m-diameter moulin or englacial stream channel in the truncated 30-m-thick glacier ice that comprises the east wall of the landslide scarp. The presence of this unusual glacial-hydrologic feature at an elevation above 3,000 m, suggests that a large volume of water had recently been flowing on Mt Steller's east ridge and that the water might have had a role in triggering the landslide. Similarly, there is evidence of an englacial channel on the west flank of the summit scarp of the second slide. The presence of large volumes of meltwater close to the crest of Waxell Ridge raises questions about regional climate change and its role in the future generation of landslides at higher elevations. This presentation summarizes the findings produced from the analysis of aerial photography and field observations made between September 2005 and September 2006.
Molnia, B. F.; Angeli, K. M.; Bratton, D. A.; Keeler, R. H.; Noyles, C.
Rapid changes to rates of sea level rise are forced in large part by tidewater glacier dynamics. Alaska's Columbia Glacier is an iconic example; in recent years, calving losses account for roughly 20% of the net mass loss from the entire Alaska region. In turn, the Alaska region accounts for ~20% of global new-water sea-level rise. To better understand the mechanics of rapid tidewater glacier mass loss, we present and analyze surface elevation and velocity data acquired at high time resolution since fall 2011. Strong seasonality in flow speed exists, with more than a doubling of near-terminus speed occurring between summer and winter. The imagery provides unprecedented spatial coverage, demonstrating spatial coherence in flow variability across most, but not all, tributaries. Preliminary calculations of ice flux also show strong seasonality, with variable year-to-year timing of peak discharge. Compared to previous estimates, the average flux in this most recent interval is reduced by ~30-40%. An additional overdeepening is located upstream from the present-day terminus, indicating another episode of increased flux is possible. However, total glacier volume has been reduced by ~50% during the retreat, and peak discharge from Columbia has likely already occurred. Our analysis suggests that, as the Columbia Glacier retreat comes to a conclusion, rates of mass loss from the Alaska region will decrease in the near-future, unless another tidewater glacier enters rapid retreat.
Oneel, S.; Joughin, I. R.; March, R. S.; Burgess, E. W.; Welty, E.; Pfeffer, W. T.; Larsen, C. F.
Satellite imagery from the Global Fiducials Program (GFP: classified satellite imagery released to the general public for science use: http://gfl.usgs.gov) tracked the 2008-2011 surge of the Bering Glacier, the largest and longest glacier in North America. The terminus displacement began in late 2010, with maximum velocities of greater than 20 meters per day by late January 2011, as measured using feature tracking with GFP imagery. By July, the velocities had decreased to less than 10 m/d. We used the GFP imagery to locate three helicopter accessible targets on the terminus of the Bering Glacier to collect high-resolution (0.5-4 cm spot spacing) 4D time-series tripod/terrestrial LiDAR (T-LiDAR) data. During the week of July 24, 2011 we collected hourly and daily T-LiDAR data to resolve spatially and temporally varied advancement rates at each of the sites. The first site was located on the west side of Tashalich arm on the western side of the Bering Lobe terminus proximal to the region where the maximum GFP velocities had previously been measured. Using the T-LiDAR data, we found that the terminus advanced 5.4 m over 76 hours of observation. The hourly advancement rates for the same location are a very consistent 4.2 cm/h during our daylight hours of observation (0900-1800 local) and when daily rate are extrapolated to the full 76 hours, we should have measured 3.2 m of horizontal displacement: this is a discrepancy between the total and hourly measured displacements of an additional 2.2 m of motion during the night and early morning hours (1800-0900 local). The additional motion may be explained by accelerated terminus velocity associated with daily thermal heating and resulting melt. Motion may also be explained by rain on the second day of the survey that "lubricated" the glacier bed thereby allowing it to advance at a faster velocity. The second site was on Arrowhead Island, located on the eastern side of the terminus where the vertical relieve of the glacier terminus was significantly lower than at the fist site that had the elevated velocities. Here the T-LiDAR data measured a much slower advancement rate of 0-2.0 cm/h. The third T-LiDAR site also on Arrowhead Island, approximately 300 meters to the west, measured 7.3 cm/h of motion where the Bering Glacier entered Vitus Lake. We will compare the T-LiDAR and GFP velocities with GPS hourly data collected within the nearby Glacier Ablation Sensor Systems that are deployed on the glacier's surface to assess if the daily variations at the terminus are observed elsewhere during this surge event.
Bawden, G. W.; Molnia, B. F.; Howle, J.; Bond, S.; Angeli, K.; Shuchman, R. A.
We present the Warm Ice Sounding Explorer (WISE), a low-frequency (2.5 MHz) radar for the sounding of temperate ice. WISE deployment in southern Alaska in 2008 and 2012 provides comprehensive measurements of glacier thickness, reveals deep valleys beneath glaciers and the full extent of zones grounded below sea level. The east branch of Columbia Glacier is deeper that its main branch and remains below sea level 20 km farther inland. Ice is 1000 m deep on Tazlina Glacier. On Bering glacier, two sills separate three deep bed depressions (>1200 m) that coincide with the dynamic balance lines during surges. The piedmont lobe of Malaspina Glacier and the lower reaches of Hubbard Glacier are entirely grounded below sea level 40 and 10 km, respectively, from their termini. Knowledge of ice thickness in these regions helps better understand their glacier dynamics, mass balance, and impact on sea level.
Rignot, E.; Mouginot, J.; Larsen, C. F.; Gim, Y.; Kirchner, D.
Glaciers in southeast Alaska are undergoing rapid changes that affect global sea level rise, lake formation and water levels, and flood risks. A key to understanding the ice dynamics is knowledge of the surface ice velocities and how they vary through time. Here we present updated maps of surface velocities for several glaciers in southeast Alaska produced through a pixel tracking technique using synthetic aperature radar data (ALOS, TerraSAR-X) and high-resolution optical imagery (WorldView, QuickBird, IKONOS, GeoEye). We focus on several glaciers that have enough data to form multi-year timeseries, including Hubbard, Yakutat, and LeConte. Hubbard Glacier is the largest non-polar tidewater glacier in the world and is currently in the advance phase of the tidewater glacier cycle. The glacier shows strong seasonal variations of more than 5 m/day along the terminal lobe, with the highest speeds occurring between late December and early February and the lowest speeds occurring in late summer/early fall. The region directly above the terminal lobe displays a smaller seasonal variation in speed. Near the terminus of the glacier, an increase in speed from ~8 m/day to more than 11 m/day is observed between Winter 2008 and Winter 2010. The Valerie Glacier, which is separated from the terminal lobe of the Hubbard by a medial moraine, displays a decrease in speed from ~8 m/day to ~4 m/day between March 2009 and March 2011. LeConte Glacier, which is located in the southern Stikine Icefield, appears to have retreated to a stable position. In contrast to Hubbard, the observed speeds along the lower part of LeConte do not vary significantly between years. Peak speeds at the terminus reach ~22 m/day in both 2008 and 2012. The lake-terminating Yakutat Glacier is in a state of collapse, with rapid retreat creating two separate termini in late summer 2011. Our dataset allows us to document the surface velocity variations that occurred during this time and the subsequent years as the retreat has continued.
Elliott, J.; Melkonian, A. K.; Pritchard, M. E.; Willis, M. J.
Helicopters and satellite phones were integral to the geologic field response. Here, Peter Haeussler is calling a seismologist to pass along the discovery of the Susitna Glacier thrust fault. View is to the north up the Susitna Glacier. The Denali fault trace lies in the background where the two lan...
This formative assessment item uncovers students' ideas about glacial erosion and how glaciers transport rocks and other sediment. The assessment is aligned with the National Science Education Standards. It contains instructional suggestions as well as links to other helpful resources dealing with glaciers and glacial movement.
The world's glaciers are shrinking at alarming rates, and many scientists believe it is due to changes in climate. Dr. Lonnie Thompson of Ohio State University and Dr. Douglas Hardy of UMass-Amherst discuss glaciers and how they melt, and pay special attention to Africa's tallest mountain, Mt. Kilimanjaro. "Changing Planet" is produced in partnership with the National Science Foundation.
Glacier-dammed lakes typically form during glacier advance or retreat that is in phase with climate change. Most glacier-dammed lakes that have formed in the past century are located in closed basins created by glacier retreat and downwasting. However, tidewater glaciers can be relatively insensitive to climate and can advance when adjacent land-based glaciers are in retreat. The regimen of tidewater glaciers is strongly controlled by the nature of the terminus. When a morainal shoal or fjord constriction limits mass loss due to calving, the glacier may remain stable or advance even in a warming climate. However, a small perturbation in climate can cause the terminus to retreat off a shoal or beyond a constriction into deeper, open water. Once this happens, more mass is lost through calving than is replenished and the glacier may catastrophically retreat. Because many tidewater glaciers are large, this cycle can be several hundred years in length, thereby lagging climatic perturbations that affect other glaciers. Many tidewater glaciers have dammed lakes as they advanced over the past century. Brady Glacier, at the head of Taylor Bay in southeast Alaska, advanced through most of the 20th century. When George Vancouver's party mapped Taylor Bay in 1794, the glacier terminus was a steep calving front. In 1880 John Muir visited the glacier and commented that it was advancing onto an outwash plain that it had built. It continued to advance until the 1960s and has remained at almost the same position since then, despite thinning many tens of meters. As Brady Glacier advanced, it buried trees along the walls of the fjord and impounded large lakes in tributary valleys. At least two of these lakes formed on opposite sides of the glacier in areas occupied by mature forest. We collected incremental cores and discs of trees killed by overriding ice and rising lake waters in order to establish a dendrochronological history of the last glacier advance and the filling of the lakes. The samples are from rooted subfossil trees located at different elevations within the lake basins and below the previous limit of the glacier. The elevation and location of each tree base were determined with a differential GPS. The results show that the Brady was advancing through the area in the early 1800s and that it killed trees along the valley margins at progressively higher levels through time. The oldest and lowest trees that were sampled in the Spur Lake basin on the east side of the glacier were killed in the early 1800s. The lake rose tens of meters over a few decades. The oldest and lowest trees sampled in the North Trick Lake basin on the west side of the glacier were killed in the early 1830s. Like Spur Lake, North Trick Lake increased in depth over a few decades. Many of these trees in both Spur and North Trick lakes were over 300 years old, which indicates that the glacier had been less extensive than today for at least that long. Just to the east, the tidewater glacier in Glacier Bay had advanced about a century earlier than Brady Glacier, underscoring non-climatic controls on glacier activity in the area. As Glacier Bay ice retreated and presumably ice-dammed lakes drained in Glacier Bay, Brady Glacier advanced, damming lakes at its margins. The lakes impounded by Brady Glacier and frequent jökulhlaups derived from them affect glacier motion, mass balance, and glacier stability. The lakes extend beneath portions of the glacier, and significant ice mass is lost to the lakes by calving. Jökulhlaups carve channels into the base of Brady Glacier and could erode the outwash plain at the glacier terminus. Both processes could initiate catastrophic retreat of the glacier.
Capps, D.; Wiles, G.; Clague, J.
Alaska’s volcanoes, like its abundant glaciers, charismatic wildlife, and wild expanses inspire and ignite scientific curiosity and generate an ever-growing source of questions for students in Alaska and throughout the world. Alaska is home to more than 140 volcanoes, which have been active over the last 2 million years. About 90 of these volcanoes have been active within the last 10,000 years and more than 50 of these have been active since about 1700. The volcanoes in Alaska make up well over three-quarters of volcanoes in the United States that have erupted in the last 200 years. In fact, Alaska’s volcanoes erupt so frequently that it is almost guaranteed that an Alaskan will experience a volcanic eruption in his or her lifetime, and it is likely they will experience more than one. It is hard to imagine a better place for students to explore active volcanism and to understand volcanic hazards, phenomena, and global impacts. Previously developed teachers’ guidebooks with an emphasis on the volcanoes in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Mattox, 1994) and Mount Rainier National Park in the Cascade Range (Driedger and others, 2005) provide place-based resources and activities for use in other volcanic regions in the United States. Along the lines of this tradition, this guidebook serves to provide locally relevant and useful resources and activities for the exploration of numerous and truly unique volcanic landscapes in Alaska. This guidebook provides supplemental teaching materials to be used by Alaskan students who will be inspired to become educated and prepared for inevitable future volcanic activity in Alaska. The lessons and activities in this guidebook are meant to supplement and enhance existing science content already being taught in grade levels 6–12. Correlations with Alaska State Science Standards and Grade Level Expectations adopted by the Alaska State Department of Education and Early Development (2006) for grades six through eleven are listed at the beginning of each activity. A complete explanation, including the format of the Alaska State Science Standards and Grade Level Expectations, is available at the beginning of each grade link at http://www.eed.state.ak.us/tls/assessment/GLEHome.html.
Adleman, Jennifer N.
As part of the International Geophysical Year (IGY), nine glaciers in Alaska and Washington were imaged and mapped at a 1:10,000 scale by the American Geographical Society (AGS) to: "provide the basis for more satisfactory and more accurate interpretation of the response of these glaciers to meteorological and other factors." Prophetic words indeed. In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the publication of these maps, the Global Fiducials Program (GFP) systematically re-photographed these glaciers, along with several additional glacier sites, to determine the extent of change at each of these sites. In a new US Geological Survey (USGS) series, maps produced from recently collected GFP imagery, closely following AGS's original map format, are being made for the original nine glaciers. New maps will also be produced for the USGS' three benchmark glaciers and for four new sites--two in California, one in Montana, and one in Nevada. All are either current or proposed GFP sites. Newly acquired and historical imagery will be used to determine changes in terminus position, produce digital elevation models (DEMs), and generate velocity fields from crevasse migration. Where possible, area and volume changes are being determined. Each pair of glacier maps will be accompanied with a summary document describing the changes that have occurred at that glacier. Changes mapped for the Benchmark Glaciers are in agreement with the annual mass balance records compiled by detailed USGS field investigations.
Josberger, E. G.; Fahey, M. J.; Friesen, B. A.; Molnia, B. F.
Glacial erosion rates inferred from total sediment budgets in recently deglaciated fjords, which are the highest reported erosion rates worldwide, have received considerable attention in fields as diverse as tectonics, glacial sedimentation, and climate. These record rates, however, are representative only of tidewater glaciers during their extensive retreat of the post Little Ice Age period; erosion rates averaged over glacial-interglacial cycles and longer periods are likely to be substantially smaller. We examine the influence of retreat rate on sediment yields from tidewater glaciers by reconstructing the history of sediment output from retreating glaciers necessary to produce sediment packages observed in contemporary fjords. Using a simple numerical model of proglacial sedimentation in front of a retreating glacier, seismic profiles of proglacial sediments, and the history of terminus retreat of Muir Glacier, Glacier Bay, Alaska, we calculate the sediment flux as a function of time from this glacier between 1900 and 1979, and conclude that sediment flux scales with retreat rate. The corresponding basin-wide erosion rate during this 79 yr period averages 37 mm/yr, and exceeds long-term erosion rates by a factor of 5 ± 1. For Muir Glacier and, by inference, for other calving glaciers, the general drastic retreat and the marked regional drawdown of ice since the Little Ice Age are both linked to unusually rapid calving and fast ice motion, which is conducive to rapid erosion.
Koppes, Michèle N.; Hallet, Bernard
Low-elevation glaciers in coastal regions of Alaska, the Canadian Arctic, individual ice caps around the Greenland ice sheet, and the Patagonia Ice Fields have an aggregate glacier area of about 332 ?? 103 km 2 and account for approximately 42% of all the glacier area outside the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. They have shown volume loss, especially since the end of the 1980s, increasing from about 45% in the 1960s to nearly 67% in 2003 of the total wastage from all glaciers on Earth outside those two largest ice sheets. Thus, a disproportionally large contribution of coastal glacier ablation to sea level rise is evident. We examine cumulative standardized departures (1961-2000 reference period) of glacier mass balances and air temperature data in these four coastal regions. Analyses indicate a strong association between increases in glacier volume losses and summer air temperature at regional and global scales. Increases in glacier volume losses in the coastal regions also coincide with an accelerated rate of ice discharge from outlet glaciers draining the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets. These processes imply further increases in sea level rise. ?? 2006 Regents of the University of Colorado.
Dyurgerov, M.; McCabe, G. J.
Students will utilize the Internet to take a virtual field trip to visit a glacier and discover what physical effects glaciers have on the land. They will also have the opportunity to virtually visit Vermont and trace the pictorial history of how a whale's fossils were found there. The site also contains a student worksheet for their visual field trip. The site also provides an explanation of the formation of fossils.
A receiving station for the acquisition and processing of spaceborne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data is being established by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. The data that will be received from a number of SAR satellites that are to be launched starting in 1990 will allow U.S. researchers to study sea ice, oceanographic and geological features, hydrological processes, glaciers, and vegetation cover in Alaska and its surrounding seas.
Carsey, F.; Jezek, K.; Miller, J.; Weeks, W.; Weller, G.
The characteristics of sediment discharge in the Yukon River, Alaska were investigated by monitoring water discharge, water turbidity and water temperature. The river-transported sediment, 90 wt.% or more, consists of silt and clay (grain size?62.5 ?m), which probably originated in the glacier-covered mountains mostly in the Alaska Range. For early June to late August 1999, we continuously measured water turbidity
Kazuhisa A. Chikita; Richard Kemnitz; Ryuji Kumai
Glaciers are important features in the hydrologic cycle and affect the volume, variability, and water quality of runoff. Assessing and predicting the effect of glaciers on water resources require a monitoring program to provide basic data for this understanding. The monitoring program of the U.S. Geological Survey employs a nested approach whereby an intensively studied glacier is surrounded by less intensively studied glaciers and those monitored solely by remote sensing. Ideally, each glacierized region of the United States would have such a network of glaciers. The intensively studied glacier provides a detailed understanding of the physical processes and their temporal changes that control the mass exchange of the glaciers in that region. The less intensively studied glaciers are used to assess the variability of such processes within the region.
Fountain, Andrew G.; Krimmel, Robert M.; Trabant, Dennis C.
The National Park Service proposes to establish 2,052,700 acres as wilderness in Glacier Bay National Monument. The area contains rugged mountains; enormous complex glaciers; ice-sculptured fjords; and large areas of vegetation, displaying the entire spec...
As glaciers are losing ice volume in the Alps, as elsewhere, so is mountain permafrost. This has been recognised by increased rockfall activity from steep mountain faces. The presence of ice-rich permafrost and reduction of volume is more difficult to detect where the slope angle is lower than that of free rock faces. The lagged response makes it difficult to detect melting and any consequent surface lowering. Rock glaciers have been viewed as indicative of the result of flow of ice-rich permafrost and thus indicators of mat of < 1.5 °C. Although the 'permafrost' model has been contested, the alternative, 'glacier core' model does not deny that permafrost conditions can exist for some rock glaciers exhibiting ice cores and thus differentiation is difficult just by viewing or imaging the surface topographic feature. The rock glacier at Grubengletscher (Wallis, Switzerland) has been studied since the 1970s and has been used as an exemplar of rock glaciers that indicate mountain permafrost. The site has been examined over several years because of potential water flooding (jokulhlaups) affecting a village in the valley. Published mapping of the feature shows the portion mapped as 'rock glacier' (= permafrost) has been increasingly reduced over the last 20 years. The upstream area has been indicated to be glacier ice-cored as small thermokarst lakes have formed. Field examination of the whole feature shows that small glacier ice exposures exist even in the 'rock glacier'. This view of 'hidden glacier ice' is confirmed by examining topographic maps from about 1850 CE where the whole of the basin is shown as being glacier covered. The debris covering and protecting the glacier-derived ice must date from after this (Late Little Ice Age) period. Other recent examples of exposed glacier ice below debris can also be seen at mountain locations as diverse as Turkey and Alaska as well as from the length of the Rockies. The conclusion is that care must be taken in using rock glaciers anywhere as necessarily indicating permafrost, whether present day features or mapped as paleo-permafrost indicators used in climatic reconstructions. As global temperatures increase, continued observation at rock glacier sites should confirm or deny the general presence of glacier ice cores or actual permafrost-bound ice.
Using seismic signals to monitor glacier activity has become a popular approach in recent years. In this study we use several years of seismic data recorded on permanent broadband stations on Svalbard to locate and analyze icequakes in the northwestern and southern part of Spitsbergen, the main island of the archipelago. In the northwestern part in the area around Kongsfjorden close to the seismic station KBS (Ny-Ålesund) we observe a high number of seismic events. There is clear evidence that they are of glacial origin with at least three spatial icequake clusters related to different glaciers in the area. We apply automatic detection methods to the continuous KBS record in order to obtain a more complete catalog. The icequake clusters show a clear seasonal variability, i.e. much more events are observed from late summer on to end of autumn, in accordance with expected variability of glacier activity. Furthermore, seismic signals show a clear peak in the amplitude spectrum between 1 and 5 Hz, a characteristic feature which has been observed at calving glaciers in Alaska and on Greenland. A second type of glacier-related seismic emission is observed on KBS which are tidally modulated tremor-like signals. Their occurrence is correlated with the time of tidal maxima as well as the tidal range in Ny-Ålesund. In order to better understand glacier seismicity in this area and to link local and regional icequake observations, we installed a temporary local seismic network in spring 2013. We also observe clusters of icequakes in southern Spitsbergen. Events in the Hornsund area show the same seasonality and signal character as in in the Northwest. Another class of icequakes with different spectral properties and temporal patterns is observed within the area of the Nathorstbreen glacier system, which had a major surging phase recently.
Köhler, A.; Nuth, C.; Schweitzer, J.; Weidle, C.
The ESA project GlobGlacier aims at making a substantial contribution to current efforts of mapping the World's glaciers from satellite data using (semi-)automated techniques. For this purpose a number of key regions have been identified in close cooperation with the user group of the project and based on a set of criteria (e.g. filling the gaps in current inventories, or their potential contribution to sea-level rise). Apart from glacier outlines and terminus positions, a couple of further data products are created by the project: late summer snowlines (LSSL), topographic information, elevation changes and velocity fields. While most of the products are created from optical sensors like Landsat TM/ETM+ as available from the glovis.usgs.gov website, some of them will also utilize radar sensors and LIDAR data. The inventory data are mainly created for the year 2000 (+/- a few years) to have a good temporal match with the SRTM DEM. In selected regions, multi-temporal data sets will be used for change assessment. The new data sets will be integrated in the existing databases of GLIMS and WGMS. With this contribution we provide an overview of the current status of the project as well as its major achievements. Outlines for several thousand glaciers have already been created in many of the key regions. This includes parts of Alaska (Chigmit Mts., Kenai Peninsula, Chugach Mts.), Arctic Canada (Devon, Bylot, Baffin Island), West Greenland (Disko Island, Nuussuaq, Svartenhuk), Norway (Svartisen, Jostedalsbreen), India (Kashmir) and the European Alps. The products LSSL, topography and elevation changes were also produced for several hundred glaciers and surface velocity fields have been derived for more than 50 glaciers from radar and optical sensors. Topographic information for each glacier is obtained from freely available DEMs (e.g. SRTM, ASTER GDEM) and elevation changes are derived from DEM differencing as well as repeat track altimetry using the GLAS and RA-2 instruments. Some of the key regions act as integration sites where more than one product is created.
The Parallel Ice Sheet Model (PISM) is an open source code developed at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. To date, PISM has primarily modeled the dynamic evolution of whole ice sheets including the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. Here we extend the capability of PISM by adding tools for regional-scale dynamical modeling of outlet glaciers of ice sheets. One tool
D. N. Dellagiustina; E. Bueler; A. Aschwanden; C. Khroulev; R. M. Hock
Measurements of glacier flow velocity and basal water pressure at two sites on Columbia Glacier, Alaska, are combined with meteorological and hydrologic data to provide an observational basis for assessing the role of water storage and basal water pressure in the rapid movement of this large glacier. During the period from July 5 to August 31, 1987, coordinated observations were made of glacier surface motion and of water level in five boreholes drilled to (or in one case near to) the glacier bed at two sites, 5 and 12 km from the terminus. Glacier velocities increased downglacier in this reach from about 4 m/d to about 7 m/d. Three types of time variation in velocity and other variables were revealed: (1) Diurnal fluctuation in water input/output, borehole water level, and ice velocity (fluctuation amplitude 5 to 8%); (2) Speed-up events in glacier motion (15-30% speed-up), lasting about three days, and ocurring at times of enhanced input of water, in some cases from rain and in others from ice ablation enhanced by strong, warm winds; (3) 'Extra-slowdown' events, in which, after a speed-up event, the ice velocity decreased in about 3 days to a level consistently lower than that prior to the speed-up event. All of the time variations were due, directly or indirectly, to variations in water input to the glacier.
Meier, Mark; Lundstrom, Scott; Stone, Dan; Kamb, Barclay; Engelhardt, Hermann; Humphrey, Neil; Dunlap, William W.; Fahnestock, Mark; Krimmel, Robert M.; Walters, Roy
Landsat imagery, combined with aerial photography, sketch maps, and diagrams, is used as the basis for a description of the geography, climatology, and glaciology, including mass balance, variation, and hazards, of the Greenland ice sheet and local ice caps and glaciers. The Greenland ice sheet, with an estimated area of 1,736,095+/-100 km2 and volume of 2,600,000 km3, is the second largest glacier on the planet and the largest relict of the Ice Age in the Northern Hemisphere. Greenland also has 48,599+/-100 km2 of local ice caps and other types of glaciers in coastal areas and islands beyond the margin of the ice sheet.
edited by Williams, Richard S., Jr.; Ferrigno, Jane G.
This animation shows glacier recesion at the Breidamerkurjokull glacier in Iceland. The data from 1973 is taken from Landsat 1 and the 2000 data is from Landsat 7. The Breidamerkurjokull glacier in Iceland has been measured by Landsat to be receding since 1973. The glacierologists in Iceland and here at Nasas Goddard Space Flight Center have measured the recession throughout the entire glacier and found different rates of recession in different areas. In genral, the glacier seems to be receding at about 2% annually. It is extremely controversial whether this recession is caused by global warming.
Perkins, Lori; Hall, Dorothy
This lesson plan is part of the DiscoverySchool.com lesson plan library for grades 6-8. It focuses on glaciers and icebergs, specifically, glacial scraping and landforms left behind by glaciers, and information about icebergs in the oceans. Students do a lab simulating glacial scouring. It includes objectives, materials, procedures, discussion questions, evaluation ideas, extensions, suggested readings, and vocabulary. There are videos available to order which complement this lesson, an audio-enhanced vocabulary list, and links to teaching tools for making custom quizzes, worksheets, puzzles and lesson plans.
Like many mountain ranges in Alaska, the Central Alaska Range is a highly glacierized but sparsely monitored region in terms of glacier mass balance and meteorological ground observations. The Kahiltna Glacier, a large (522 km2), remote mountain glacier with a wide range of altitudes and few in-situ measurements, is a challenge for traditional melt models that rely heavily on input of accurate melt gradients, air temperatures and lapse rates, and spatial distribution of snowfall. In order to supplement historical measurements from a single National Park Service mass balance stake, extensive campaigns of field observations were carried out on the glacier in 2010 and 2011, and remaining spatial and temporal gaps have been filled using available climate data products. Here we present a method for modeling twenty years of glacier-wide mass balance evolution for the Kahiltna Glacier, by expanding on sparse ground observations from a single site. We use NCEP-NCAR reanalysis time series' of air temperature and precipitation adjusted to on-glacier conditions, and characterize the spatial distribution of precipitation by sampling a gridded climate product (PRISM) along the glacier centerline. These data serve as input into a fully distributed degree-day melt model. To assess the model results, mass balance estimates obtained from this method are also compared to those derived from several other techniques: DEM differencing, repeat laser altimetry, and regionally downscaled GRACE gravimetry. As well as providing a method for modeling mass balance for a large glacier with a broad elevation range and sparse observational data, this multidisciplinary study will help bridge the gap between modeling and remote sensing techniques for estimating glacier mass balance.
Young, J. C.; Arendt, A. A.; Hock, R. M.; Motyka, R. J.
The percentage of Svalbard glaciers thought to be of surge-type is somewhere between 13-90% according to different sources variously based on statistical analysis and observations of diagnostic glaciological and geomorphological features, e.g. looped moraines. Developing a better understanding of which of these figures, if either, is most realistic is important in the context of glacier dynamics and related contributions of small glaciers and ice caps to sea level change in the immediate future. We present detailed geomorphological assessments of the margins of several known surge-type glaciers in Svalbard in order to update and improve the existing framework by which they are identified, and to provide a foundation for future reassessments of the surge-type glacier population based on distinct landform-sediment assemblages. Three landsystems are proposed: (1) Surges of small valley glaciers produce a prominent ice-cored latero-frontal moraine at their surge maximum and are characterised by an inner zone of ice stagnation terrain (hummocky topography, kettle lakes, debris flows) with no or only very few poorly-defined bedforms (crevasse squeeze ridges, eskers and flutes) and no recessional moraines. Many of these glaciers may have surged in the past but show no signs that they have the capability to do so again in the future. (2) Larger land-terminating glaciers, often with several tributaries, typically produce a push moraine complex which contains evidence for multiple advances, as identified from ridge-meltwater channel relationships. The inner zone often contains a large lagoon, partly dammed by the push moraine complex, and widespread ice stagnation terrain. Crevasse squeeze ridges, eskers and flutes are well-defined but small and limited in number and distribution. (3) Surges of large tidewater glaciers produce distinctive, often multi-generational, landform assemblages both in submarine and lateral terrestrial positions. The well-preserved submarine record is characterised by large cross-fjord push moraines of fjord floor sediments with lobe-shaped debris flows on their distal slope, glacial lineations, dense rhombohedral networks of crevasse squeeze ridges, and eskers. Annual push moraines associated with the quiescent phase are also observed and are unique to the submarine record. The terrestrial record consists of large lateral moraine systems alongside the fjord which contain outer push ridges composed of shallow marine sediments and an inner zone of ice stagnation terrain. Eskers, flutes and large, sharp-crested crevasse fill ridges in dense networks are superimposed on this inner zone; the latter are similar in character to their submarine counterparts but typically higher. We suggest that these three landsystems broadly characterise the geomorphology of the vast majority of known Svalbard surge-type glaciers and may allow previously unknown surge-type glaciers to be identified, both in the field and from aerial photographs and sea floor imagery.
Lovell, Harold; Benn, Douglas; Lukas, Sven; Flink, Anne
This NBC Learn video features climate scientists doing their research on Mt. Kilimanjaro to study the climate of the past. The scientists put the recently observed changes on the glacier into perspective by comparing past climate fluctuations, stressing that the current observed rate of change is unprecedented.
Planet, Nbc L.; Universe, Windows T.
This website highlights the glacial formation of the Great Lakes: - Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. This site provides photos and descriptions of the lakes and how they formed by the glaciers thousands of years ago.
Thousands of people in the Andes mountains of Peru are having their lives affected in both a practical and cultural way by climate change, which is causing the region's glaciers to melt. This document explores the causes of the glacial melt and its impacts on the local cultures.
This article profiles Dr. Leigh Stearns, a research scientist with the National Science Foundation's Science and Technology Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS) and Assistant Professor in Geology at the University of Kansas who studies glaciers in Greenland.
Using a glacier proxy, students design an experiment to connect glacial erosion with glacial flow. Students choose from a variety of materials, determined what question they want their experiment or experiments to answer, design the procedure, test the experiment, and write up a lab report on the experiment.
Glacier surge is known to often initiate in winter, but the mechanisms remain unclear in light of the summer speed-up at normal glaciers. We examined spatial-temporal changes in the ice velocity of surge-type glaciers near the border of Alaska and Yukon, and found significant upstream accelerations from fall to winter, regardless of surging episodes. Moreover, whereas the summer speed-up was observed downstream, the winter speed-up propagated from upstream to downglacier. Given the absence of upstream surface meltwater input in winter, we speculate the presence of water storages near the base that do not directly connect to the surface but can promote basal sliding through increased water pressure as winter approaches. Our findings have implications for modeling of glacial hydrology in winter time, and its link to glacier dynamics and subglacial erosion.
Abe, T.; Furuya, M.
Conventional and reference-surface mass-balance data from Gulkana and Wolverine Glaciers, Alaska, USA, are used to address the questions of how rapidly these glaciers are adjusting (or 'responding') to climate, whether their responses are stable, and whether the glaciers are likely to survive in today's climate. Instability means that a glacier will eventually vanish, or at least become greatly reduced in volume, if the climate stabilizes at its present state. A simple non-linear theory of response is presented for the analysis. The response of Gulkana Glacier is characterized by a timescale of several decades, but its stability and therefore its survival in today's climate are uncertain. Wolverine seems to be responding to climate more slowly, on the timescale of one to several centuries. Its stability is also uncertain, but a slower response time would make it more susceptible to climate changes.
Harrison, W. D.; Cox, L. H.; Hock, R.; March, R. S.; Pettit, E. C.
Small glaciers are highly sensitive to changes in temperature and precipitation making them important indicators of regional climate change. At present, worldwide evaluation and prediction of glacier change are based on or aided by detailed observations from a small number of glaciers due to the inaccessibility of many glacier areas. Thus, the ground-based detailed glacier monitoring is of strong need and extremely important for glacier variability evaluation in both regional and global scale. China has 46,377 glaciers with a total area of 59,425 km2 and 5600 km3 in volume. Most of the glaciers have experienced rapid and accelerated shrinkage during last few decades. Although some of the glaciers have been investigated or observed through field expeditions and ground-based monitoring, the information of the glacier changes are poorly documented and relatively new to international community. This paper summarizes the observed changes of 9 reference glaciers in China: 1) Urumqi Glacier No. 1, located at the headwaters of Urumqi River in eastern Tianshan which is the best observed glacier in China; 2) Haxilegen Glacier No. 51, at Kuitun River in eastern Tianshan; 3) Qingbingtan Glacier No.72, located at the upper reach of Aksu River in the middle of Tianshan; 4) Miaoergou ice cap, located in the most east part of Tianshan; 5) Laohugou Glacier No. 12, located in Shule River in Qinlian Mountains; 6) Qi Yi glacier (also named as July First Glacier), located in Qinlian Mountains; 7) Dongkemadi Glacier located in Tianggula Mountains in Qinghai-Xizang (Tibetan) Plateau; 8) Rongbu Glacier at the north slop of Mt. Everest in Himalaya Mountains; and 9) Baishui Glacier No. 1, the only temperate glacier in this glacier group, located at Yulong Snow Mountain. Geographically those reference glaciers well represent the glaciers in the major high mountain system in western China. In addition, they have been monitored for 5-53 years and promise the best datasets for glacier changes in their regions.
Li, L.; Li, H.; Wang, F.
This is the homepage of Glacier National Park. Users can access materials on the park's ecology and environment (plants and animals, biodiversity and air quality, geology, and fires), the culture and history of the park, park activities, and publications on naturalist activities. There are also video clips of park wildlife and scenery, a photo gallery, and live webcams. Links are provided to additional information, such as research activities on bear DNA and global climate change.
Patagonian glaciers are increasingly contributing to the global-sea level rise due to negative mass balances in recent decades, in spite of moderated temperature and precipitation changes taking place in the region. The Austral Chilean glaciers retreat and thinning are strongly influenced by local topography and frontal characteristics, both playing a key role in disrupting glacier responses. One of the main ice bodies in this region is the Northern Patagonian Icefield ( NPI, 46S/73W, 3953 km2), a plateau from where tens of outlet glaciers have been inventoried. Many of these glaciers are ending at sea or freshwater lakes where they are calving. This calving feature is typically associated to non-climatic fluctuations characterized by abnormally-high and sudden retreat and other exacerbated behaviors such as ice flow acceleration and dynamical thinning. The main aim of this work is the study of recent calving dynamics of three glaciers of the NPI, in order to analyze similarities versus differences associated to their location, topographical constraints and bathymetry, among other features. With this aim, airborne LIDAR and radar surveys, as well as field trips were conducted to the area in year 2012 where several instruments and sensors were installed. The selected study sites were the NPI eastern side freshwater calving glaciers Colonia (47.19S/73.29W) and Nef (47.03S/73.27W), and the NPI western margin tidewater calving San Rafael glacier (46.70S/73.76W). With all the collected data, calving fluxes of 0.03 km3 a-1 and 0.08 km3 a-1 were detected at Glaciares Colonia and Nef respectively. At San Rafael, the calving flux was much higher (0.94 km3 a-1) mainly due to a deeper bathymetry near the glacier front, and very high velocities (10m d-1) compared to the eastern side glaciers. At Glaciar San Rafael the calving flux is very likely modulated by tidal components and local buoyancy conditions, while at the eastern glaciers, calving is a near marginal feature compared with ongoing thinning rates due to higher ablation. In the long term perspective, San Rafael is a good example of the tidewater calving cycle described for several glaciers in Alaska and Patagonia. At the eastern side glaciers, frontal retreats have been bigger than at San Rafael in recent years, but in the long term (since the Little Ice Age), San Rafael experienced a much stronger frontal recession (more than 12 km). This contrasting calving behavior between eastern and western margin glaciers, is only enhancing ice losses differences, but not changing ongoing receding trends.;
Bown, F.; Rivera, A.; Burger, F.; Carrión, D.; Cisternas, S.; Gacitúa, G.; Pena, M.; Oberreuter, J.; Silva, R.; Uribe, J. A.; Wendt, A.; Zamora, R.
This August 1950 photo documents the significant changes that occurred during the 9 years between photographs A and B. Muir Glacier has retreated more than 2 miles, exposing Muir Inlet, and thinned 340 feet or more. However, it still is connected with tributary Riggs Glacier....
Despite the small volume of land ice contained in glaciers (less than 1% of the total, including the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets) observations show that glaciers are presently significant sea level rise contributors, with aggregate rates of mass loss estimated to be ca. 40% greater than the combined loss from the ice sheets during the period 1993-2010 and ca. 32% less than the ice sheets over the past decade. Glaciers are expected to continue to be significant contributors in the near term (decades to century), accounting for as much as 30% of total sea level rise by 2100 according to a variety of model projections. Glaciers are also significant sources of uncertainty in sea level projections on decades-to-century time scales, when reductions in uncertainty are of greatest value for policy decisions regarding sea level rise. Despite their acknowledged significance, our capacity to observe, analyze, and model global glacier changes is very weak. The Randolph Glacier Inventory has been a major improvement in the basic information needed to assess present and project future global glacier mass balance changes, but other crucial information is still needed. This includes better observations of regions with high rates of change but minimal observations, such as Alaska and the Himalayas, and a first-order assessment of the capacity for glaciers to undergo rapid dynamic changes. I review the current state of global glacier observation, assessment and modeling, some of the relative uncertainties in the cryospheric components of sea level rise, and options for developing our observational and modeling capacity in the future.
Pfeffer, W. T.
View eastward along Black Rapids Galcier. The Denali fault follows the trace of the glacier. These very large rockslides went a mile across the glacier on the right side. Investigations of the headwall of the middle landslide indicate a volume at least as large as that which fell, has dropped a mete...
In this lesson, students will investigate how glaciers affect the landscape in the context of wondering how the rocks used in the stone walls first got into the ground. Following a directed reading and discussion, they will perform an activity in which they use ice cubes and a bucket of sand to simulate the effects of a glacier.
The Pine Island Glacier is the largest discharger of ice in Antarctica and the continents fastest moving glacier. Even so, when a large crack formed across the glacier in mid 2000, it was surprising how fast the crack expanded, 15 meters per day, and how soon the resulting iceberg broke off, mid-November, 2001. This iceberg, called B-21, is 42 kilometers by 17 kilometers and contains seven years of glacier outflow released to the sea in a single event. This series of images from the MISR instrument on the Terra satellite not only shows the crack expanding and the iceberg breakoff, but the seaward moving glacial flow in the parts of the Pine Island Glacier upstream of the crack.
Perkins, Lori; Mitchell, Horace; Bindschadler, Bob; Diner, Dave
Glaciers and ice sheets represent the second largest reservoir of water in the global hydrologic system and contribute labile dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and macro- and micro- nutrients such as P and Fe to downstream aquatic ecosystems. There is increasing evidence that the biogeochemistry of runoff from glaciers can be substantially modified by microbial activity within glacier ecosystems. To date, there have been relatively few comprehensive studies of the biogeochemistry of glacier runoff from large (>100 square kilometers) glaciers over the full runoff season. We sampled snow, ice melt, and glacial runoff at the Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau, Alaska during the summer of 2011. Mendenhall Glacier extends from near-sea level to >1700 m.a.s.l. and encompasses ~120 km2 of the 3900 km2 Juneau Icefield. The main sub-glacial drainage channel was sampled weekly throughout the glacier melt season (May-October) for a suite of physical (temperature, conductivity, suspended sediment) and biogeochemical (C, N, P, Fe and trace metals) parameters. In addition, we did opportunistic sampling of snow in the glacier accumulation zone and supra-glacial meltwater streams on the glacier surface. A primary goal of our research is to characterize the spatial and temporal variability of the chemical character of glacier-derived organic matter. Concentrations of DOC in snow, ice melt, and sub-glacial runoff were typically low (<0.5 mg C/L) and not well correlated with discharge. To determine the quality and origin of glacially-derived DOC, we employed a suite of organic matter characterization techniques including: carbon isotopes (13C and 14C) and fluorescence spectrophotometry. In addition, we combined estimates of glacier discharge with solute concentrations to calculate fluxes of organic matter and nutrients from the Mendenhall Glacier. These fluxes provide new insights into the role that glacier ecosystems play in exporting organic matter and nutrients to downstream freshwater and marine ecosystems. Finally, the combination of physical and biogeochemical measurements across the melt season provides the opportunity to examine how physical (e.g. seasonal evolution of the glacier drainage system) and biological (e.g. microbial abundance and activity) processes influence the biogeochemistry of glacier runoff.
Hood, E. W.; Scott, D.; Vermilyea, A.; Spencer, R. G.; Stubbins, A.; Raymond, P.
The knowledge about the recent glacier change in the Chugach Mountains of southcentral Alaska is still scarce. In an effort to fill this gap we took an interdisciplinary approach and reconstructed the history of ten selected glaciers in the vicinity of Valdez (e.g., Valdez Glacier) and Cordova (e.g., Sheridan, Childs and Allen Glacier): Historical data such as early maps and photographs allowed for refining the glacier outlines of the early 20th century. Based upon photogrammetric methods, we further derived elevation models and orthomosaics from various airborne images. The Alaska High Altitude Program (AHAP) imagery, taken during the late 1970s, were the primary data of interest and provided a valuable source of information, primarily because they had not been quantitatively evaluated before. Together with the first USGS maps from the1950s and most recent data (airborne LiDAR; as well as air- and space-borne optical data), they allowed for determining the volume and area changes that have occurred within the last 60 years. A GIS analysis revealed that the recent decades have been characterized by rising equilibrium lines and thus retreating and thinning glaciers. The glaciers did not show a consistent recession pattern, which might partly be attributed to the varying area-altitude distributions. Simple hypsographic modeling indicated that the glaciers generally are far away from a state of equilibrium. Given the current climate scenarios and the unfavorable hypsography of most glaciers, the hitherto prevailing trend of glacier melt and recession is likely to continue or accelerate in the upcoming years. Reliably predicting the extents and characteristics of these glaciers at the end of the century remains an important yet poorly answered research question.
Kienholz, Christian; Prakash, Anupma; Nussbaumer, Samuel; Zumbühl, Heinz
Glacier hydrological research in Canada from 2002-2007 continues to advance, driven by new observations of glacier retreat in all regions of the country. New observation networks have been formed to study various aspects of glacier change and linkages with the hydrological system. Small- scale studies of accumulation and melt processes on glacier surfaces continue, and are being used to parameterize
Sarah Boon; Gwenn E. Flowers; D. Scott Munro
Just two glaciers, below the peaks of Triglav (2864 m) and Skuta (2532 m), are persisting in Slovenian Alps, both on a relatively very low elevation. Their present surfaces do not exceed one hectare, thus we can speak only about two glacierets or very small glaciers. The Anton Melik Geographical Institute of the Scientific Research Centre at the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts has regularly performed measurements since 1946. The size of the Triglav glacier, measured in 1946, was 14.4 hectares, and by the year 2012 the glacier had shrunk to a half of a hectare. The direct vicinity of the meteorological station on Mt. Kredarica makes possible an analysis of the dependency of the glacier's fluctuation on weather changes. Several methods of measuring have been applied. Since 1999 we have regularly performed photogrammetric measurements of the glacier, which render possible exact calculations of changes in the glacier's area and volume by individual years. In addition, we also performed georadar measurements in 2000 and 2013. Besides regular annual measurements performed at the end of melting seasons, the Triglav glacier has also been photographed monthly since 1976, from two fixed positions on Mt. Kredarica. In 2012, we performed aerial laser scanning (LIDAR) of the Triglav glacier. While for the last decade of the 20th century we reported that the Triglav glacier has not only retreated but literally disintegrated, in the first decade of the 21st century we can observe its stagnation. Due to the present concave form of the glacier's surface, snow remains on it late into summer, and since the year 2007, the ice of the lower part of the glacier has not been revealed even at the end of the melting season but has remained covered with the firn and snow of previous winters. Should such weather conditions continue and the amount of winter precipitation further increase, the remainder of the Triglav glacier will, though very small in size, continue to exist for next ten years or even more.
Gabrovec, Matej; Ferk, Mateja; Ortar, Jaka
The author has identified the following significant results. The vegetation map in preparation at the time of the last report was refined and labeled. This map is presented as an indication of the spatial and classificatory detail possible from interpretations of enlarged ERTS-1 color photographs. Using this map, areas covered by the several vegetation types characterized by white spruce were determined by planimetry. A 1:63,360 scale land use map of the Juneau area was drawn. This map incorporates the land use classification system now under development by the U.S. Geological Survey. The ERTS-1 images used in making the Juneau map were used to determine changes in surface area of the terminal zones of advancing and receding glaciers, the Taku, Norris, and Mendenhall. A new 1:63,360 scale land use map of the Bonanza Creek Experimental Forest and vicinity was drawn. Several excellent new sciences of test areas were received from NASA in color-infrared transparency format. These are being used for making photographic prints for analysis and mapping according to procedures outlined in this report.
Anderson, J. H. (principal investigator)
This report gives descriptions of the mineral occurrences in the Noatak 1:250,000-scale quadrangle, Alaska. The data presented here are maintained as part of a statewide database on mines, prospects and mineral occurrences throughout Alaska.
Grybeck, Donald J.; Dumoulin, Julie A.
Living with the Coast of Alaska is one of 20 books in the “Living with the Shore” series. It covers a wide range of Alaskan coastal settings, including the ice-stressed shores of the low-relief, desert-like, high Arcticsemi; the coasts of the vast Bering Seasemi; the barren volcanic islands of the Aleutian chainsemi; and south central and southeastern Alaska with their high mountains, large glaciers, steep-sided fjords, heavy precipitation, and active tectonism. Even for the well-seasoned Alaskan, this book offers an education in the incredible diversity of this state's coastal zone.Treating such a broad topic with its multitude of coastal hazards must have been difficult in comparison with other areas covered in the series. But it wasaccomplished quite well through the assistance of experts on coastal hazards and hazard mitigation in construction.
Alaska wildfires have strong impact on air pollution on regional Arctic, Sub-Arctic and even hemispheric scales. In response to a high number of wildfires in Alaska, emphasis has been placed on developing a forecast system for wildfire smoke dispersion in Alaska. We have developed a University of Alaska Fairbanks WRF\\/Chem smoke (UAFSmoke) dispersion system, which has been adapted and initialized
M. Stuefer; G. Grell; S. Freitas; G. Newby
For the heavily glaciated mountains of southern Alaska, few high-resolution, millennial-scale proxy temperature reconstructions\\u000a are available for comparison with modern temperatures or with the history of glacier fluctuations. Recent catastrophic drainage\\u000a of glacier-dammed Iceberg Lake, on the northern margin of the Bagley Icefield, exposed subaerial outcrops of varved lacustrine\\u000a sediments that span the period 442–1998 AD. Here, an updated chronology of
Michael G. Loso
Tidewater glaciers have coalesced to advance through Icy Bay, Alaska, three times during the past 3800 yr. Radiocarbon ages show that the first of these expansions was underway by 3750 cal yr B.P. and culminated at the outer coast between 3505 and 3245 cal yr B.P. Subsequent recession and readvance brought the ice margin back to the outer coast by
David J. Barclay; Julie L. Barclay; Parker E. Calkin; Gregory C. Wiles
Funded in 2005-2008, by the National Science Foundation's Geoscience Education Division, the Experiential Discoveries in Geoscience Education (EDGE) project was designed to use glacier and watershed field experiences as venues for geospatial data collected by Alaska's grade 6-12 middle and high school teachers and their students. EDGE participants were trained in GIS and learned to analyze geospatial data to answer
A. Prakash; C. Connor
The St. Elias orogen in Alaska, the world's highest coastal mountain range, is heavily covered by ice and aggressively eroded by temperate glaciers. Formed through the ongoing oblique collision of the Yakutat terrane with North America, the St. Elias orogen hosts a transition from subduction to strike-slip tectonics, and thus provides an excellent setting for studying coupling between deformation, erosion,
E. Enkelmann; P. K. Zeitler; T. L. Pavlis; J. I. Garver
Landslides represent a key component of catchment-scale denudation, though their relative contribution to the erosion of glaciated basins is not well known. Bedrock landslide contri- bution was investigated on the surface of one of eleven glaciers on a glaciated ridge in the Chugach-St Elias Range of southern Alaska, where the debris from four major landslides is easily distinguished from moraines
Ann M. Arsenault; Andrew J. Meigs
Seasonal ice in the Beaufort Sea off Alaska's North Slope has begun its spring retreat. This true color MODIS image from March 18, 2002, shows the pack ice in the Chuckchi Sea (left) and Beaufort Sea (top) backing away from its winter position snug up against Alaska's coasts, beginning its retreat into the Arctic Ocean. While not as pronounced in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas as other part of the Arctic, scientists studying Arctic sea ice over the course of the century have documented dramatic changes in the extent of Arctic sea ice. It retreats farther in the summer and does not advance as far in the winter than it did a half-century ago. Both global warming and natural variation in regional weather systems have been proposed as causes. Along the coastal plain of the North Slope, gray-brown tracks (see high-resolution image) hint at melting rivers. South of the North Slope, the rugged mountains of the Brooks Range make a coast-to-coast arc across the state. Coming in at the lower right of the image, the Yukon River traces a frozen white path westward across half the image before veering south and out of view. Credit: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC
We present evidence that Pacific sleeper sharks Somniosus pacificus co-occur with harbor seals Phoca vitulina in Glacier Bay, Alaska, and that these sharks scavenge or prey on marine mammals. In 2002, 415 stations were fished throughout Glacier Bay on a systematic sampling grid. Pacific sleeper sharks were caught at 3 of the 415 stations, and at one station a Pacific halibut Hippoglossus stenolepis was caught with a fresh bite, identified as the bite of a sleeper shark. All 3 sharks and the shark-bitten halibut were caught at stations near the mouth of Johns Hopkins Inlet, a glacial fjord with the highest concentration of seals in Glacier Bay. Using a bootstrap technique, we estimated the probability of sampling the sharks (and the shark-bitten halibut) in the vicinity of Johns Hopkins Inlet. If sharks were randomly distributed in Glacier Bay, the probability of sampling all 4 pots at the mouth of Johns Hopkins Inlet was very low (P = 0.00002). The highly non-random distribution of the sleeper sharks located near the largest harbor seal pupping and breeding colony in Glacier Bay suggests that these 2 species co-occur and may interact ecologically in or near Johns Hopkins Inlet. Copyright ?? 2005 by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Taggart, S. J.; Andrews, A. G.; Mondragon, J.; Mathews, E. A.
Aletsch Glacier, the largest glacier of Europe, covers more than 120 square kilometers (more than 45 square miles)in southern Switzerland. At its eastern extremity lies a glacierlake, Mdrjelensee (2,350 meters/7,711 feet above sea level). To the west rises Aletschhorn (4,195 meters/13,763 feet), which was first climbed in 1859. The Rhone River flows along the southern flank of the mountains.This image was acquired on July 23, 2001 by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA's Terra satellite. With its 14 spectral bands from the visible to the thermal infrared wavelength region, and its high spatial resolution of 15 to 90 meters (about 50 to 300 feet), ASTER will image Earth for the next 6 years to map and monitor the changing surface of our planet. ASTER is one of five Earth-observing instruments launched December 18, 1999, on NASA's Terra satellite. The instrument was built by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. A joint U.S./Japan science team is responsible for validation and calibration of the instrument and the data products.The broad spectral coverage and high spectral resolution of ASTER will provide scientists in numerous disciplines with critical information for surface mapping, and monitoring dynamic conditions and temporal change. Example applications are: monitoring glacial advances and retreats; monitoring potentially active volcanoes; identifying crop stress; determining cloud morphology and physical properties; wetlands evaluation; thermal pollution monitoring; coral reef degradation; surface temperature mapping of soils and geology; and measuring surface heat balance.Dr. Anne Kahle at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, is the U.S. Science team leader; Bjorn Eng of JPL is the project manager. The Terra mission is part of NASA's Earth Science Enterprise, a long-term research and technology program designed to examine Earth's land, oceans, atmosphere, ice and life as a total integrated system.Size: 60 x 56 km (37.2 x 34.7 miles) Location: 46.5 deg. North lat., 8.0 deg. East long. Orientation: North at top Image Data: ASTER bands 1,2, and 3. Original Data Resolution: 15 m Date Acquired: July 23, 2001
Major uncertainties surround future estimates of sea level rise attributable to mass loss from the polar ice sheets and ice caps. Understanding changes across the Arctic is vital as major potential contributors to sea level, the Greenland Ice Sheet and the ice caps and glaciers of the Canadian Arctic archipelago, have experienced dramatic changes in recent times. Most ice mass loss is currently focused at a relatively small number of glacier catchments where ice acceleration, thinning and calving occurs at ocean margins. Research suggests that these tidewater glaciers accelerate and iceberg calving rates increase when warming ocean currents increase melt on the underside of floating glacier ice and when adjacent sea ice is removed causing a reduction in 'buttressing' back stress. Thus localised changes in ocean temperatures and in sea ice (extent and thickness) adjacent to major glacial catchments can impact hugely on the dynamics of, and hence mass lost from, terrestrial ice sheets and ice caps. Polynyas are areas of open water within sea ice which remain unfrozen for much of the year. They vary significantly in size (~3 km2 to > ~50,000 km2 in the Arctic), recurrence rates and duration. Despite their relatively small size, polynyas play a vital role in the heat balance of the polar oceans and strongly impact regional oceanography. Where polynyas develop adjacent to tidewater glaciers their influence on ocean circulation and water temperatures may play a major part in controlling subsurface ice melt rates by impacting on the water masses reaching the calving front. Areas of open water also play a significant role in controlling the potential of the atmosphere to carry moisture, as well as allowing heat exchange between the atmosphere and ocean, and so can influence accumulation on (and hence thickness of) glaciers and ice caps. Polynya presence and size also has implications for sea ice extent and therefore potentially the buttressing effect on neighbouring tidewater glaciers. The work presented discusses preliminary satellite observations of concurrent changes in the North Water and Nares Strait polynyas and neighbouring tidewater glaciers in Greenland and the Canadian Arctic where notable thinning and acceleration of glaciers have been observed. Also included is an outline of how these observations will fit into a much wider project on the topic involving ocean, atmosphere and sea ice modelling and short-term and longer-term in-situ measurements.
Earthquake risk is high in much of the southern half of Alaska, but it is not the same everywhere. This map shows the overall geologic setting in Alaska that produces earthquakes. The Pacific plate (darker blue) is sliding northwestward past southeastern Alaska and then dives beneath the North American plate (light blue, green, and brown) in southern Alaska, the Alaska Peninsula, and the Aleutian Islands. Most earthquakes are produced where these two plates come into contact and slide past each other. Major earthquakes also occur throughout much of interior Alaska as a result of collision of a piece of crust with the southern margin.
Haeussler, Peter J.; Plafker, George
A belt of volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits extends for over 150km along the southern margin of the Yukon-Tanana terrane of the eastern Alaska Range. Located north of the Denali fault, the Yukon-Tanana terrane forms a major basement unit in east-central Alaska. The volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits are primarily in the Jarvis Creek Glacier subterrane, which consists of a volcanogenic massive sulfide-bearing metavolcanic rock member and a metasedimentary rock member. Two periods of regional metamorphism and penetrative deformation are indicated: an older, Early Cretaceous, amphibolite facies event and a younger, mid-Cretaceous lower greenschist facies event. The occurrence, mineralogy and sulphur isotope values are discussed. -from Authors
Lange, I. M.; Nokleberg, W. J.; Newkirk, S. R.; Aleinikoff, J. N.; Church, S. E.; Krouse, H. R.
Long-term glacier measurements are scarce in the Himalayas, partly due to lack of resources as well as inaccessibility of most of the glaciers. There are over 600 glaciers in Bhutan in the Eastern Himalayas, but no long-term measurements. However, such studies are an important component of hydrological modelling, and especially relevant to the proposed expansion of hydropower resources in this area. Glaciological studies are also critical to understanding the risk of jøkulhlaups or GLOFS (glacier lake outburst floods) from glaciers in this region. Glacier mass balance measurements have been initiated on a glacier in the Chamkhar Chu region in central Bhutan by the Department of Hydro-Met Services in co-operation with the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate. Chamkhar Chu is the site of two proposed hydropower plants that will each generate over 700 MW, although the present and future hydrological regimes in this basin, and especially the contribution from glaciers, are not well-understood at present. There are about 94 glaciers in the Chamkhar Chhu basin and total glacier area is about 75 sq. km. The glaciers are relatively accessible for the Himalayas, most of them can be reached after only 4-5 days walk from the nearest road. One of the largest, Thana glacier, has been chosen as a mass balance glacier and measurements were initiated in 2013. The glacier area is almost 5 sq. km. and the elevation range is 500 m (5071 m a.s.l. to 5725 m a.s.l.) making it suitable as a benchmark glacier. Preliminary measurements on a smaller, nearby glacier that was visited in 2012 and 2013 showed 1 m of firn loss (about 0.6 m w.eq.) over 12 months.
Jackson, Miriam; Tenzin, Sangay; Tashi, Tshering
Over the last decade many outlet glaciers from the Greenland Ice Sheet have accelerated and thinned, and in a number of cases their termini have retreated. There is much in common from glacier to glacier that emerges as these changes are studied, yet the actual physical mechanisms remain unclear. One can show that the spatial patterns and timing of outlet
M. Truffer; M. A. Fahnestock; J. M. Amundson
Jakobshavns Glacier, a floating outlet glacier on the West Greenland coast, was surveyed during July 1976. The vertical displacements of targets along two profiles perpendicular to the fjord wall bounding the north margin of the glacier were analyzed to determine the effect of flexure caused by tidal oscillations within the fjord. An analysis based on the assumption that vertical displacements
Craig S. Lingle; Terence J. Hughes; Ronald C. Kollmeyer
Jakobshavns Glacier, a floating outlet glacier on the West Greenland coast, was surveyed during July 1976. The vertical displacements of targets along two profiles perpendicular to the fjord wall bounding the north margin of the glacier were analyzed to determine the effect of flexure caused by tidal oscillations within the fjord. An analysis based on the assumption that vertical displacements
Craig S. Lingle; Terence J. Hughes; Ronald C. Kollmeyer
Discusses the use of remote sensing from satellites to monitor glaciers. Discusses efforts to use remote sensing satellites of the Landsat series for examining the global distribution, mass, balance, movements, and dynamics of the world's glaciers. Includes several Landsat images of various glaciers. (TW)
Hall, Dorothy K.
This review describes Alaska's economic boom of the early 1980s, the current recession, and economic projections for the 1990s. Alaska's economy is largely influenced by oil prices, since petroleum revenues make up 80% of the state government's unrestricted general fund revenues. Expansive state spending was responsible for most of Alaska's…
Alaska Review of Social and Economic Conditions, 1987
Pursuant to the Native land claims within Alaska, this compilation of background data and interpretive materials relevant to a fair resolution of the Alaska Native problem seeks to record data and information on the Native peoples; the land and resources of Alaska and their uses by the people in the past and present; land ownership; and future…
Arnold, Robert D.; And Others
It has been possible to measure glacier recession on the basis of Landsat data, in conjunction with comparisons of the magnitude of recession of a glacier margin with in situ measurements at fixed points along the same margin. Attention is presently given to the cases of Vatnajokull ice cap, in Iceland, and the Pasterze Glacier, in Austria, on the basis of satellite data from 1973-1987 and 1984-1990, respectively. Indications of a trend toward negative mass balance are noted. Nevertheless, while most of the world's small glaciers have been receding, some are advancing either due to local climate or the tidewater glacier cycle.
Hall, Dorothy K.; Williams, Richard S., Jr.; Bayr, Klaus J.
This animation shows glacier recesion at the Breidamerkurjokull glacier in Iceland. The data from 1973 is taken from Landsat 1 and the 2000 data is from Landsat 7. The Breidamerkurjokull glacier in Iceland has been measured by Landsat to be receding since 1973. The glacierologists in Iceland and here at NASAs Goddard Space Flight Center have measured the recession throughout the entire glacier and found different rates of recession in different areas. In genral, the glacier seems to be receding at about 2% annually. It is extremely controversial whether or not this recession is caused by global warming.
Perkins, Lori; Hall, Dorothy
It has been possible to measure glacier recession on the basis of Landsat data, in conjunction with comparisons of the magnitude of recession of a glacier margin with in situ measurements at fixed points along the same margin. Attention is presently given to the cases of Vatnajokull ice cap, in Iceland, and the Pasterze Glacier, in Austria, on the basis of satellite data from 1973-1987 and 1984-1990, respectively. Indications of a trend toward negative mass balance are noted. Nevertheless, while most of the world's small glaciers have been receding, some are advancing either due to local climate or the tidewater glacier cycle.
Hall, Dorothy K.; Williams, Richard S., Jr.; Bayr, Klaus J.
The effect of temperate glaciers on runoff variations is examined for the North Cascade Mountains of Washington State. An algorithm is presented that calculates the coefficient of variation of runoff for any arbitrary glacier cover. The results suggest that a minimum in year-to-year variation occurs for basins about 36% glacierized. On a month-to-month basis, maximum variation occurs in July and August for basins with less than 10% glacier cover but is a minimum for basins with glacier covers greater than 30%. -from Authors
Fountain, A. G.; Tangborn, W. V.
Hydrologic and hydraulic updates for Duck Creek and the lower part of Jordan Creek in Juneau, Alaska, included computation of new estimates of peak streamflow magnitudes and new water-surface profiles for the 10-, 50-, 100-, and 500-year floods. Computations for the 2-, 5-, 10-, 25-, 50-, 100-, 200-, and 500-year recurrence interval flood magnitudes for both streams used data from U.S. Geological Survey stream-gaging stations weighted with regional regression equations for southeast Alaska. The study area for the hydraulic model consisted of three channels: Duck Creek from Taku Boulevard near the stream's headwaters to Radcliffe Road near the end of the Juneau International Airport runway, an unnamed tributary to Duck Creek from Valley Boulevard to its confluence with Duck Creek, and Jordan Creek from a pedestrian bridge upstream from Egan Drive to Crest Street at Juneau International Airport. Field surveys throughout the study area provided channel geometry for 206 cross sections, and geometric and hydraulic characteristics for 29 culverts and 15 roadway, driveway, or pedestrian bridges. Hydraulic modeling consisted of application of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Hydrologic Engineering Center River Analysis System (HEC-RAS) for steady-state flow at the selected recurrence intervals using an assumed high tide of 20 feet and roughness coefficients refined by calibration to measured water-surface elevations from a 2- to 5-year flood that occurred on November 21, 2005. Model simulation results identify inter-basin flow from Jordan Creek to the southeast at Egan Drive and from Duck Creek to Jordan Creek downstream from Egan Drive at selected recurrence intervals.
Curran, Janet H.
We describe the instrumentation, power, communications, and lessons learned from ongoing four+ years of measurements at the terminus of Mendenhall Glacier. In this presentation we focus on the most successful microserver deployment. The microserver is a simple rugged computer with a radio modem that can survive and operate outdoors in harsh environments like Antarctica. The system is called a microserver because of the networking capabilities, particularly as it may act as anchor points for localized lightweight sensor networks. SEAMONSTER, the SouthEast Alaska MOnitoring Network for Science, Technology, Education and Research, is a demonstration sensor web effort. The microserver design for SEAMONSTER is intended to provide general capabilities that could be used in harsh environments specifically for cryospheric observations. At the Mendenhall terminus the observations included meteorologic data and repeat digital photography. Other SEAMONSTER stations included snow accumulation and density, precision GPS, seismic, water pressure, and other measurements. Power generation at the Mendenhall deployment is both solar and wind.
Heavner, M.; Fatland, D. R.
We describe volumetric changes in three benchmark glaciers in the Nepal Himalayas on which observations have been made since the 1970s. Compared with the global mean of glacier mass balance, the Himalayan glaciers showed rapid wastage in the 1970s–1990s, but similar wastage in the last decade. In the last decade, a glacier in an arid climate showed negative but suppressed mass balance compared with the period 1970s–1990s, whereas two glaciers in a humid climate showed accelerated wastage. A mass balance model with downscaled gridded datasets depicts the fate of the observed glaciers. We also show a spatially heterogeneous distribution of glacier wastage in the Asian highlands, even under the present-day climate warming.
Fujita, Koji; Nuimura, Takayuki
Brewer 134 is located in Glacier NP, measuring ultraviolet solar radiation. Irradiance and column ozone are derived from this data. Ultraviolet solar radiation is measured with a Brewer Mark IV, single-monochrometer, spectrophotometer manufactured by SCI-TEC Instruments, Inc. of ...
This article assembles free resources from the Icebergs and Glaciers issue of the Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears cyberzine into a unit outline based on the 5E learning cycle framework. Outlines are provided for Grades K-2 and 3-5.
The aim of the project is to develop a scheme to model the dynamics of any given glacier system from the input data of bedrock distribution and accumulation or ablation (or balance) distribution as functions of time. The emphasis is on matching reality to provide a practical means of interpreting the history of change of an ice mass. The full
W. F. Budd; D. Jenssen
Projections of future rates of mass loss from mountain glaciers and ice caps in the Arctic focus primarily on projections of changes in the surface mass balance. Current models are not yet capable of making realistic forecasts of changes in losses by calving. Surface mass balance models are forced with downscaled output from climate models driven by forcing scenarios that make assumptions about the future rate of growth of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. Thus, mass loss projections vary considerably, depending on the forcing scenario used and the climate model from which climate projections are derived. A new study in which a surface mass balance model is driven by output from ten general circulation models (GCMs) forced by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) A1B emissions scenario yields estimates of total mass loss of between 51 and 136 mm sea-level equivalent (SLE) (or 13% to 36% of current glacier volume) by 2100. This implies that there will still be substantial glacier mass in the Arctic in 2100 and that Arctic mountain glaciers and ice caps will continue to influence global sea-level change well into the 22nd century.
Ananichheva, Maria; Arendt, Anthony; Hagen, Jon-Ove; Hock, Regine; Josberger, Edward G.; Moore, R. Dan; Pfeffer, William Tad; Wolken, Gabriel J.
This study focuses on the influence of lakes and debris cover on the glacier area changes, in the data scarce Sikkim Himalayas, between 1990 and 2010, using Landsat TM and IRS images. A new technique of estimating 'interpretation uncertainty' while mapping glacier terminus on satellite images, is introduced. The overall study showed (i) a glacier area loss of 3 × 0.8 % in 20 years. We also observed the presence of lakes on many debris-covered glaciers, and its expansion accelerated the glacier retreat by 9 ×1.4 %. Though some 'debris-covered glaciers' showed stable fronts, the gradual development and coalescence of supraglacial lakes led to the formation of moraine dam lakes at the terminus. This investigation suggests that 'debris cover' on glaciers can enhance the development of glacial lakes. As a consequence, the retreat of debris-covered glaciers associated with lakes is clearly higher than that of debris-free glaciers. Location of glacier in Sikkim. The map shows the location of glaciers studied in this investigation. : Evolution and coalescence of a supra glacial lake and the formation of a moraine dam. Figs. a and b show no frontal change between 1990 and 1997. Fig. b shows the evolution of a supraglacial lake and fig. c shows the coalescence of supraglacial lake, which occupies glacier area between two lateral moraines. Fig. d shows the formation of a moraine dam lake leading to glacierarea loss.(The yellow line represents the glacier boundary for the year 1990; and red line is the glacier terminus for the year 2009). The four imagesused is a false colour composite with a band combination of red, NIR and SWIR.
basnett, S.; Kulkarni, A. V.; Bolch, T.
Various work confirmed the fast retreating of Tibetan Plateau glacier in recent decades due to global warming, especially the area shrinkage by remote sensing method. In recent years, more concern is focused on the effect of glacier melting on available water resource surrounding the glacier region. Consequently, the glacier ice volume change is of more importance in this sense. In this work, we present a result from directly measured glacier surface altitude change by differential GPS. By comparing the preciously measured altitude change from 2007 to 2011 at three glaciers in the southern Tibetan Plateau, we can give a reliable glacier thinning ratio in the past few years. The measured results from Gurenhekou Glacier, Yangbajing, show the ice depth loss is 3.96m in past 4 years from 2007 to 2011. In Kangwure glacier, Xixiabangma, the average depth loss is 2.70m in 3 years, and thus the annual glacier depth loss is 0.90m based on the observation from September 2007 to August 2010. The glacier depth loss is 1.4m on Naimon'nyi Glacier, one of the largest glaciers in west Himalayas, with an average annual loss of 0.7meter. Although the monitoring period is still limited, the quite similar ice losing ratio (0.7-1.0 m per year) in the southern Himalayas indicating the quite homogenous ice losing in different regions and with different glacier size and orientation. This work also finds that both ablation zone and accumulation zone are losing their ice, indicating the glacier flowing is also involves in the glacier thinning rather than the surface melting. This result also emphasizes the importance of GPS measurement compared to the stake-based mass balance observation. We are stilling working on even longer period monitoring and more glaciers to get more representative data to evaluate the glacier melting trends in the Tibetan Plateau.
Tian, L.; Zong, J.; Yao, T.; Ma, L.; Pu, J.
Glaciers of Alaska, USA, and Northwestern Canada are shedding mass at one of the highest rates of any mountain glacier system, with significant impact at the global and local scales. Despite advances in satellite and airborne technologies, fully characterizing the temporal evolution of glacier mass change in individual watersheds remains a challenge. Temperature index modeling is an approach that can be used to expand on sparse ground observations, and that can help bridge the gap between regional and individual watershed estimates of the time series of glacier mass change. Here we present a study on temperature index modeling of glacier-wide mass balance for the large Kahiltna Glacier (502 km2, 270 to 6100 m in elevation) in the Central Alaska Range, using a combination of ground observations and past climate data products. We reproduce mass changes from 1991 to 2011, and assess model performance by comparing our results to several field and remote sensing datasets. First, we compare our results to a 20-year record of mass balance measurements at a National Park Service index site at the glacier's equilibrium line altitude. We find low correlation between index site measurements and modeled glacier-wide balances (R2 = 0.24), indicating that the index site may not be representative of the glacier-wide mass balance regime. We compare next to glacier-wide mass balances derived from airborne laser altimetry, to assess the model's long-term mass change estimates. We find disagreement between the mean annual balances for 1995 to 2010 (-0.95 +/-0.49 m w.e. yr --1 from the model versus -0.69 +0.07/-0.08 m w.e. yr --1 from laser altimetry). To validate the laser altimetry methods, we then compare estimates from 1951 to 2011 from laser altimetry and digital elevation model differencing, finding close agreement (-0.48 +0.08/-0.09 m w.e. yr--1 and -0.41 +/-0.26 m w.e. yr--1 , respectively), and lending strength to the laser altimetry centerline extrapolation techniques. We also examine estimates derived from regionally-downscaled satellite gravimetry. While gravimetry likely underestimates long-term mass loss for this glacier (-0.36 +/-0.13 m w.e. yr--1 for 2003 to 2010), it correlates well to individual modeled annual balances (R2 = 0.72) and to the time series of mass balance at an ablation stake location (R2 = 0.81). Given ongoing refinements to gravimetry downscaling and geodetic techniques, our results point to the potential for integrating multiple methods to obtain the most information on subannual and long-term mass changes at the basin scale for remote sites such as the Kahiltna Glacier.
Young, Joanna C.
The characteristics of sediment discharge in the Yukon River, Alaska were investigated by monitoring water discharge, water turbidity and water temperature. The river-transported sediment, 90 wt.% or more, consists of silt and clay (grain size ??? 62.5 ??m), which probably originated in the glacier-covered mountains mostly in the Alaska Range. For early June to late August 1999, we continuously measured water turbidity and temperature near the estuary and in the middle of Yukon River by using self-recording turbidimeters and temperature data loggers. The water turbidity (ppm) was converted to suspended sediment concentration (SSC; mg/l) of river water, using a relation between simultaneous turbidity and SSC at each of the two sites, and then, the suspended sediment discharge, approximately equal to water discharge times SSC, was numerically obtained every 1 or 2 h. It should be noted that the sediment discharge in the Yukon River is controlled by SSC rather than water discharge. As a result, a peak sediment discharge occurred in mid or late August by local sediment runoffs due to glacier-melt (or glacier-melt plus rainfall), while a peak water discharge was produced by snowmelt in late June or early July. Application of the "extended Shields diagram" indicates that almost all the river-transported sediments are under complete suspension. ?? 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Chikita, K. A.; Kemnitz, R.; Kumai, R.
Following translocations to the outer coast of Southeast Alaska in 1965, sea otters have been expanding their range and increasing in abundance. We began conducting surveys for sea otters in Cross Sound, Icy Strait, and Glacier Bay, Alaska in 1994, following initial reports (in 1993) of their presence in Glacier Bay. Since 1995, the number of sea otters in Glacier Bay proper has increased from around 5 to more than 1500. Between 1993 and 1997 sea otters were apparently only occasional visitors to Glacier Bay, but in 1998 long-term residence was established as indicated by the presence of adult females and their dependent pups. Sea otter distribution is limited to the Lower Bay, south of Sandy Cove, and is not continuous within that area. Concentrations occur in the vicinity of Sita Reef and Boulder Island and between Pt. Carolus and Rush Pt. on the west side of the Bay (Figure 1). We describe the diet of sea otters during 2001 in Glacier Bay based on visual observations of prey during 456 successful forage dives. In Glacier Bay, diet consisted of 62% clam, 15% mussel, 9% crab, 7% unidentified, 4& urchins, and 4% other. Most prey recovered by sea otters are commercially, socially, or ecologically important species. Species of clam include Saxidomus gigantea, Protothaca staminea, and Mya truncata. Urchins are primarily Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis and the mussel is Modiolus modiolus. Crabs include species of three genera: Cancer, Chinoecetes, and Telmessus. Although we characterize diet at broad geographic scales, we found diet to vary between sites separated by as little as several hundred meters. Dietary variation among and within sites can reflect differences in prey availability and individual specialization. We estimated species composition, density, biomass, and sizes of subtidal clams, urchins, and mussels at 9 sites in lower Glacier Bay. All sites were selected based on the presence of abundant clam siphons. Sites were not selected to allow inference to any area larger than the sampling area (approx 400 m^2). Sites were selected to achieve a broad geographic sample of dense subtidal clam beds within Glacier Bay prior to occupation and foraging by sea otters. There was no direct evidence of otter foraging at any of our clam sampling sites. We sampled 11,568 bivalves representing 14 speces of clam and 2 species of mussel. We sampled 4,981 urchins, all Strongylocentrotus droeobachiensis. Only four species of clam (littleneck clams, Protothaca staminea; butter clams, Saxidomus gigantea; soft-shell claims, Mya truncata; and Macoma sp.) accounted for 91.6% of all clams sampled. Mean total clam density (#/0.25 m^2) across the 9 sites was 62.3. Densities (and se ) of P. staminea averaged 22.6 (1.6) and ranged from 0 to 97. Densities of S. gigantea averaged 14.4 (1.0) and ranged from 0 to 63. Densities of Macoma sp. averaged 14.5 (1.2) and ranged from 0 to 78. Densities of S. droebachiensis averaged 27.3 (1.7) and ranged from 0 to 109. Mean S. droebachiensis sizes ranged from 16 to 30 mm by site. Mean P. staminea sizes ranged from 30 to 53 mm, mean S. gigantea sizes ranged from 51 to 85 mm, and mean Macoma sp. sizes ranged from 14 to 19 mm. Although not the most abundant clam, S. gigantea contributed the greatest proportion to total clam biomass (63%), followed by P. staminea (24%). Sea otters are now well established in limited areas of the lower portions of Glacier Bay. It is likely that distribution and numbers of sea otters will continue to increase in Glacier Bay in the near future. Glacier Bay supports large and diverse populations of clams that are largely unexploited by sea otters presently. It is predictable that the density and sizes of clam populations will decline in response to otter predation. This will result in fewer opportunities for human harvest, but will also trigger ecosystem level changes, as prey for other predators, such as octopus, sea stars, fishes, birds and mammals are modified. Sea ott
Bodkin, J. L.; Kloecker, K. A.; Esslinger, G. G.; Monson, D. H.; DeGroot, J. D.; Doherty, J.
Radiocarbon dates from wood, organic sediments, and marine shells were collected from eroded beach terraces and upper beach sediments in the Beardslee Islands and Berg Bay in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska. These provide a timetable for the the outwash plain construction and final advance of the Late Neoglacial glacier front over this outwash plain into lower Glacier Bay. On Kidney Island in the central Beardslee Islands, marine sediments containing Macoma baltica shells were deposited 4310 +/- 40 years BP. Outwash from advancing up-bay glaciers, buried these sediments and created terrestrial substrates upon which forests existed by 1630 +/- 60 BP and 1300 +/- 50 yrs BP. Final ice advance over this forested outwash plain occurred after 430 +/- 60 BP (1430 to 1510 AD) on Kidney Island. This ice arrived at the southern edge of Lester Island in Bartlett Cove after 370 +/- 50 BP (1440 to 1520 AD); preceding the arrival of George Vancouver in 1794 AD. In nearby Icy Straits, archeological investigations have yielded some of the oldest dates of human occupation in the region at 10,180 +/- 800 uncorrected years BP (Ackerman, 1968). In Glacier Bay's ethno-historically rich areas of Bartlett Cove, the Beardslee Islands and Berg Bay the Huna people have names for places and narratives that describe late Neoglacial landscapes. S'é Shuyee is the "area at the end of the glacial mud", L'awsha Shakee Aan "town on top of the glacial sand dunes". There are accounts of villages overrun by surging glaciers, and a name for the bay Sit' eeti Geeyi that translates as "bay in place of the glacier". These dates provide linkage between the geological, archeological, and ethnohistorical evidence that chronicles the history of the Huna people in this dynamic glacier marine environment.
Connor, C. L.; Monteith, D.; Howell, W.; Strevelar, G.; Leirer, M.
Alaska's Bering Glacier is a very dynamic glacier system which exhibits frequent surges. The past two cycles of surge advance and subsequent retreat have been well documented. Beginning prior to the 1993-1995 surge, remotely sensed imagery, photography and ground-based observations have advanced understanding of the glaciological, geological and hydrological processes related to the surge and the surge's ecological effects on fish, marine mammals and vegetation. The last surge of Bering Glacier occurred between 2008 and 2011. During the past year the glacier terminus has begun to retreat, suggesting that the surge has ended. Following the end of the previous surge, which occurred between 1993 and 1995, the terminus of the Bering Lobe in the Tashalich Arm retreated as much as 7 km, mainly through disarticulation. During the recent surge, from fall 2010 to late summer 2011, the terminus advanced over 3.3 km with an average velocity of 11.5 m/d. Imagery from the Global Fiducials Program has been used in documenting the post-1995 retreat of the Bering Glacier terminus and monitoring the rapid changes during the last surge. The imagery captures the post-1995 retreat, the subsequent terminus flattening and disarticulation, and the 2008-2011 surge with its large-scale displacement and intense fracturing of the ice as the terminus advanced from its 2010 maximum retreat position. This presentation documents this monitoring effort and compares and contrasts these last two surges to help understand the dynamics of Bering Glacier's surge behavior, processes, events and rates of change.
Angeli, K.; Molnia, B. F.
Mapping glacier extent from optical satellite data has become a most efficient tool to create or update glacier inventories and determine glacier changes over time. A most valuable archive in this regard is the nearly 30-year time series of Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) data that is freely available (already orthorectified) for most regions in the world from the USGS. One region with a most dramatic glacier shrinkage and a missing systematic assessment of changes, is the Palena province in Chile, located south of Puerto Montt in northern Patagonia. A major bottleneck for accurate determination of glacier changes in this region is related to the huge amounts of snow falling in this very maritime region, hiding the perimeter of glaciers throughout the year. Consequently, we found only three years with Landsat scenes that can be used to map glacier extent through time. We here present the results of a glacier change analysis from six Landsat scenes (path-rows 232-89/90) acquired in 1985, 2000 and 2011 covering the Palena district in Chile and neighbouring regions. Clean glacier ice was mapped automatically with a standard technique (TM3/TM band ratio) and manual editing was applied to remove wrongly classified lakes and to add debris-covered glacier parts. The digital elevation model (DEM) from ASTER (GDEM2) was used to derive drainage divides, determine glacier specific topographic parameters, and analyse the area changes in regard to topography. The scene from the year 2000 has the best snow conditions and was used to eliminate seasonal snow in the other two scenes by digital combination of the binary glacier masks and neighbourhood analysis. The derived mean relative area loss over the entire study area is 25%, showing a large spatial variability and a strong dependence on elevation. While small mountain glaciers at high elevations and steep slopes show only little change over the 26-year period, ice at low elevations from large valley glaciers shows a dramatic decline (area and thickness loss). Some glaciers retreated more than 3 km over this time period or even disappeared completely. Typically, these glaciers lost contact to the accumulation areas of tributaries and melted away as dead ice. Furthermore, numerous proglacial lakes formed or expanded rapidly, increasing the local hazard potential. On the other hand, some glaciers located on or near to (still active) volcanoes have also slightly advanced over the same time period. Observed trends in temperature (decreasing) are in contrast to the observed strong glacier shrinkage, indicating that also other factors must play a role.
Paul, Frank; Mölg, Nico
The widely discussed controversy about Himalayan glacier changes instigated a current boom in studies on a regional scale. In contrast to often simplified assumptions of general and mostly rapid glacier retreat, recent studies show a more complex pattern with stable, advancing and retreating glaciers. Furthermore, changes of debris covered glaciers are discussed controversial. Due to the great vertical span and steep relief, large ice streams in the Himalaya and Karakoram are often primarily fed by avalanches. Their impact on glacier mass balances is often unconsidered in present studies. However, Hewitt (2014) highlighted the crucial role of snow and ice re-distribution by avalanches for Karakoram glaciers. He used a concept of glacier typology based on different nourishment processes introduced at the beginning of the 20th century. By using this concept, Hewitt classified large glaciers in order to identify the effect of avalanches on the mass balance, because many Karakoram glaciers show low down-wasting or even thickening processes described as the "Karakoram anomaly" (Hewitt 2005). Also in the Nanga Parbat region, the western corner of the High Himalaya, the topography is characterized by steep rock walls with vertical distances up to 4700 m. The debris covered glaciers reach down to 2920 m a.s.l. and are regularly fed by small and large avalanches. Our field based investigations show that the glaciers are characterized by small retreating rates since 1857, when Adolph Schlagintweit has mapped them for the first time; others such as the Raikot Glacier are fluctuating since 1934. Furthermore, the extent of down-wasting varies between different glaciers. By using multi-temporal satellite data, topographical maps, sketches and terrestrial photographs changes of glacier lengths were measured. In order to calculate the down-wasting rates, a digital elevation model (DEM) with a spatial resolution of 30x30 m² was derived from the digitized contour lines of the topographic map of 1934 and compared to the SRTM-DEM. Furthermore, based on topographical parameters derived from the SRTM-DEM, the glaciers were classified, using Hewitt's concept. The area of steep rock walls and the ratio between accumulation and ablation zones were calculated for each glacier basin. References: Hewitt, K. 2005: The Karakoram anomaly? Glacier expansion and the 'elevation effect', Karakoram Himalaya. Mountain Research and Development 25 (4), S. 332-340 Hewitt, K. 2014: Glaciers of the Karakoram Himalaya: Glacial Environments, Processes, Hazards and Resources. Springer. Dordrecht.
Schmidt, Susanne; Nüsser, Marcus
Many rock glaciers contain massive ice that may be useful in paleoclimate studies. Interpreting geochemical ice-core records from rock glaciers requires a thorough understanding of rock glacier structure and dynamics. High-precision surface-velocity data were obtained for the Galena Creek rock glacier, Absaroka Mountains, Wyoming. Surface velocities range from 0 to 1.00 m/yr and vary across the rock glacier in a manner similar to true glaciers. We used Glen's flow law to calculate the thickness of the deforming ice layer. The modeled ice thickness ranges from 0 to 50 m, and is confirmed by direct observations. This agreement shows that rock glacier movement can be entirely explained by deformation of massive ice within the rock glacier; neither basal sliding nor deformation of basal debris is necessary. Recovered ice cores (to depths of 25 m) contain thin debris layers associated with summer ablation in the accumulation zone. The ages of four samples of organic material removed from several debris layers inthe southern half of the rock glacier range from 200 ± 40 to 2250 ± 35 14C yr B.P., demonstrating that the rock glacier formed well before the Little Ice Age and may contain ice dating to the middle Holocene or earlier.
Konrad, S. K.; Humphrey, N. F.; Steig, E. J.; Clark, D. H.; Potter, N., Jr.; Pfeffer, W. T.
Presented are comments from hearings held at Anchorage, Alaska on the Trans Alaska Pipeline: Housing the Alaska Native by Charles Abrams; Pamphlet entitled Valdez Reborn; Statement together with maps submitted by Tony Smith; Map submitted by C. C. Hawley;...
The Chugach-St.-Elias Mountains in North America hold the largest non-polar connected glaciated area of the world. Most of its larger glaciers are surge-type glaciers. In the summer of 2003, we collected aerial photographic and GPS data over numerous glaciers in the eastern St. Elias Mountains, including the Glacier Bay area. Observed glaciers include Davidson, Casement, McBride, Riggs, Cushing, Carroll, Rendu, Tsirku, Grand Pacific, Melbern, Ferris, Margerie, Johns Hopkins, Lamplugh, Reid, Burroughs, Morse, Muir and Willard Glaciers, of which Carroll, Rendu, Ferris, Grand Pacific, Johns Hopkins and Margerie Glaciers are surge-type glaciers. Our approach utilizes a quantitative analysis of surface patterns, following the principles of structural geology for the analysis of brittle-deformation patterns (manifested in crevasses) and ductile deformation patterns (visible in folded moraines). First results will be presented.
Mayer, H.; Herzfeld, U. C.
Rates of erosion by tidewater glaciers in Alaska, derived from glaciomarine sediments deposited in adjacent fjords, are recognized to be up to one order of magnitude higher than the highest rates of erosion elsewhere in the world. These record rates are representative of tidewater glaciers during their extensive retreat of the past century, however, and are likely to be substantially higher than erosion rates averaged over the entire glacial-interglacial cycle. We examine the influence of retreat rate on sediment yields from tidewater glaciers by reconstructing the history of sediment output from a retreating tidewater glacier necessary to produce the sediment packages observed in seismic profiles of contemporary fjords. Using a numerical model of proglacial sedimentation, seismic profiles of glaciomarine sediments, and a history of terminus retreat, we calculate the sediment flux as a function of time from Tyndall Glacier, Icy Bay for the period 1961-1999, and from Muir Glacier, Glacier Bay, from 1900-1979. In both cases, the ice flux in the terminus region and the sediment flux both clearly scale with the retreat rate. The drastic retreat of most tidewater glaciers and the marked regional drawdown of ice since the Little Ice Age are both linked to unusually rapid calving and fast ice motion and, by inference, to anomalously rapid erosion. Thus, glacial erosion rates inferred from total sediment budgets in recently deglaciated fjords are substantially larger than long-term rates. For Tyndall Glacier, the average sediment flux during the 1961-1999 period is 5.32 x 108 m3/a, corresponding to a basin-wide erosion rate of 35 mm/a; during periods of rapid retreat, the erosion rate is up to three times higher, exceeding glacial-interglacial rates by over an order of magnitude.
Koppes, M. N.; Hallet, B.; Merrand, Y.
The Gulf of Alaska drainage basin contains more than 75,000 km2 of glaciers, many of which are rapidly thinning and receding. We are using a paired watershed approach to evaluate how changes in glacier ecosystems will impact the export dissolved organic matter (DOM) into the Gulf of Alaska. Our primary study watersheds, Lemon Creek and Montana Creek, are similar in size, bedrock lithology and elevation range and extend from near sea level to the margin or interior of the Juneau Icefield. Lemon Creek has a glacial coverage of ~60%, while Montana Creek is free of glacier ice. Our goal is to evaluate seasonal differences in the quantity, chemical character and reactivity of DOM being exported from these watersheds to downstream near-shore marine ecosystems. In addition, we are monitoring a variety of physical parameters that influence instream DOM metabolism in both watersheds. Our initial results from the 2009 runoff season indicate that concentrations of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) are substantially higher in the non-glacial watershed. However, fluorescence analyses indicate that DOM from the glacier watershed has a higher protein and lower humic material content compared to DOM from the non-glacial watershed. After the spring snowmelt season, physical parameters between the two watersheds diverged, with higher streamflow and turbidity as well as colder water temperatures in the glacial watershed. Although our previous yield calculations show significantly higher DOC fluxes from the forested watershed, our results here suggest that glacier watersheds may be an important source of labile carbon to the near shore marine ecosystem. The contrast in the physical habitat between the two rivers (e.g glacier stream = cold, low light penetration, unstable substrate) supports the hypothesis that that in-stream DOM processing is limited within glacier dominated rivers, therefore delivering a higher percentage of labile DOM downstream.
Hood, E. W.; Scott, D.; Jeffery, A.; Schreiber, S.; Heavner, M.; Edwards, R.; D'Amore, D. V.; Fellman, J.
We have conducted radar imaging at Bench Glacier, Alaska aimed at investigating gross properties of englacial hydrology. Repeat measurement intervals span years, seasons, days, and hours. We used four radar systems, a range of frequencies from 5-25 MHz, and a variety of data collection techniques. The radar data were collected in conjunction with observations made in over 50 boreholes drilled through the ice. We found variations in englacial scattering events dependent on time. In radar images from five field seasons spanning 7 years, layering based on scattering events was evident. Long-term temporal variations in the layering suggest a trend of decreasing volume of a radar-transparent layer overlying a layer defined by many scatterers. Smaller-scale seasonal variations of the transparent layer are superimposed on the long-term trend. Examination of images presented in other studies indicates that layering within temperate glaciers is not anomalous.
Brown, J. M.; Harper, J. T.; Bradford, J.; Humphrey, N. F.
Current practice prescribes the long standing use of frequencies less than 10 MHz for GPR sounding of temperate glaciers to depths greater than about 100 m. We have obtained continuous profiles of ice depth over temperate ablation zones and have reached at least 278 m at 30 MHz on the Matanuska, 195 m at 100-MHz on the Muir and 295 m at 12 MHz on the Gulkana Glaciers of Alaska. Internal stratigraphy occurs in the Matanuska profile. Multiple bottom returns are ascribed to thrust planes and out-of-plane reflections from sloping bottoms. Inability to reach greater depths is ascribed to unfavorable bottom slopes, as verified by drilling on the Matanuska, and by beam steering studies on the Gulkana. Lateral wave clutter contaminates profiles at all frequencies and polarizations where crevasses are present. The strength of 12-MHz Gulkana bottom signals precluded the use of range gain and suggests that 500 m depth might be achieved at 12 - 30 MHz.
Arcone, Steven A.; Lawson, Daniel E.; Delaney, Allan J.; Moran, Mark L.
In 2007 the National Research Council Earth Science Decadal Survey, Earth Science Applications from Space, recommended an integrated L-band InSAR and multibeam Lidar mission called DESDynI (Deformation, Ecosystem Structure, and Dynamics of Ice) and it is scheduled for launch in 2017. The NASA InSAR and Lidar mission is optimized for studying geohazards and global environmental change. The complex plate boundary in southern coastal Alaska provides an excellent setting for testing DESDynI capabilities to recover fundamental parameters of glacio-seismotectonic processes. Also, aircraft and satellites acquisitions of Lidar and L-band SAR have been made in this region in the last decade that can be used for DESDynI performance simulations. Since the Lidar observations would penetrate most vegetation, the accurate bald Earth elevation profiles will give new elevation information beyond the standard 30-m digital elevation models (DEM) and the Lidar-derived elevations will provide an accurate georeferenced surface for local and regional scale studies. In an earlier study we demonstrated how the Lidar observations could be used in combination with SAR to generate an improved InSAR derived DEM in the Barrow, Alaska region [Atwood et al., 2007]; here we discuss how Lidar could be fused with L-band SAR in more rugged, vegetated terrane. Based on simulations of multi-beam Lidar instrument performance over uplifted marine terraces, active faults and folds, uplift associated with the 1899 Yakataga seismic event (M=8), and elevation change on the glaciers in southern, coastal Alaska, we report on the significance of the DESDynI Lidar contiguous 25 m footprint elevation profiles for EarthScope related studies in Alaska. We are using the morphology and dynamics of glaciers derived from L-band SAR ice velocities to infer the large scale sub-ice structures that form the structural framework of the Seward-Bagley Basins. Using primarily winter acquisitions of L-band SAR data from ALOS/PALSAR (Mode: Fine beam, HH) we have been able to estimate ice velocities from offset-tracking in the Upper and Lower Seward Basin even though the acquisitions are 46 days apart. We anticipate with the shorter repeat time for DESDynI-SAR acquisitions that we will be able to estimate seasonal ice velocities over a larger range of regions within both the ablation and accumulation zones.
Sauber, J. M.; Hofton, M. A.; Bruhn, R. L.; Forster, R. R.; Burgess, E. W.; Cotton, M. M.
To prepare for this assignment students have already used Google Earth to examine beach erosion, but they have not yet created any new content with Google Earth. Students are already competent navigators and are accustomed to the perspective views used in Google Earth. In this assignment students first go through a prepared Google Earth tour on Juneau Icefield glaciers, and answer questions about glacier features. Then students create their own Google Earth tour, using placemarks to identify key features of their glacier.
We present a new glacier inventory for the high mountain Asia named "Glacier Area Mapping for Discharge from the Asian Mountains" (GAMDAM). Glacier outlines were delineated manually using more than 226 Landsat ETM+ scenes from the period 1999-2003, in conjunction with a digital elevation model (DEM) and high-resolution Google Earth imagery. Geolocations are consistent between the Landsat imagery and DEM due to systematic radiometric and geometric corrections made by the United States Geological Survey. We performed repeated delineation tests and rigorous peer review of all scenes used in order to maintain the consistency and quality of the inventory. Our GAMDAM Glacier Inventory (GGI) includes 82776 glaciers covering a total area of 87507 ± 13126 km2 in the high mountain Asia. Thus, our inventory represents a greater number (+4%) of glaciers but significantly less surface area (-31%) than a recent global glacier inventory (Randolph Glacier Inventory, RGI). The employed definition of the upper boundaries of glaciers, glacier recession since the 1970s, and misinterpretation of seasonal snow cover are likely causes of discrepancies between the inventories, though it is difficult to evaluate these effects quantitatively. The GGI will help improve the temporal consistency of the RGI, which incorporated glacier outlines from the 1970s for the Tibetan Plateau, and will provide new opportunities to study Asian glaciers.
Nuimura, T.; Sakai, A.; Taniguchi, K.; Nagai, H.; Lamsal, D.; Tsutaki, S.; Kozawa, A.; Hoshina, Y.; Takenaka, S.; Omiya, S.; Tsunematsu, K.; Tshering, P.; Fujita, K.
In this paper, we report on an approach to estimate the contribution of Arctic glaciers to sea-level change. In our calculation we assume that a static approach is feasible. We only calculate changes in the surface balance from modelled sensitivities. These sensitivities, summarized in the seasonal sensitivity characteristic, can be used to calculate the change in the surface mass budget for given anomalies of monthly temperature and precipitation. We have based our calculations on a subdivision of all Arctic ice into 13 regions: four sectors of the Greenland ice sheet; the Canadian Arctic >74° N; the Canadian Arctic <74° N; Alaska, USA; Iceland; Svalbard; Zemlya Frantsa Iosifa, Russia; Novaya Zemlya, Russia; Severnaya Zemlya, Russia; and Norway/Sweden >60° N. As forcing for the calculations, we have used the output from five climate models, for the period 2000-2100. These models were forced by the same greenhouse-gas scenario (IPCC-B2). The calculated contributions to sea-level rise in the year 2100 vary from almost zero to about 6 cm. The differences among the models stem first of all from differences in the precipitation. The largest contribution to sea-level change comes from the Greenland ice sheet. The glaciers in Alaska also make a large contribution, not because of the area they cover, but because they are more sensitive than other glaciers in the Arctic. The climate models do not agree on regional patterns. The runoff from Svalbard glaciers, for instance, increases for two models and decreases for the three other models. We conclude that the uncertainty due to a simple representation of the glaciological processes is probably smaller than the uncertainty induced by the differences in the climate-change scenarios produced by the models.
Oerlemans, J.; Bassford, R. P.; Chapman, W.; Dowdeswell, J. A.; Glazovsky, A. F.; Hagen, J. O.; Melvold, K.; de Ruyter de Wildt, M.; van de Wal, R. S. W.
Many Landsat images of Antarctica show distinctive flow and crevasse features in the floating part of ice streams and outlet glaciers immediately below their grounding zones. Some of the features, which move with the glacier or ice stream, remain visible over many years and thus allow time-lapse measurements of ice velocities. Measurements taken from Landsat images of features on Byrd Glacier agree well with detailed ground and aerial observations. The satellite-image technique thus offers a rapid and cost-effective method of obtaining average velocities, to a first order of accuracy, of many ice streams and outlet glaciers near their termini.
Lucchitta, B.K.; Ferguson, H.M.
Many Landsat images of Antarctica show distinctive flow and crevasse features in the floating part of ice streams and outlet glaciers immediately below their grounding zones. Some of the features, which move with the glacier or ice stream, remain visible over many years and thus allow time-lapse measurements of ice velocities. Measurements taken from Landsat images of features on Byrd Glacier agree well with detailed ground and aerial observations. The satellite-image technique thus offers a rapid and cost-effective method of obtaining average velocities, to a first order of accuracy, of many ice streams and outlet glaciers near their termini.
Lucchitta, B. K.; Ferguson, H. M.
Internationally coordinated monitoring of long-term glacier changes provide key indicator data about global climate change and began in the year 1894 as an internationally coordinated effort to establish standardized observations. Today, world-wide monitoring of glaciers and ice caps is embedded within the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) in support of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as an important Essential Climate Variable (ECV). The Global Terrestrial Network for Glaciers (GTN-G) was established in 1999 with the task of coordinating measurements and to ensure the continuous development and adaptation of the international strategies to the long-term needs of users in science and policy. The basic monitoring principles must be relevant, feasible, comprehensive and understandable to a wider scientific community as well as to policy makers and the general public. Data access has to be free and unrestricted, the quality of the standardized and calibrated data must be high and a combination of detailed process studies at selected field sites with global coverage by satellite remote sensing is envisaged. Recently a GTN-G Steering Committee was established to guide and advise the operational bodies responsible for the international glacier monitoring, which are the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS), the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), and the Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) initiative. Several online databases containing a wealth of diverse data types having different levels of detail and global coverage provide fast access to continuously updated information on glacier fluctuation and inventory data. For world-wide inventories, data are now available through (a) the World Glacier Inventory containing tabular information of about 130,000 glaciers covering an area of around 240,000 km2, (b) the GLIMS-database containing digital outlines of around 118,000 glaciers with different time stamps and (c) the Randolph Glacier Inventory (RGI), a new and globally complete digital dataset of outlines from about 180,000 glaciers with some meta-information, which has been used for many applications relating to the IPCC AR5 report. Concerning glacier changes, a database (Fluctuations of Glaciers) exists containing information about mass balance, front variations including past reconstructed time series, geodetic changes and special events. Annual mass balance reporting contains information for about 125 glaciers with a subset of 37 glaciers with continuous observational series since 1980 or earlier. Front variation observations of around 1800 glaciers are available from most of the mountain ranges world-wide. This database was recently updated with 26 glaciers having an unprecedented dataset of length changes from from reconstructions of well-dated historical evidence going back as far as the 16th century. Geodetic observations of about 430 glaciers are available. The database is completed by a dataset containing information on special events including glacier surges, glacier lake outbursts, ice avalanches, eruptions of ice-clad volcanoes, etc. related to about 200 glaciers. A special database of glacier photographs contains 13,000 pictures from around 500 glaciers, some of them dating back to the 19th century. A key challenge is to combine and extend the traditional observations with fast evolving datasets from new technologies.
Hoelzle, Martin; Armstrong, Richard; Fetterer, Florence; Gärtner-Roer, Isabelle; Haeberli, Wilfried; Kääb, Andreas; Kargel, Jeff; Nussbaumer, Samuel; Paul, Frank; Raup, Bruce; Zemp, Michael
Glacier surge exhibits order-of-magnitude faster velocity and km-scale terminus advance during its short active phase after a long quiescent period. The observations of glacier surge are still limited, and the mechanisms of glacier surge cycle remain elusive. Moreover, with the exception of several well-examined glaciers, the glacier dynamics during their quiescent periods remains even more uncertain due to the paucity of surface velocity measurement data. Here we examined spatial-temporal changes in the ice surface velocity of surge-type glaciers in the St. Elias Mountains near the border of Alaska and Yukon during the period from December 2006 to March 2011. We applied the offset-tracking (feature-tracking) technique to the L-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images derived from the Japanese Advanced Land Observation Satellite (ALOS). The Chitina, Anderson, Walsh, and Logan Glaciers, the major subpolar surge-type glaciers of the Chitina River valley system, could be examined with the highest temporal resolution because of the overlap of multiple satellite tracks. We have found significant upstream accelerations from fall to winter at a number of glaciers during their quiescence. Moreover, whereas the upstream propagating summer speed-up was observed, the winter speed-up propagated from upstream to downglacier. Although the winter speed-up seems to be at odds with the well-known summer speed-up, these observations are consistent with the fragmentary but well-known fact of glacier surge that often initiates in winter, suggesting that some of the mechanisms would be valid even during quiescent phases. Ice surface velocity at mountain glaciers and ice sheets typically exhibits the greatest acceleration from spring to early summer, followed by deceleration in mid-summer to fall, and is slowest in winter. These short-term velocity changes are attributed to subglacial slip associated with water pressure changes that occur because of the seasonal variability of meltwater input, and the evolution of the englacial and subglacial hydrologic systems. Meltwater penetration to the bed in the early melt season enhances the basal water pressure in the subglacial drainage systems, lubricating the interface between the ice and the bed. As the meltwater flux increases further, the cavities grow as a result of frictional wall melting, and the water pressure is reduced, leading to slow down of surface velocities. Meanwhile, the initiation of glacier surge has been often observed in winter, which has been interpreted as an inefficient subglacial drainage system and subsequent high water pressure to trigger a surge. However, it has been uncertain how and where water can accumulate in winter. Because the examined surge-type glaciers are largely in sub-polar settings, the present findings of winter speed-up would further reinforce the paradoxical water storage problem in the surge triggering mechanism. The seasonal evolution of subglacial drainage systems and water pressure seems to have been modeled on the assumption of hard bed, which seems more difficult to store water in winter. One possible interpretation of the winter speed-up is, instead of accelerated sliding in winter, an enhanced deformation of subglacial till whose strength is weakened due to the higher pore-water pressure inside the till. We will discuss other speculations on the causes of the winter speed-up.
Furuya, M.; Abe, T.
For glaciological conditions typical of valley glaciers, the central idea of this research lies in understanding the effects of high-order mechanics and parameterizing these for simpler dynamical and statistical methods in glaciology. As an effective tool for this, I formulate a new brand of dynamical models that describes distinct physical processes of deformational flow. Through numerical simulations of idealized glacier domains, I calculate empirical correction factors to capture the effects of longitudinal stress gradients and lateral drag for simplified dynamical models in the plane-strain regime. To get some insights into real glacier dynamics, I simulate Haig Glacier in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. As geometric effects overshadow dynamical effects in glacier retreat scenarios, it appears that high-order physics are not very important for Haig Glacier, particularly for evaluating its fate. Indeed, high-order and reduced models all predict that Haig Glacier ceases to exist by about AD2080 under ongoing climate warming. This finding regarding the minimal role of high-order physics may not be broadly valid, as it is not true in advance scenarios at Haig Glacier and it may not be representative of other glaciological settings. Through a 'bulk' parameterization of high-order physics, geometric and climatic settings, sliding conditions, and transient effects, I also provide new insights into the volume-area relation, a widely used statistical method for estimating glacier volume. I find a steady-state power-law exponent of 1:46, which declines systematically to 1:38 after 100 years of sustained retreat, in good accord with the observations. I recommend more accurate scaling relations through characterization of individual glacier morphology and degree of climatic disequilibrium. This motivates a revision of global glacier volume estimates, of some urgency in sea level rise assessments.
The recent expansion of summertime melt zones in both Greenland and some Arctic ice caps, and the clearing of perennial sea ice from much of the Arctic, may presage more rapid shifts in mass balances of land ice than glaciologists had generally expected. The summer openings of vast stretches of open water in the Arctic, particularly in straits and the Arctic Ocean shores of the Queen Elizabeth Islands and along some Greenland coastal zones, must have a large impact on summer and early autumn temperatures and precipitation now that the surface boundary condition is no longer limited by the triple-point temperature and water-vapor pressure of H2O. This state change in the Arctic probably is part of the explanation for the expanded melt zones high in the Greenland ice sheet. However, Greenland and the Canadian Arctic are vast regions subject to climatic influences of multiple marine bodies, and the situation with sea ice and climate change remains heterogeneous, and so the local climate feedbacks from sea ice diminution remain patchy. Projected forward just a few decades, it is likely that sea ice will play a significant role in the Queen Elizabeth Islands and around Greenland only in the winter months. The region is in the midst of a dramatic climate change that is affecting the mass balances of the Arctic's ice bodies; some polar-type glaciers must be transforming to polythermal, and polythermal ones to maritime-temperate types. Attendant with these shifts, glacier response times will shorten, the distribution and sizes of glacier lakes will change, unconsolidated debris will be debuttressed, and hazards-related dynamics will shift. Besides changes to outburst flood, debris flow, and rock avalanche occurrences, the tsunami hazard (with ice and debris landslide/avalanche triggers) in glacierized fjords and the surge behaviors of many glaciers is apt to increase or shift locations. For any given location, the past is no longer the key to the present, and the present is not the key to future behavior of ice in this region. Hence, as major infrastructural development and population increases, careful consideration must be given to changing dynamics of the cryospheric landscape system. Glacier lake outburst floods never have been important considerations in most of the Canadian Arctic/Greenland region due both to sparseness of population and infrastructure and low frequency and distribution of occurrence of potentially hazardous glacier dynamics. This may no longer be the case; in particular, many lakes are starting to develop where previously they were small, few, or absent; furthermore, the conditions tending toward reduction in ice flow, thinning glaciers, and debris accumulation that commonly precede lake development are now widely present. 20th century maritime glacierized parts of Alaska may be a model for the 21st century Queen Elizabeth Islands and Greenland. In Alaska, the fury and impact of glacier lake outburst floods felt in other parts of the world have largely been mitigated by wise and limited development patterns. This can hold true for Arctic Canada and Greenland this century if consideration is given to the changing crysophere.
Kargel, Jeffrey; Bush, Andrew; Leonard, Gregory
Fourier analysis reveals that winter electrical self potential (SP), water pressure (PW), and electrical conductivity (EC) time series collected beneath Haut Glacier d'Arolla, Switzerland, are forced by earth and atmospheric tides. Forcing is dominant during periods of expanding bedrock, consistent with glacier substrate deformation periodically driving water from the ice body into the bed. This may modify the strength of
Bernd Kulessa; Bryn Hubbard; Giles H. Brown; Julia Becker
This photo was taken in September 2003; in the 23 years between photographs, Muir Glacier has retreated more than a mile and ceased to have a tidewater terminus. Since 1980, Muir Glacier has thinned by more than 600 ft, permitting a view of a mountain with a summit elevation of greater than 4000 ft,...
This report examines the opportunities, challenges, and costs associated with renewable energy implementation in Alaska and provides strategies that position Alaska's accumulating knowledge in renewable energy development for export to the rapidly growing energy/electric markets of the developing world.
During the course of the annual vacation season, luxury cruise ships carrying up to 3000 passengers visit the coastal cities and small towns of Alaska. Alaska is the first state to impose regulations requiring such vessels to submit to inspection and monitoring of gray water and...
The Alaska Village Demonstration Projects (AVDP) were authorized by Section 113, P.L. 92-500 (86 STAT 816), for the purpose of demonstrating methods to improve sanitary conditions in native villages of Alaska. Central community facilities have been constr...
This website illustrates the Alaska Quaternary Center's (at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks) commitment "to the promotion of interdisciplinary research and the enhancement of interdisciplinary instruction in Quaternary sciences." Users can view images of the field work and learn how to obtain quaternary data from the AQC Quaternary Research Geodatabase.
The Alaska geothermal bibliography lists all publications, through 1986, that discuss any facet of geothermal energy in Alaska. In addition, selected publications about geology, geophysics, hydrology, volcanology, etc., which discuss areas where geothermal resources are located are included, though the geothermal resource itself may not be mentioned. The bibliography contains 748 entries.
Liss, S.A.; Motyka, R.J.; Nye, C.J. (comps.) [comps.
Investigations of the glacial geologic record commonly use modern analogues to underpin reconstructions of former environments. While this approach is very powerful, it is not without problems and is vulnerable to changing paradigms (or fashions) in glaciology. A well-known example is the ascendancy of the 'deforming bed' model in the 1980s and 1990s, which was subsequently challenged by the 'ploughing bed' model. These models have contrasting implications for till genesis and subglacial sediment transport, but rigorous testing is hampered by the difficulty of directly observing modern glacier beds and the lack of unambiguous diagnostic criteria for interpreting ancient tills. We address this issue by examining sediment-landform assemblages formed by surging glaciers in Svalbard. Surges leave a distinctive imprint on fjord floors, including fluted subglacial till, crevasse-fill ridges, thrust block moraines, and extensive proglacial mud flows. The latter have been interpreted as either masses of extruded subglacial till or the collapsed fronts of oversteepened thrust moraines. The 'extrusion hypothesis' implies significant subglacial sediment flux towards the margin, consistent with a metres-thick deforming layer, whereas the 'moraine failure' hypothesis implies dominantly proglacial transport. We show that both fjord-floor and terrestrial 'mud aprons' consist of masses of marine sediment which were pushed in front of the advancing glacier, while undergoing more or less continuous gravitational failure. The subaqueous moraines and mud flows are therefore interpreted as end-member glacitectonic landforms, formed by similar processes to thrust-block moraines. These results indicate highly episodic glacial sediment transport in Svalbard fjords, accomplished largely by ice-push during surges. The survival of transverse (moraine) ridges below megaflutings in some fjords suggests that subglacial sediment transport is relatively unimportant, and that the 'ploughing model' best describes the behaviour of the ice-bed interface during surges. We suggest that similar glacitectonic processes may have been important for delivering sediment to the margins of Pleistocene marine ice sheets.
Benn, D.; Kristensen, L.
This animation is a close up zoom into largest area of glacier recesion at the Breidamerkurjokull glacier in Iceland. The data from 1997 is taken from Landsat 5 and the 2000 data is from Landsat 7. The Breidamerkurjokull glacier in Iceland has been measured by Landsat to be receding since 1973. In 1997, Landsat 5 took several other images of the glacier. It was thought by some glacierologists that this particular glacier was receding quicker in the late 1990s than it did in the late 1980s or 1970s. After careful analysis Goddards Glacierologist, Dorothy Hall, concluded that the recession from 1997 to 2000 occurs at a similar rate to the recession between 1973 and 2000. It is extremely controversial whether or not this recession is caused by global warming.
Perkins, Lori; Hall, Dorothy
This is the homepage of the Alaska Volcano Observatory, a joint program of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAFGI), and the State of Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys (ADGGS). Users can access current information on volcanic activity in Alaska and the Kamchatka Penninsula, including weekly and daily reports and information releases about significant changes in any particluar volcano. An interactive map also directs users to summaries and activity notifications for selected volcanoes, or through links to webcams and webicorders (recordings of seismic activity). General information on Alaskan volcanoes includes descriptions, images, maps, bibliographies, and eruptive histories. This can be accessed through an interactive map or by clicking on an alphabetic listing of links to individual volcanoes. There is also an online library of references pertinent to Quaternary volcanism in Alaska and an image library.
A mineral survey outlined areas of mineral-resource potential in the Glacier Peak Roadless Area, Washington. Substantiated resource potential for base and precious metals has been identified in four mining districts included in whole or in part within the boundary of the roadless area. Several million tons of demonstrated base- and precious-metal resources occur in numerous mines in these districts. Probable resource potential for precious metals exists along a belt of fractured and locally mineralized rock extending northeast from Monte Cristo to the northeast edge of the roadless area.
Church, S. E.; Johnson, F. L.
We use data from campaign and continuous GPS sites in southeast and south central Alaska to constrain a regional tectonic block model for the St. Elias orogen. Active tectonic deformation in the orogen is dominated by the effects of the collision of the Yakutat block with southern Alaska. Our results indicate that ~37 mm/yr of convergence is accommodated along a relatively narrow belt of N-NW dipping thrust faults in the eastern half of the orogen, with the present-day deformation front running through Icy Bay and beneath the Malaspina Glacier. Near the Bering Glacier, the collisional thrust fault regime transitions into a broad, northwest dipping décollement as the Yakutat block basement begins to subduct beneath the counterclockwise rotating Elias block. The location of this transition aligns with the Gulf of Alaska shear zone, implying that the Pacific plate is fragmenting in response to the Yakutat collision. Our model indicates that the Bering Glacier region is undergoing internal deformation and could correspond to the final stage of offscraping and accretion of sediments from the Yakutat block prior to subduction. Predicted block motions at the western edge of the orogen suggest that the crust is laterally escaping along the Aleutian fore arc.
Elliott, Julie; Freymueller, Jeffrey T.; Larsen, Christopher F.
We find evidence that black soot aerosols deposited on Tibetan glaciers have been a significant contributing factor to observed rapid glacier retreat. Reduced black soot emissions, in addition to reduced greenhouse gases, may be required to avoid demise of Himalayan glaciers and retain the benefits of glaciers for seasonal fresh water supplies.
Xu, Baiqing; Cao, Junji; Hansen, James; Yao, Tandong; Joswia, Daniel R.; Wang, Ninglian; Wu, Guangjian; Wang, Mo; Zhao, Huabiao; Yang, Wei; Liu, Xianqin; He, Jianqiao
Mountain glaciers and ice caps around the world are recognized as significant contributors to both global sea level and local and regional water resources, especially for arid regions. However, the remote and rugged nature of glaciers in many parts of Asia hinders their study. To complicate the picture, not only are glaciers in High Mountain / Central / North Asia exhibiting considerable regional variability in mass balance, but different measurement methods are painting significantly different pictures of glacier health. Mongolia provides a subset of the global glacier inventory which exemplifies low data availability and seemingly contradictory results. Based on previous studies, Mongolia is home to ~500 glaciers totaling ~650 km2, but these figures are quite rough. Regional glacier mass balance estimates vary from -2 × 1 Gt / yr to 3 × 6 Gt / yr. However, the glaciers are important to the local environment and agriculture, as Mongolian glaciers are estimated to store 10% of Mongolia's fresh water. The glaciers have lost ~6% of their area from the 1960s to the 1990s. Most recent studies of high mountain Asia (the large group of glaciated ranges between the Tien Shan, Qilian Mountains, and the Himalayas) show accelerated losses in recent years. Therefore, from within this uncertainty, we harness newly available data from Landsat 8's Operational Land Imager (OLI) to build an updated glacier inventory for Mongolia. Prior regional studies have focused of a variety of sub-ranges across many different epochs within the Altai (i.e. Munkh Khairkhan, Tavan Bogd, Turgen, Kharkhiraa, Munkhkhairkhan, Sair, and Tsambagarav Mountains); here, we unify the picture of recent change for all of Mongolia's glaciers (i.e., the additional glaciated areas eastward of the Altai). In addition to highlighting the ease and utility of Landsat 8's OLI, we will take advantage of a further suite of data (i.e. Landsat archival imagery, ICESat, ASTER, SPOT-5, or submeter imagery) to further document glacier change in the Mongolian Altai.
Pope, A.; Scambos, T. A.
Glaciers are widely considered as the best natural climate indicators. While this is certainly the case for glacier changes (length, volume), it also applies to glaciers itself as they can only exist within a certain range of climate conditions. A key parameter for the climatic classification of glaciers is their equilibrium line altitude (ELA) when referring to a balanced mass budget (ELA0). The ELA0 can be approximated by the mean or median elevation that is readily available for individual glaciers from inventories. Using well-established relations between temperature and precipitation at the ELA0, precipitation can be derived from mean elevations. Annual precipitation sums are indicative of the climatic regime and can be used to infer mass balance gradients. Once these are known, mass loss by melt can be approximated for each glacier under balanced conditions. By shifting the ELA0 upwards, the ablation region is increased and in combination with the mass balance gradient the additional glacier melt can be calculated for each glacier. In this contribution we applied the above methods to all glaciers in the Swiss Alps using glacier outlines from the mid 1970s and a digital elevation model (DEM) from the mid 1980s as an input. The mass balance gradients derived from annual precipitation are within the range of known values (measured and modeled). The modelled ablation under balanced conditions is rather similar to the observed precipitation amounts over glaciers (considering measurement uncertainties). For a one degree temperature increase, specific mass loss increases by about 0.65 m / yr (the mass balance sensitivity) which gives a total mass loss of about 1 Gt / year over a glacier area of 1000 sqkm and for a temperature increase of 1.5 degrees. These values are in good agreement with the observed annual mass changes of glaciers in the Alps over the past two decades, thus confirming the observed temperature increase in the mid 1980s.
Glaciers are natural systems that shape and influence their geological surroundings through erosion and redistribution of sediments and rocks from one place to another. Their presence are determined by the landscape, regional climatic parameters such as wind, precipitation and temperature, and for these reasons they are valuable proxies of present and past climatic change. During the last four decades researchers have attempted to develop and assess methods that reliably and accurately reproduce continuous glacier variability over timescales extending thousands of years back in time. At the core of this multi-disciplinary endeavour is a strong desire to enhance our knowledge about how glaciers respond to a wider spectre of climatic change beyond what has been observed and documented for the last ~100 years. By far the majority of existing continuous glacier reconstructions are based on empirical evidence derived from soft sediment archives - mainly from lakes and fjords - making it quintessential to understand the sedimentary sources and sinks operating in glacierized catchment systems. If paleoclimatic inferences are to be made from such glacier reconstructions it is imperative that relevant sources of noise is considered, identified and, preferentially, eliminated. Here we review some of the problems and prospects of reconstructing temperate mountain or cirque glaciers as well as basic assumptions underlying most continuous glacier reconstructions. We will illustrate this challenge by presenting new data from a glacierized catchment surrounding a small lake called Blåvatnet located in Northern Norway at 68°N. A suit of piston and short gravity cores from the lake have been analysed and the results have been tested and corroborated by catchment samples from different sedimentary sources - an approach that is deemed to be of critical value when it comes to fingerprinting the glacier signal. Methodological emphasis is put on rock magnetism, which we demonstrate to be exceptionally well suited for identifying different sedimentary sources and characteristics typical for glacierized catchments. High sedimentation rates allow for a decadal glacier reconstruction covering the last 4000 years. Specifically, we observe major fluctuations in glacier activity that corresponds to an Equilibrium-Line-Altitude (ELA) variability of +/- 100 m. Peak activity is associated with the 'Little Ice Age' (1400-1800 AD) and a Neoglacial Maximum which occurred around 2500 years ago.
Paasche, O.; Lovlie, R.; Bakke, J.; Hirt, A. M.
We have defined the complex bed topography for a section of a small temperate glacier using 50-MHz monostatic short-pulse radar data and a synthetic aperture array processing method. The data were collected on a 100- by 340-m array grid in the upper stem of the Gulkana Glacier of central Alaska. The array processing was based on a modified 3-D Kirchhoff migration integral and implemented with a synthetic aperture approach that uses sequences of overlapping subarrays to generate depth images in vertical planes. Typical subarray beam widths are generally less than 5 degrees at the -6-dB level, giving a flashlight-like searching capability without distorting the wavelet shape. The bed topography was constructed uscg specular reflections picked from 3-D array depth images. In some instances reflections were imaged outside the data coverage area. The bed surface dips steeply, both parallel and transverse to the direction of ice flow. The maximum observed depth is roughly 140 m. The 3-D method resolved bed dips up to 45 degrees. In regions of steepest dip, it improved depth accuracy by 36% compared it raw data, and by 15% compared with standard 2-D migration. Over 12 dB of signal-to-noise improvement and improved spatial resolution were achieved compared to raw data and 2-D migration. False bottom layering from out-of-plane arrivals, seen in the raw data and in 2-D migrations, are not observed in the 3-D array results. Furthermore, loss of bottom reflections are shown by the 3-D migration to be attributable to the dip and curvature of the reflector, and not scattering losses or signal clutter from englacial inclusions.
Moran, Mark L.; Arcone, Steven A.; Delaney, Allan J.; Greenfield, Roy J.
The maritime plateau glacier of northern Folgefonna in western Norway has a short (subdecadal) response time to climatic shifts, and is therefore well suited for reconstructing high-resolution glacier fluctuations. The reconstruction presented here is based on physical parameters of glaciolacustrine sediments retrieved from two glacier-fed lakes and a peat bog north of the ice cap. Bulk density and modelled glacier
Jostein Bakke; øyvind Lie; Atle Nesje; Svein Olaf Dahl; øyvind Paasche
Descriptions of the mineral occurrences shown on the accompanying figure follow. See U.S. Geological Survey (1996) for a description of the information content of each field in the records. The data presented here are maintained as part of a statewide database on mines, prospects and mineral occurrences throughout Alaska.
Barnett, John C.; Miller, Lance D.
Descriptions of the mineral occurrences shown on the accompanying figure follow. See U.S. Geological Survey (1996) for a description of the information content of each field in the records. The data presented here are maintained as part of a statewide database on mines, prospects and mineral occurrences throughout Alaska.
Britton, Joe M.
Descriptions of the mineral occurrences shown on the accompanying figure follow. See U.S. Geological Survey (1996) for a description of the information content of each field in the records. The data presented here are maintained as part of a statewide database on mines, prospects and mineral occurrences throughout Alaska.
Hudson, Travis L.
Recession of mountain glaciers in the Himalayas has been reported in the context of global warming. Associated with the glacier retreat, supraglacial lakes have been formed on the termini of debris-covered glaciers. Although it has been said that lake-terminating glaciers flow faster than land-terminating glaciers, observational evidence was scarce. We observationally investigated the influence of the presence/absence of glacial lakes on changes in surface elevation through glacier dynamics in two debris-covered glaciers, Thorthormi Glacier (land-terminating) and Lugge Glacier (lake-terminating), in the Lunana region, the Bhutan Himalaya. We surveyed the surface elevation of debris-covered areas of the two glaciers in 2004 and 2011 by a differential GPS. Change in surface elevation of the lake-terminating Lugge Glacier was much more negative than that of the land-terminating Thorthormi Glacier. Considering almost flat slope and location at lower elevation, however, larger ice thinning rate of the Thorthormi Glacier should have been expected than the Lugge Glacier. We measured surface flow speed of the two glaciers during 2009-2010 by multitemporal orthorectified The Panchromatic Remote-sensing Instrument for Stereo Mapping (PRISM) images of ALOS. Surface flow speed of the Thorthormi Glacier was faster in the upper reaches and reduced toward the downstream. In contrast, the flow speed at the Lugge Glacier measured in the same periods was greatest at the lower most part. Observed spatial distribution of surface flow speed at both glaciers are evaluated by a two-dimensional numerical flow model. The model shows that contribution of basal sliding to surface flow velocity is large in the lower part of both glaciers. Particularly in the Thorthormi Glacier, approximately 100% of surface flow velocity attribute to basal sliding. Calculated emergence velocity at the Thorthormi Glacier is larger than that at the Lugge Glacier. This result suggests that decreasing in flow velocity towards the terminus in the Thorthormi Glacier causes compressive flow and thus counterbalances surface melting, resulting in inhibition of the surface lowering. In contrast, the extensional flow of the Lugge Glacier accelerated the surface lowering. In this study we show the observational evidences, in which the glacier lake formation makes contrast the thinning rates of glaciers in the Bhutan Himalaya. If the supraglacial lake on Thorthormi Glacier expands, the surface lowering will be accelerated in the future.
Tsutaki, S.; Fujita, K.; Yamaguchi, S.; Sakai, A.; Nuimura, T.; Sugiyama, S.; Komori, J.; Takenaka, S.; Tshering, P.
Ice-ocean interactions remain poorly understood despite the growing recognition that they play a role in some of the complex behavior of glaciers that reach the oceans, which is of broad interest because it contributes substantially to the challenge of predicting global sea level rise. Here, we focus on the sediment accumulation near the calving front of one calving tidewater glacier. Depositional rates and spatial patterns merit close attention because they can affect glacier stability by reducing the water depth that controls the calving rate, the surface area available for submarine melting, and the ability of tidewater glaciers to advance into deep water. We utilize an exceptionally complete set of glaciological observations for Columbia Glacier, Alaska, together with recent oceanographic data, to explore the links between rates of retreat, ice motion, and sediment accumulation during 20 km of glacial retreat in the past 30 years. New bathymetry, high-resolution seismic data, and profiles of Pb-210 in the recent sediments document annual sediment yields averaging 1.4 × 0.2 x107 m3 and accumulation rates averaging >1 m/y and reaching well over 10 m/y near the ice front. Our interpretation of the former glacier bed from seismic profiles is confirmed by glacier boreholes that were drilled in 1987 through nearly 1 km of ice to the glacier bed in a region now devoid of ice [Meier et al., 1994]. In addition, distinct layering on a scale of 1-10 mm seen in core x-radiographs suggests sediment delivery by post-depositional slumping or hyperpycnal flows, which are likely linked to meltwater and rainwater discharge events. Observations from cores of the short-lived radioisotope Th-234 suggest recent sediment accumulation in the outer basin, as far as ~17 km from the terminus. We are developing a simple numerical model relating known changes in the glacial terminus position and ice speed to sediment accumulation in the fjord during the 30-year period of retreat. The model, which represents simply both primary proglacial sedimentation and secondary reworking, is used to explore the evolution of sedimentary strata with changing rates of glacial retreat and sediment delivery. For Columbia Glacier, the model is used to develop a history of the sediment delivery rate to the glacier front compatible with the observed sediment thickness and architecture, and to refine the numerical representation of proglacial sedimentary processes. Modeling results will be presented and discussed in the context of glacial retreat and ice-speed histories. These results will provide a basis for assessing the stabilizing role of discharged sediments in modulating the retreat of Columbia Glacier and possibly other tidewater glaciers.
Boldt, K. V.; Hallet, B.; Pratt, T. L.; Nittrouer, C. A.
Himalayan glaciers are a focus of public and scientific debate. Prevailing uncertainties are of major concern because some projections of their future have serious implications for water resources. Most Himalayan glaciers are losing mass at rates similar to glaciers elsewhere, except for emerging indications of stability or mass gain in the Karakoram. A poor understanding of the processes affecting them, combined with the diversity of climatic conditions and the extremes of topographical relief within the region, makes projections speculative. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that dramatic changes in total runoff will occur soon, although continuing shrinkage outside the Karakoram will increase the seasonality of runoff, affect irrigation and hydropower, and alter hazards. PMID:22517852
Bolch, T; Kulkarni, A; Kääb, A; Huggel, C; Paul, F; Cogley, J G; Frey, H; Kargel, J S; Fujita, K; Scheel, M; Bajracharya, S; Stoffel, M
Starting in summer 2000, Belvedere Glacier, near Macugnaga, Italian Alps, developed an extraordinary change in flow, geometry and surface appearance. A surge-type flow acceleration started in the lower parts of the Monte-Rosa east face, leading to strong crevassing and deformation of Belvedere Glacier, accompanied by bulging of its orographic right margin. In September 2001, a small supraglacial lake developed on the glacier. High water pressure and accelerated movement lasted into winter 2001/2002. The ice, in places, started to override moraines from the Little Ice Age. In late spring and early summer 2002, the supraglacial lake grew at extraordinary rates reaching a maximum area of more than 150'000 m2 by end of June. The evolution of such a large supraglacial lake, a rather unique feature in the Alps, was probably enabled by changes in the subglacial drainage system in the course of the surge-like developments with high water pressure in the glacier. At the end of June, an enhanced growth of the lake level with a rise of about 1 m per day was observed such that the supraglacial lake became a urgent hazard problem for the community of Macugnaga. Emergency measures had to be taken by the Italian Civil Protection. The authors thereby acted as the official expert advisers. Temporal evacuations were ordered and a permanent monitoring and alarm system was installed. Pumps with a maximum output of 1 m3/s were brought to the lake. Bathymetric studies yielded a maximum lake depth of 55 m and a volume of 3.3 millions of cubic meters of water. Aerial photography of 1995, 1999, September 2001 and October 2001 was used to calculate ice flow velocities and changes in surface altitude. Compared to the period of 1995 to 1999, the flow accelerated by about five times in 2001 (max. speeds up to 200 m/yr). Surface uplift measured was about 10-15 m/yr. The results of the photogrammetric studies were used to evaluate different possible lake-outburst scenarios, in particular overtopping and failure of ice dam with catastrophic subglacial drainage. In consideration of the current bathymetric studies and ice thickness measurements from the 1980ies, it was assumed that the floatation equilibrium was possibly reached by end of June. In case of an ice dam, the maximum discharge of a related subglacial drainage was estimated at 200 m3/s, probably involving a large debris flow. Extension and nature of thermokarst processes of the lake/ice interface are currently studied by repeated bathymetric measurements and adaption of corresponding models. In July/August 2002, geodetic ice flow velocity measurements showed that the enhanced flow velocities have decreased probably indicat ing the end of the surge-like movement. In conclusion, the developments at Macugnaga are an excellent example illustrating the need for inte grated hazard assessments in consideration of complex process chains. The current situation requires studies on different aspects, such as rock instabilities, glacier dynamics and hydrology, geomorphody namics, and mitigation-construction planning.
Huggel, C.; Kaeaeb, A.; Haeberli, W.; Mortara, G.; Chiarle, M.; Epifani, F.
The Parallel Ice Sheet Model (PISM) is an open source code developed at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. To date, PISM has primarily modeled the dynamic evolution of whole ice sheets including the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. Here we extend the capability of PISM by adding tools for regional-scale dynamical modeling of outlet glaciers of ice sheets. One tool automatically generates the drainage basin of an outlet glacier. Thereby a model basin can be found merely by identifying a terminus and supplying a DEM. Another tool is a force-to-thickness mechanism which is applied outside of the identified drainage basin; this isolates evolution of the modeled ice surface within the basin from dynamics in other basins. These tools allow us to perform high-resolution modeling of an outlet glacier (e.g. < 1 km grid resolution) without modeling the entire ice sheet. Potentially, these tools can be automatically applied basin-by-basin to each outlet system in an ice sheet. As a demonstration we focus on regional modeling of the Jakobshavn Isbrae in Greenland, for which CReSIS provides recently updated high-resolution bedrock maps. Adding a mass balance model developed from the results of Ettema et al. (2009), and applying the SIA+SSA hybrid stress balance and enthalpy-based polythermal models in PISM, we are able to run a high-resolution (500 m) numerical simulation of the Jakobshavn Isbrae as it evolves over the next century.
Dellagiustina, D. N.; Bueler, E.; Aschwanden, A.; Khroulev, C.; Hock, R. M.
The last thirty years have brought the introduction and expansion of telecommunications to rural and remote Alaska. The intellectual and financial investment of earlier projects, the more recent AFHCAN Project and the Universal Service Administrative Company Rural Health Care Division (RHCD) has sparked a new era in telemedicine and telecommunication across Alaska. This spark has been flamed by the dedication and collaboration of leaders at he highest levels of organizations such as: AFHCAN member organizations, AFHCAN Office, Alaska Clinical Engineering Services, Alaska Federal Health Care Partnership, Alaska Federal Health Care Partnership Office, Alaska Native health Board, Alaska Native Tribal health Consortium, Alaska Telehealth Advisory Council, AT&T Alascom, GCI Inc., Health care providers throughout the state of Alaska, Indian Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of U.S. Senator Ted Steens, State of Alaska, U.S. Department of Homeland Security--United States Coast Guard, United States Department of Agriculture, United States Department of Defense--Air Force and Army, United States Department of Veterans Affairs, University of Alaska, and University of Alaska Anchorage. Alaska now has one of the largest telemedicine programs in the world. As Alaska moves system now in place become self-sustaining, and 2) collaborating with all stakeholders in promoting the growth of an integrated, state-wide telemedicine network. PMID:15709313
Observations from seven Central Asian glaciers (35–55°N; 70–95°E) are used, together with regional temperature data, to infer uncertain parameters for a simple linear model of the glacier length variations. The glacier model is based on first order glacier dynamics and requires the knowledge of reference states of forcing and glacier perturbation magnitude. An adjoint-based variational method is used to optimally
Diandong Ren; David J. Karoly
Observations from seven Central Asian glaciers (35-55°N 70-95°E) are used, together with regional temperature data, to infer uncertain parameters for a simple linear model of the glacier length variations. The glacier model is based on first order glacier dynamics and requires the knowledge of reference states of forcing and glacier perturbation magnitude. An adjoint-based variational method is used to optimally
Diandong Ren; David J. Karoly
Satellite observations during the last decade have shown dramatic changes in flow speed at Greenland's outlet glaciers, often accompanied by retreats of several km in calving-front location and increasing numbers of glacial earthquakes. Geodetic, seismological, and oceanographic data collected as part of a multidisciplinary field experiment at Helheim Glacier, East Greenland, over three summer seasons (2006--2008), together with satellite imagery, place new constraints on the processes responsible for these changes. Analysis of high-rate GPS data from 2007 reveals several large, sudden increases in flow speed at Helheim Glacier. These abrupt accelerations are detected along the length of the glacier (~20~km) spanned by the GPS network, and coincide in time with major calving events and teleseismically detected glacial earthquakes. The calving events are implicated in the earthquake source process. Further, our results link changes in glacier velocity directly to calving-front behavior at Greenland's large outlet glaciers, on timescales as short as minutes to hours. No large earthquakes occurred at Helheim Glacier during the 2006 field campaign, providing the opportunity for comparison between seismically active and quiescent modes of glacier behavior. Data recorded in 2008 include near-field broadband seismic recordings and time-lapse photography, allowing us to refine our understanding of both the glacial earthquake source process and the glacier response to major ice loss events.
Nettles, M.; Larsen, T. B.; Elósegui, P.; Hamilton, G. S.; Stearns, L. A.; Ahlstrøm, A. P.; Davis, J. L.; Andersen, M. L.; de Juan, J.; Khan, S. A.; Stenseng, L.; Ekström, G.; Forsberg, R.; Schild, K. M.
This video adapted from the Valdez Museum & Historical Archive, explores what happened during the Great Alaska Earthquake of 1964 through original footage, first-person accounts, and animations illustrating plate tectonics.
Foundation, Wgbh E.
An assessment has been made of wastewater treatment technology in Alaska. Some of the larger municipalities such as Juneau and Fairbanks have biological treatment plants that are meeting secondary standards. By the middle of 1976, the pipeline camps and p...
R. A. Johnson
Many states have begun elaborate and well-funded digital archive projects in order to increase the accessibility of compelling historical materials from their area, and Alaska's very worthwhile effort is the latest to reach us here at the Scout Report. The project is being directed through the leadership of the Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Consortium Library at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and the Alaska State Library in Juneau. Currently there are close to 3,000 objects for consideration within their archive, all of which may be browsed by thumbnail image, bibliographic record, or title. Some of the documents include photographs of the "Aleutian Five" musical band which performed during World War II and "Happy Jack", the noted ivory carver. The archive can also be searched using an advanced search engine, and visitors may also create a selection of their favorite documents as well.
The superlatives surrounding Alaska are legion. Within the borders of the 49th US state are some of the world's greatest concentrations of waterfowl, bald eagles, fur seals, walrus, sea lions, otters, and the famous Kodiak brown bear. Alaska features the highest peak of North America, the 20,320-foot Mount McKinley, and the longest archipelago of small islands, the Aleutians. The state
This hands-on activity explores five different forms of erosion (chemical, water, wind, glacier and temperature). Students rotate through stations and model each type of erosion on rocks, soils and minerals.
Integrated Teaching and Learning Program, College of Engineering, University of Colorado at Boulder
This issue of the free online magazine, Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears, contains content knowledge and instructional resources about icebergs and glaciers and the scientific principles of density and buoyancy.
University, The O.
This article describes some common misconceptions that elementary students may have about icebergs and glaciers (including density and buoyancy). It also includes suggestions for formative assessment and teaching for conceptual change.
More than 1200 photographs of Greenland glaciers have been digitized and are now available at the Online Glacier Photograph Database, housed at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colo. The database includes 50 photographs taken between 1890 and 1996 of glaciers in Colorado and New Zealand as well as a series of photos of New Zealand's Franz Josef Glacier taken between 1951 and 1964. NSIDC has partnered with the NOAA Climate Database Modernization Program and the National Geophysical Data Center to scan selected photographs that compose the online database. For information about these updates or to access the data, visit the Web site: http://nsidc.org/data/g00472.html.
Glaciers are aperiodical physical systems subject to variations forced by variable external influences on gravitational energy and bonds; moreover, self-exciting of variations is possible since they are nonlinear systems with internal energy sources. As glaciers are completely dissipative systems, the auto-variations are of relaxational character and are connected with non-uniformity of the system in time. The field of stable equilibrium
P. A. Shumsky
A major challenge in radio glaciology is sounding of fast-flowing glaciers such as Jakobshavn, Helheim, and Kangardlussuq in Greenland. Weak ice-bed echoes from fast-flowing glaciers are masked by off-vertical surface clutter. We need fine resolution both in the along-track and cross-track directions to reduce surface clutter. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) techniques can be used to improve resolution in the along-track
S. Gogineni; C. Leuschen; J. Li; L. Smith; J. Plummer; A. Hoch
This project, conducted by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), documents changes over time in the landscape of Glacier National Park, particularly the retreat of the park's glaciers. The project involves pairing historic photos from the park's archives with recent photos to illustrate how the landscape has changed. Users can view and download the photos in pairs with dates and a caption describing the scene and the changes that have taken place.
\\u000a Glaciers are the most important water reservoirs found in the Andes. While the scientific community has conducted more extensive\\u000a glaciological studies in southern Chile, it is only recently that attention has been focused on northern Chile. In the Chilean\\u000a “Norte Chico” region, where glaciation is restricted to the highest summits, the sparse glacier network provides the majority\\u000a of water to
Jorge Marín; José Araos
Albedo is one of the variables controlling the mass balance of temperate glaciers. Multispectral imagers, such as MODerate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board the TERRA and AQUA satellites, provide a means to monitor glacier surface albedo. In this study, different methods to retrieve broadband glacier surface albedo from MODIS data are compared. The effect of multiple reflections due to the rugged topography and of the anisotropic reflection of snow and ice are particularly investigated. The methods are tested on the Saint Sorlin Glacier (Grandes Rousses area, French Alps). The accuracy of the retrieved albedo is estimated using both field measurements, at two automatic weather stations located on the glacier, and albedo values derived from terrestrial photographs. For summers 2008 and 2009, the Root Mean Square Deviation (RMSD) between field measurements and the broadband albedo retrieved from MODIS data at 250 m spatial resolution was found to be 0.052 or about 10% relative error. The RMSD estimated for the MOD10 daily albedo product is about three times higher. One decade (2000-2009) of MODIS data were then processed to create a time series of albedo maps of Saint Sorlin Glacier during the ablation season. The annual mass balance of Saint Sorlin Glacier was compared with the minimum albedo value (average over the whole glacier surface) observed with MODIS during the ablation season. A strong linear correlation exists between the two variables. Furthermore, the date when the average albedo of the whole glacier reaches a minimum closely corresponds to the period when the snowline is located at its highest elevation, thus when the snowline is a good indicator of the glacier equilibrium line. This indicates that this strong correlation results from the fact that the minimal average albedo values of the glacier contains a considerable information regarding the relative share of areal surfaces between the ablation zone (i.e. ice with generally low albedo values) and the accumulation zone (i.e. snow with a relatively high albedo). As a consequence, the monitoring of the glacier surface albedo using MODIS data can provide a useful means to evaluate the inter-annual variability of the glacier mass balance. Finally, the albedo in the ablation area of Saint Sorlin Glacier does not exhibit any decreasing trend over the study period, contrasting with the results obtained on Morteratsch Glacier in the Swiss Alps.
Dumont, M.; Gardelle, J.; Sirguey, P.; Guillot, A.; Six, D.; Rabatel, A.; Arnaud, Y.
Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board the TERRA and AQUA satellites, provide a means to monitor glacier surface albedo. In this study, different methods to retrieve broadband glacier surface albedo from MODIS data are compared. The effect of multiple reflections due to the rugged topography and of the anisotropic reflection of snow and ice are particularly investigated. The methods are tested on the Saint Sorlin Glacier (Grandes Rousses area, French Alps). The accuracy of the retrieved albedo is estimated using both field measurements, at two automatic weather stations located on the glacier, and albedo values derived from terrestrial photographs. For summers 2008 and 2009, the Root Mean Square Deviation (RMSD) between field measurements and the broadband albedo retrieved from MODIS data at 250m spatial resolution was found to be 0.052 or about 10% relative error. The RMSD estimated for the MOD10 daily albedo product is about three times higher. One decade (2000-2009) of MODIS data were then processed to create a time series of albedo maps of four glaciers in the French Alps including Saint Sorlin Glacier during the ablation season. The annual mass balance of each glacier was compared with the minimum albedo value (average over the whole glacier surface) observed with MODIS during the ablation season. A strong linear correlation exists between the two variables. Furthermore, the date when the average albedo of the whole glacier reaches a minimum closely corresponds to the period when the snowline is located at its highest elevation, thus when the snowline is a good indicator of the glacier equilibrium line. This indicates that this strong correlation results from the fact that the minimal average albedo values of the glacier contains a considerable information regarding the relative share of areal surfaces between the ablation zone (i.e. ice with generally low albedo values) and the accumulation zone (i.e. snow with a relatively high albedo). As a consequence, the monitoring of the glacier surface albedo using MODIS data can provide a useful means to evaluate the inter-annual variability of the glacier mass balance. Finally, the albedo in the ablation area of Saint Sorlin Glacier does not exhibit any decreasing trend over the study period, contrasting with the results obtained on Morteratsch Glacier in the Swiss Alps.
Dumont, M.; Gardelle, J.; Sirguey, P. J.; Guillot, A.; Décaux, L.; Rabatel, A.; Six, D.; Arnaud, Y.
Albedo is one of the variables controlling the mass balance of temperate glaciers. Multispectral imagers, such as MODerate Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board the TERRA and AQUA satellites, provide a means to monitor glacier surface albedo. In this study, different methods to retrieve broadband glacier surface albedo from MODIS data are compared. The effect of multiple reflections due to the rugged topography and of the anisotropic reflection of snow and ice are particularly investigated. The methods are tested on the Saint Sorlin Glacier (Grandes Rousses area, French Alps). The accuracy of the retrieved albedo is estimated using both field measurements, at two automatic weather stations located on the glacier, and albedo values derived from terrestrial photographs. For summers 2008 and 2009, the root mean square deviation (RMSD) between field measurements and the broadband albedo retrieved from MODIS data at 250 m spatial resolution was found to be 0.052 or about 10% relative error. The RMSD estimated for the MOD10 daily albedo product is about three times higher. One decade (2000-2009) of MODIS data were then processed to create a time series of albedo maps of Saint Sorlin Glacier during the ablation season. The annual mass balance of Saint Sorlin Glacier was compared with the minimum albedo value (average over the whole glacier surface) observed with MODIS during the ablation season. A strong linear correlation exists between the two variables. Furthermore, the date when the average albedo of the whole glacier reaches a minimum closely corresponds to the period when the snow line is located at its highest elevation, thus when the snow line is a good indicator of the glacier equilibrium line. This indicates that this strong correlation results from the fact that the minimal average albedo values of the glacier contains considerable information regarding the relative share of areal surfaces between the ablation zone (i.e. ice with generally low albedo values) and the accumulation zone (i.e. snow with a relatively high albedo). As a consequence, the monitoring of the glacier surface albedo using MODIS data can provide a useful means to evaluate the interannual variability of the glacier mass balance. Finally, the albedo in the ablation area of Saint Sorlin Glacier does not exhibit any decreasing trend over the study period, contrasting with the results obtained on Morteratsch Glacier in the Swiss Alps.
Dumont, M.; Gardelle, J.; Sirguey, P.; Guillot, A.; Six, D.; Rabatel, A.; Arnaud, Y.
Glaciers and ice sheets are among the largest unstable parts of the solid Earth. Generally, glaciers are devoid of resources (other than water), are dangerous, are unstable and no infrastructure is normally built directly on their surfaces. Areas down valley from large alpine glaciers are also commonly unstable due to landslide potential of moraines, debris flows, snow avalanches, outburst floods from glacier lakes, and other dynamical alpine processes; yet there exists much development and human occupation of some disaster-prone areas. Satellite remote sensing can be extremely effective in providing cost-effective and time- critical information. Space-based imagery can be used to monitor glacier outlines and their lakes, including processes such as iceberg calving and debris accumulation, as well as changing thicknesses and flow speeds. Such images can also be used to make preliminary identifications of specific hazardous spots and allows preliminary assessment of possible modes of future disaster occurrence. Autonomous assessment of glacier conditions and their potential for hazards would present a major advance and permit systematized analysis of more data than humans can assess. This technical leap will require the design and implementation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms specifically designed to mimic glacier experts’ reasoning. Here, we introduce the theory of Fuzzy Cognitive Maps (FCM) as an AI tool for predicting and assessing natural hazards in alpine glacier environments. FCM techniques are employed to represent expert knowledge of glaciers physical processes. A cognitive model embedded in a fuzzy logic framework is constructed via the synergistic interaction between glaciologists and AI experts. To verify the effectiveness of the proposed AI methodology as applied to predicting hazards in glacier environments, we designed and implemented a FCM that addresses the challenging problem of autonomously assessing the Glacier Lake Outburst Flow Potential and Impound Water Upstream Flow Potential. The FCM is constructed using what is currently our understanding of how glacier lake outbursts occur, whereas the causal connection between concepts is defined to capture the expertise of glacier scientists. The proposed graph contains 27 nodes and a network of connections that represent the causal link between concepts. To test the developed FCM, we defined three scenarios representing glacier lake environmental conditions that either occurred or that are likely to occur in such highly dynamic environments. For each case, the FCM has been initialized using observables extracted from hypothesized remote sensing imagery. The map, which converges to a fixed point for all of the test scenarios within 15 iterations, shows reasoning consistent with that of glacier experts. The FCM-based cognitive approach has the potential to be the AI core of real-time operational hazards assessment and detection systems.
Furfaro, R.; Kargel, J. S.; Fink, W.; Bishop, M. P.
Glacier fluctuations contribute to variations in sea level and historical glacier length fluctuations are natural indicators of past climate change. To study these subjects, long-term information of glacier change is needed. In this paper we present a data set of global long-term glacier length fluctuations. The data set is a compilation of available information on changes in glacier length worldwide, including both measured and reconstructed glacier length fluctuations. All 471 length series start before 1950 and cover at least four decades. The longest record starts in 1535, but the majority of time series start after 1850. The number of available records decreases again after 1962. The data set has global coverage including records from all continents. However, the Canadian Arctic is not represented in the data set. The available glacier length series show relatively small fluctuations until the mid-19th century, followed by a global retreat. The retreat was strongest in the first half of the 20th century, although large variability in the length change of the different glaciers is observed. During the 20th century, calving glaciers retreated more than land-terminating glaciers, but their relative length change was approximately equal. Besides calving, the glacier slope is the most important glacier property determining length change: steep glaciers have retreated less than glaciers with a gentle slope.
Leclercq, P. W.; Oerlemans, J.; Basagic, H. J.; Bushueva, I.; Cook, A. J.; Le Bris, R.
Bylot Island is located north of Baffin Island (73°N, 80°W) and is extensively covered by an ice cap and its outlet glaciers flowing towards the arctic lowland of the Lancaster formation. During summers of 2009 and 2011 several active-layer detachment slides exposed large massive ice bodies and other types of debris-rich ice that were interpreted as buried glacier ice. The upper part of the massive ice and debris-rich ice were usually in contact with various types of ice-contact or glacio-fluvial sediments and in some cases they were covered by mass wasting/colluvial deposits. This suggests that their preservation was likely related to burial of the ice and refreezing of the overlying sediments following permafrost aggradation. A preliminary analysis of the ice facies and ice crystals revealed the presence of four distinct types of ice: 1) clear-ice bodies with very few sediment and no organic inclusions. The ice crystals were large (cm), randomly oriented and air bubbles were observed at the junction of crystals. These characteristics could potentially indicate an englacial (snow-neve metamorphism) origin for these clear ice bodies; 2) large, meter thick, clear ice layers with no sediment, nor organics. The ice crystals were large (cm), several cm long, oriented in the same direction, and vertically aligned. These characteristics could potentially point to water that refroze in a tunnel incised in englacial ice; 3) Successive, mm to cm thick, ice layers, separated by undulating sand and gravel bands also containing cobles to boulder size rock fragments. These characteristics could potentially represent regelation ice formed at the base of glaciers and incorporated to the glacier sole; 4) mm to cm suspended aggregate of fine-grained sediments in clear ice. These micro-suspended and suspended cryostructures were sometimes deformed and aligned in the form of thin (mm) undulating layers. These micro-structures were very similar to basal ice facies, presumably related to glacio-hydrologic supercooling, that we observed at the Matanuska Glacier in Alaska. Interestingly, the various types of ice contained in buried glacier ice permafrost date back to the englacial ice formation and its subsequent deformation by glacier flow and glacio-hydrological dynamics. It is thus older by several centuries to millennia than the permafrost aggradation itself (burial and active layer development) and we used the term antegenetic, in opposition to epigenetic or syngenetic, to characterize this type of permafrost. Buried glacier ice is a window to the past and a unique tool to reconstruct the paleogeography and paleoclimatology of Arctic regions. In a warming climate, as glaciers are receding, the burial of ice in the proglacial environment will offer opportunities to characterize antegenetic permafrost aggradation and its related cryofacies. In warming permafrost environments, as active layers on slope deepen and detachment slides are triggered, more buried Pleistocene glacier ice will likely be exposed.
Fortier, D.; Coulombe, S.; Kanevskiy, M. Z.; Paquette, M.; Shur, Y.; Stephani, E.
The recent retreats and acceleration in flow speeds of marine-terminating glaciers around the globe have raised concern over the potential for rapid loss of ice and increased rates of sea level rise. The dynamics of these glaciers are poorly understood, partly due to the difficulty in obtaining observations of ice flow speed that can be compared to potentially important forcing variables, such as air and ocean temperatures or calving rates. The high flow speeds (often >10 m/day) and large strain rates the near the fronts of these glaciers result in extreme crevassing, making surface travel for instrument deployment impossible. Due to this impassibility, measurements of surface motion have come predominantly from optical surveying or repeat satellite or photographic imaging. Remote sensing methods are limited in spatial and temporal resolution and optical surveys require manual operation in the field and have limited range. In contrast, Global Positioning System (GPS ) receivers offer very high resolution and, once deployed, collect data autonomously. GPS has been used to measure glacier surface motion for over a decade. Dual-frequency systems can yield post-processed displacements with accuracies of 1 cm or less, with a temporal resolution of minutes. These observations have been critical for resolving the stick-slip motion of Antarctic ice streams and the controls on glacial “icequakes” in Greenland. These systems have been combined with satellite-based data telemetry systems to provide near real-time position data to any location. These systems, however, typically cost several thousands of dollars, preventing their deployment in situations with low or no probability of recovery. The few field programs that have deployed dual-frequency receivers on fast-moving glaciers retrieved the systems after only a few days to prevent loss. While some investigators may be able to absorb the cost of loss of these systems, large-scale deployments will require a more cost-effective option. Single-channel GPS receivers are available for a small fraction of the cost of geodetic quality systems and, when a differential correction is applied (DGPS), provide displacement accuracies of decimeters. While this level of accuracy is too coarse to resolve speed variations on most glaciers, average speeds in excess of 10 m/day are common near the fronts of calving glaciers, so that the error may only be 10% of the motion or less. Furthermore, such glaciers are typically bounded by fjord walls where equipment can be safely deployed and retrieved. Data from the receivers need only to be transmitted a short distance to a data logger for storage, allowing for the use of less expensive, more reliable and lower power radio frequency (RF) data modems, rather than satellite modems. Here we present a low-cost integrated single-channel DGPS and RF telemetry system for deployment on fast-moving glaciers where recovery is unlikely or will not be attempted. We describe the system, including data processing methods and accuracies, and present results from test deployments on glaciers in Alaska and Greenland.
Howat, I. M.; Behar, A. E.; Brown, A. K.
Descriptions of the mineral occurrences can be found in the report. See U.S. Geological Survey (1996) for a description of the information content of each field in the records. The data presented here are maintained as part of a statewide database on mines, prospects and mineral occurrences throughout Alaska. There is a website from which you can obtain the data for this report in text and Filemaker Pro formats
Pilcher, Steven H.
Changes in mass contained by mountain glaciers and ice caps can modify the Earth's hydrological cycle on multiple scales. On a global scale, the mass loss from glaciers contributes to sea-level rise. On regional and local scales, glacier meltwater is an important contributor to and modulator of river flow. In light of strongly accelerated worldwide glacier retreat, the associated glacier mass losses raise concerns over the sustainability of water supplies in many parts of the world. Here, we review recent attempts to quantify glacier mass changes and their effect on river runoff on regional and global scales. We find that glacier runoff is defined ambiguously in the literature, hampering direct comparison of findings on the importance of glacier contribution to runoff. Despite consensus on the hydrological implications to be expected from projected future warming, there is a pressing need for quantifying the associated regional-scale changes in glacier runoff and responses in different climate regimes.
Radi?, Valentina; Hock, Regine
The main objectives of this study is to investigate the basal conditions of a surging glacier. For that, we apply the inverse method proposed by Arthern and Gudmundsson (Journal of Glaciology, 2010). This method is based on an iterative descent algorithm numerically implemented in the finite element code Elmer/Ice. Neumann and Dirichlet problems are solved successively in order to minimize the cost function constructed as the norm of the difference between the basal velocities solutions of both problems. The method is applied to the Variegated glacier, a surge type glacier located in Alaska. We use measurements on this glacier carried out by Raymond and Harrison (Journal of Glaciology, 1988) during the quiescent stage of 1966-81 and the surge of 1982-83. Data contain surface velocities as well as the bed and surface topography along the central flow-line. In a first step, for each set of data obtained at different dates, we run the model diagnostically to solve for the basal drag coefficient in order to match the modelled horizontal surface velocities and the observed velocities. In a second step, inferred basal drag coefficient are analysed and then integrated in a transient simulation which cover the whole period of the data set, i.e. both quiescent and surge stages. Results show the contribution of basal sliding in the surge phenomenon and the modification of the basal condition from the quiescent to the surge stages. These modifications can be interpreted in term of changes in sub-glacial water pressure and runoff.
Gagliardini, O.; Jay-Allemand, M.; Gillet-Chaulet, F.
This registry initiates a program of epidemiological assessments of PS among Alaska Natives to study the natural history and clinical management of PS and establishes a database of Alaska native people with PS for public health research and educational pu...
B. A. Trimble
Table of Contents: Tables and figures; Executive summary; Introduction; What is Arthritis; What is Osteoporosis; Arthritis in the United States and Alaska; Osteoporosis in the United States and Alaska; Why Address both Arthritis and Osteoporosis in this P...
T. Knowles, J. Livey, K. Pearson
This registry initiates a program of epidemiological assessments of PS among Alaska Natives to study the natural history and clinical management of PS, and establishes a database of Alaska native people with PS for public health, research and educational ...
B. A. Trimble
Climatic data, ice core records, the tree ring index, and recorded glacier variations have been used to reconstruct a history of climatic and glacial changes in the monsoonal temperate glacier region of southwestern China during the last 400 years. The region's temperature has increased in a fluctuating manner during the twentieth century after two cold stages of the Little Ice
Yuanqing He; Zhonglin Zhang; Wilfred H. Theakstone; Tuo Chen; Tandong Yao; Hongxi Pang
The continuation of valuable, long-term glacier observation series is threatened by the accelerated mass loss which currently affects a large portion of so-called "benchmark" glaciers. In this work we present the evolution of the Careser Glacier, from the beginning of systematic observation at the end of the 19th century to its current condition in 2012. In addition to having one of the longest and richest observation records among the Italian glaciers, Careser is unique in the Italian Alps for its 46 yr mass balance series that started in 1967. In the present study, variations in the length, area and volume of the glacier since 1897 are examined, updating and validating the series of direct mass balance observations and adding to the mass balance record into the past using the geodetic method. The glacier is currently strongly out of balance and in rapid decay; its average mass loss rate over the last 3 decades was 1.5 m water equivalent per year, increasing to 2.0 m water equivalent per year in the last decade. Although these rates are not representative at a regional scale, year-to-year variations in mass balance show an unexpected increase in correlation with other glaciers in the Alps, during the last 3 decades. If mass loss continues at this pace, the glacier will disappear within a few decades, putting an end to this unique observation series.
Carturan, L.; Baroni, C.; Becker, M.; Bellin, A.; Cainelli, O.; Carton, A.; Casarotto, C.; Dalla Fontana, G.; Godio, A.; Martinelli, T.; Salvatore, M. C.; Seppi, R.
The Global Land Ice Measurement from Space (GLIMS) project is a cooperative effort of over sixty institutions world-wide with the goal of inventorying a majority of the world's estimated 160000 glaciers. Each institution (called a Regional Center, or RC) oversees the analysis of satellite imagery for a particular region containing glacier ice. Data received by the GLIMS team at the
Bruce Raup; Adina Racoviteanu; Siri Jodha Singh Khalsa; Christopher Helm; Richard Armstrong; Yves Arnaud
Glaciers are effective agents of erosion for many mountainous regions, but primary rates of erosion are difficult to quantify due to unknown conditions at the glacier bed. We develop a numerical model of subglacial erosion and passively couple it to a vertically integrated ice flow model (UBC regional glaciation model). The model accounts for seasonal changes in water pressure at the glacier bed which affect rates of abrasion and quarrying. We apply our erosion model to Peyto Glacier, and compare estimates of glacier erosion to the mass of fine sediment contained in a lake immediately down valley from the glacier. A series of experiments with our model and ones based on subglacial sliding rates are run to explore model sensitivity to bedrock hardness, seasonal hydrology, changes in mass balance, and longer-term dimensional changes of the glacier. Our experiments show that, as expected, erosion rates are most sensitive to bedrock hardness and changes in glacier mass balance. Silt and clay contained in Peyto Lake primarily originate from the glacier, and represent sediments derived from abrasion and comminution of material produced by quarrying. Average specific sediment yield during the period AD1917-1970 from the lake is 467×190 Mg km-2yr-1 and reaches a maximum of 928 Mg km-2yr-1 in AD1941. Converting to a specific sediment yield, modelled average abrasion and quarrying rates during the comparative period are 142×44 Mg km-2yr-1 and 1167×213 Mg km-2yr-1 respectively. Modelled quarrying accounts for approximately 85-95% of the erosion occurring beneath the glacier. The basal sliding model estimates combined abrasion and quarrying. During the comparative period, estimated yields average 427×136 Mg km-2yr-1, lower than the combined abrasion and quarrying models. Both models predict maximum sediment yield when Peyto Glacier reached its maximum extent. The simplistic erosion model shows higher sensitivity to climate, as seen by accentuated sediment yield peaks during the Little Ice Age. In all of our experiments to date, modelled sediment yield closely follow maximum ice cover. In contrast, sediment yields obtained from the lake indicate that maximum sediment delivery to the lake lagged maximum ice cover and occurred during a period of rapid glacier retreat. We interpret this lag to indicate removal of stored sediments beneath the glacier and subaerial erosion from recently exposed sediments in the glacier forefield rather than an increase in primary erosion of bedrock.
Vogt, R.; Mlynowski, T. J.; Menounos, B.
North American ice worms are the largest glacially-obligate metazoans, inhabiting coastal, temperate glaciers between southcentral Alaska and Oregon. We have collected ice worm specimens from 10 new populations, completing a broad survey throughout their geographic range. Phylogenetic analyses of 87 individuals using fragments of nuclear 18S rRNA, and mitochondrial 12S rRNA and cyctochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (CO1) identified 18 CO1 haplotypes with divergence values up to ~10%. Phylogeographic interpretations suggest a St. Elias Range, Alaskan ancestry from an aquatic mesenchytraeid oligochaete during the early-Pliocene. A gradual, northward expansion by active dispersal from the central St. Elias clade characterizes a northern clade that is confined to Alaska (with one exception on Vancouver Island, British Columbia), while a distinct southern clade representing worms from British Columbia, Washington and Oregon was likely founded by a passive dispersal event originating from a northern ancestor. The geographic boundary between central and southern clades coincides with an ice worm distribution gap located in southern Alaska, which appears to have restricted active gene flow throughout the species' evolutionary history. PMID:22370043
Roman Dial, C; Dial, Roman J; Saunders, Ralph; Lang, Shirley A; Lee, Ben; Wimberger, Peter; Dinapoli, Megan S; Egiazarov, Alexander S; Gipple, Shannon L; Maghirang, Melanie R; Swartley-McArdle, Daniel J; Yudkovitz, Stephanie R; Shain, Daniel H
Mount Spurr (3,374 meters altitude) is an active volcano 130 kilometers west of Anchorage, Alaska, with an extensive covering of seasonal and perennial snow, and glaciers. Knowledge of the volume and distribution of snow and ice on a volcano aids in assessing hydrologic hazards such as floods, mudflows, and debris flows. In July 1981, ice thickness was measured at 68 locations on the five main glaciers of Mount Spurr: 64 of these measurements were made using a portable 1.7 megahertz monopulse ice-radar system, and 4 measurements were made using the helicopter altimeter where the glacier bed was exposed by ice avalanching. The distribution of snow and ice derived from these measurements is depicted on contour maps and in tables compiled by altitude and by drainage basins. Basal shear stresses at 20 percent of the measured locations ranged from 200 to 350 kilopascals, which is significantly higher than the 50 to 150 kilopascals commonly referred to in the literature as the 'normal' range for glaciers. Basal shear stresses higher than 'normal' have also been found on steep glaciers on volcanoes in the Cascade Range in the western United States. The area of perennial snow and ice coverage on Mount Spurr was 360 square kilometers in 1981, with an average thickness of 190?50 meters. Seasonal snow increases the volume about 1 percent and increases the area about 30 percent with a maximum in May or June. Runoff from Mount Spurr feeds the Chakachatna River and the Chichantna River (a tributary of the Beluga River). The Chakachatna River drainage contains 14 cubic kilometers of snow and ice and the Chichantna River drainage contains 53 cubic kilometers. The snow and ice volume on the mountain was 67?17 cubic kilometers, approximately 350 times more snow and ice than was on Mount St. Helens before its May 18, 1980, eruption, and 15 times more snow and ice than on Mount Rainier, the most glacierized of the measured volcanoes in the Cascade Range. On the basis of these relative quantities, hazard-producing glaciovolcanic phenomena at Mount Spurr could be significantly greater than similar phenomena at Cascade Volcanoes.
March, Rod S.; Mayo, Lawrence R.; Trabant, Dennis C.
The Tibetan Plateau is one of the most extensively glaciated, non-Polar regions of the world, and its mountain glaciers are the primary source of melt water for several of the largest Asian rivers. During glacial cycles, Tibetan Plateau glaciers advanced and retreated multiple times, but remained restricted to the highest mountain areas as valley glaciers and ice caps. Because glacier extent is dominantly controlled by climate, the past extent of Tibetan glaciers provide information on regional climate. Here we present a study analyzing the past maximum extents of glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau with the output of a 3D glacier model, in an effort to quantify Tibetan Plateau climate. We have mapped present-day glaciers and glacial landforms deposited by formerly more extensive glaciers in eight mountain regions across the Tibetan Plateau, allowing us to define present-day and past maximum glacier outlines. Using a high-resolution (250 m) higher-order glacier model calibrated against present-day glacier extents, we have quantified the climate perturbations required to expand present-day glaciers to their past maximum extents. We find that a modest cooling of at most 6°C for a few thousand years is enough to attain past maximum extents, even with 25-75% precipitation reduction. This evidence for limited cooling indicates that the temperature of the Tibetan Plateau remained relatively stable over Quaternary glacial cycles. Given the significant sensitivity to temperature change, the expectation is perhaps that a future warmer climate might result in intense glacier reduction. We have tested this hypothesis and modeled the future glacier development for the three mountain regions with the largest present-day glacier cover using a projected warming of 2.8 to 6.2°C within 100 years (envelope limits from IPCC). These scenarios result in dramatic glacier reductions, including 24-100% ice volume loss after 100 years and 77-100% ice volume loss after 300 years.
Heyman, Jakob; Hubbard, Alun; Stroeven, Arjen P.; Harbor, Jonathan M.
On 3 November 2002 an M W7.9 earthquake occurred in central Alaska. The earthquake ruptured portions of the Susitna Glacier, Denali, and Totschunda faults. Inversion of the GPS-measured displacement field indicates that the event was dominated by a complex, right-lateral strike-slip rupture along the Denali fault. GPS sites closest to the epicenter show the effect of thrust motion on the
Sigrún Hreinsdóttir; Jeffrey T. Freymueller; Hilary J. Fletcher; Christopher F. Larsen; Roland Bürgmann
Rapid disintegration and thinning of Glacier Bay's tidewater glaciers and ice fields followed the end of the Little Ice Age. Geodetic studies by Larsen et al. have quantified average rates of post-glacial isostatic rebound (PGR) in the vicinity of Glacier Bay in Southeast Alaska. PGR continues today with maximum uplift rates of 30 mm/yr in Glacier Bay's upper West Arm and 32 mm/yr in the Yakutat Icefield. ISEA is a collaborative Japanese-American project which will combine CGPS measurements of uplift with absolute gravity and gravity tide observations in Southeast Alaska. ISEA will build on previous work in Glacier Bay with a multi-pronged geophysical approach similar to that used by Sato et al. in Svalbard, Norway. CGPS data sets from Gustavus and elsewhere in Alaska show seasonal variability in vertical velocity. We hypothesize this is due to winter snow loading and summer ice loss in adjacent mountain ranges. If uplift rates are found to accelerate over the five year span of this project, this would suggest increasing rates of present day ice loss in Glacier Bay. CGPS measurements of seasonal crustal deformation might be used as a powerful integrating tool for mass balance monitoring over an extensive, glacierized area. ISEA supplements existing CGPS stations [U.S. Coast Guard and Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO)] and improves the spatial array with new stations in and around Glacier Bay. During June and September of 2006, an ISEA field team established five new CGPS stations. Two new sites within Glacier Bay National Park, at Blue Mouse Cove and Queen Inlet, are near the zone of maximum uplift. The third CGPS was placed to the east, on Eldred Rock, in northern Lynn Canal. The fourth site, to the west near Dry Bay, completes a 200 km east-west "transect" through this uplift peak. The fifth site lies to the northeast along the Haines Highway in Yukon, Canada. A sixth site in the Tatshenshini River region, north of Glacier Bay, is proposed for 2007. Site construction follows PBO designs for short-drilled, braced, steel GPS monuments. GPS receivers are powered by 12v solar systems or disposable air-alkaline batteries. Our CGPS sites are not telemetered and will require annual visits.
Kaufman, A. M.; Freymueller, J. T.; Miura, S.; Cross, R. S.; Sato, T.; Sun, W.; Fujimoto, H.
This is a Web-based story of three children who venture out to find their great-grandfather's treasure box that was lost in the remote state of Alaska. Using simple terminology, the story integrates complex Earth and space science concepts, such as the formation of gold deposits and the operation of satellites. The children model creative thinking, acquire and interpret radar images, plan a treasure hunt, work systematically, and learn about Alaska. They also experience the successes and setbacks of actual research. The story provides opportunities for readers to engage in coloring activities, model building, unit conversions, and math calculations. Additionally, readers can interactively view an image from different heights and compare the size of Alaska to other U.S. states.
This is the homepage of the Alaska Native Science Commission (ANSC), an organization dedicated to bringing together research and science in partnership with the Native community. Site materials include information on Alaska Native communities; a searchable database of contacts for community knowledge and a directory of local, statewide, and federally recognized Alaska Native agencies. There is also information on organizational ethics and protocols, regulatory agencies, a browsable database of research projects, and information on sources of funding. The Key Issues page provides information on issues of concern, such as avian flu, climate change, observations about contaminants and environmental change, traditional knowledge systems, traditional foods, and views on climate change and ecology. For students, there is information on einternship and scholarship opportunities. The publications page provides access to archived newsletters, presentations, and reports.
Paleomagnetic data from southern Alaska indicate that the Wrangellia and Peninsular terranes collided with central Alaska probably by 65 Ma ago and certainly no later than 55 Ma ago. The accretion of these terranes to the mainland was followed by the arrival of the Ghost Rocks volcanic assemblage at the southern margin of Kodiak Island. Poleward movement of these terranes can be explained by rapid motion of the Kula oceanic plate, mainly from 85 to 43 Ma ago, according to recent reconstructions derived from the hot-spot reference frame. After accretion, much of southwestern Alaska underwent a counterclockwise rotation of about 50 ?? as indicated by paleomagnetic poles from volcanic rocks of Late Cretaceous and Early Tertiary age. Compression between North America and Asia during opening of the North Atlantic (68-44 Ma ago) may account for the rotation. ?? 1987.
Hillhouse, J. W.
Funded in 2005-2008, by the National Science Foundation's Geoscience Education Division, the Experiential Discoveries in Geoscience Education (EDGE) project was designed to use glacier and watershed field experiences as venues for geospatial data collected by Alaska's grade 6-12 middle and high school teachers and their students. EDGE participants were trained in GIS and learned to analyze geospatial data to answer questions about the warming Alaska environment and to determine rates of ongoing glacier recession. Important emphasis of the program was the recruitment of Alaska Native students of Inupiat, Yup'ik, Athabascan, and Tlingit populations, living in both rural and urban areas around the state. Twelve of Alaska's 55 school districts have participated in the EDGE program. To engage EDGE students in the practice of scientific inquiry, each was required to carry out a semester scale research project using georeferenced data, guided by their EDGE teacher and mentor. Across Alaska students investigated several Earth systems processes including freezing conditions of lake ice; the changes in water quality in storm drains after rainfall events; movements of moose, bears, and bison across Alaskan landscapes; changes in permafrost depth in western Alaska; and the response of migrating waterfowl to these permafrost changes. Students correlated the substrate beneath their schools with known earthquake intensities; measured cutbank and coastal erosion on northern rivers and southeastern shorelines; tracked salmon infiltration of flooded logging roads; noted the changing behavior of eagles during late winter salmon runs; located good areas for the use of tidal power for energy production; tracked the extent and range of invasive plant species with warming; and the change of forests following deglaciation. Each cohort of EDGE students and teachers finished the program by attended a 3-day EDGE symposium at which students presented their research projects first in a practice sessions at the University and then in an actual competition in a Regional High School Science Fair at which they could qualify to compete at the Intel International Science and Engineering fair. Thirty-four teachers, 30 high school students (over 40 percent of whom were Alaska Native) and over 1000 middle school students (25 percent Alaska natives) participated in EDGE activities, increasing their knowledge of Earth science, GIS skills, and data management and analysis. More information on the EDGE project is available at www.edge.alaska.edu.
Prakash, A.; Connor, C.
The albedo is one of the variables controlling the mass balance of temperate glaciers. Multispectral imagers, such as MODIS on board TERRA and AQUA, provide a means to monitor glacier albedo. In this study, different methods to retrieve broadband glacier albedo from MODIS data are compared. In particular, the effect of the multiple reflections due to the rugged topography and that of the anisotropic reflection of snow and ice are investigated. The methods are tested on the Saint Sorlin glacier (Grandes Rousses area, French Alps). The accuracy of the retrieved albedo is estimated using both field measurements and albedo derived from terrestrial photographs. The root mean square deviation between field measurements and the broadband albedo retrieved from MODIS pixels at 250m spatial resolution was found to be less than 0.06. One decade (2000-2010) of MODIS data were then processed to create a time series of albedo maps of Saint Sorlin glacier during the ablation season. It appears that the albedo in the ablation area of the glacier does not exhibit any marked decreasing trend during the decade under study. This contrasts with the situation observed on other glaciers in the Alps. In addition, the annual mass balance of Saint Sorlin Glacier was compared with the minimum albedo value (spatial averaged over the whole glacier) observed with MODIS during the ablation season. A high linear correlation exists between the two variables. Furthermore, the day on which the albedo reaches a minimum over the glacier closely corresponds to the day on which the snowline is found to be at its highest elevation, thus close to the glacier's equilibrium line. This indicates that the high correlation can be explained by the fact that this minimal albedo contains a high degree of information regarding the relative share of areal surfaces between the ablation zone (i.e., ice with a generally lower albedo) and the accumulation zone (i.e., snow with a relatively high albedo). This implies that monitoring the albedo of glacier with MODIS data can provide a useful means to approach the inter-annual variability of the glacier's mass balance.
Dumont, M.; Gardelle, J.; Arnaud, Y.; Guillot, A.; Sirguey, P.; Six, D.
Meltwater from alpine glaciers provides critical water supply for vulnerable populations in the western Andes, the Himalayas and the eastern Canadian Rockies. Glacier recession is of major concern in these climate-sensitive regions where we seek to predict changes in watershed hydrology in selected glacierized river basins. The overarching research question of this investigation asks: How have changes in headwater glaciers affected water supply reliability in those parts of the world where streamflow dynamics are most affected by glacier sources? Our approach uses a process-based model that incorporates snow, glaciers, soil, groundwater, vegetation, and topography. The model is a newly modified version of the spatially distributed hydrology model, DHSVM, in which we have added a dynamic glacier submodel. The glacier submodel is initialized with satellite remote sensing-derived maps of glacier extent and a digital elevation model. It assumes conservation of mass, solving the continuity equation for ice and assumes Glen's ice creep law, a sliding law, and the shallow ice approximation. The glacier model can also handle transport and melt-out of debris cover, ice rheology, and isostatic adjustment for long model runs. Using the Bow Glacier, Alberta as an example, this presentation will focus on recent advances in the integrated modeling of glacier and snowmelt runoff and state-of-the-art remote sensing of glacier extent from ASTER and Landsat.
Nolin, A. W.; Lettenmaier, D. P.; Clarke, G. K.; Naz, B. S.; Burns, P. J.
The Copper River, located in southcentral Alaska, drains an area of more than 24,000 square miles. About 30 miles above its mouth, this large river enters Miles Lake, a proglacial lake formed by the retreat of Miles Glacier. Downstream from the outlet of Miles Lake, the Copper River flows past the face of Childs Glacier before it enters a large, broad, alluvial flood plain. The Copper River Highway traverses this flood plain and in 1995, 11 bridges were located along this section of the highway. These bridges cross parts of the Copper River and in recent years, some of these bridges have sustained serious damage due to the changing course of the Copper River. Although the annual mean discharge of the lower Copper River is 57,400 cubic feet per second, most of the flow occurs during the summer months from snowmelt, rainfall, and glacial melt. Approximately every six years, an outburst flood from Van Cleve Lake, a glacier-dammed lake formed by Miles Glacier, releases approximately 1 million acre-feet of water into the Copper River. When the outflow rate from Van Cleve Lake reaches it peak, the flow of the Copper River will increase between 150,000 to 190,000 cubic feet per second. Data collected by bedload sampling and continuous seismic reflection indicated that Miles Lake traps virtually all the bedload being transported by the Copper River as it enters the lake from the north. The reservoir-like effect of Miles Lake results in the armoring of the channel of the Copper River downstream from Miles Lake, past Childs Glacier, until it reaches the alluvial flood plain. At this point, bedload transport begins again. The lower Copper River transports 69 million tons per year of suspended sediment, approximately the same quantity as the Yukon River, which drains an area of more than 300,000 square miles. By correlating concurrent flows from a long-term streamflow-gaging station on the Copper River with a short-term streamflow-gaging station at the outlet of Miles Lake, long-term flow characteristics of the lower Copper River were synthesized. Historical discharge and cross-section data indicate that as late as 1970, most of the flow of the lower Copper River was through the first three bridges of the Copper River Highway as it begins to traverse the alluvial flood plain. In the mid 1980's, a percentage of the flow had shifted away from these three bridges and in 1995, only 51 percent of the flow of the Copper River passed through them. Eight different years of aerial photography of the lower Copper River were analyzed using Geographical Information System techniques. This analysis indicated that no major channel changes were caused by the 1964 earthquake. However, a flood in 1981 that had a recurrence interval of more than 100 years caused significant channel changes in the lower Copper River. A probability analysis of the lower Copper River indicated stable areas and the long-term locations of channels. By knowing the number of times a particular area has been occupied by water and the last year an area was occupied by water, areas of instability can be located. A Markov analysis of the lower Copper River indicated that the tendency of the flood plain is to remain in its current state. Large floods of the magnitude of the 1981 event are believed to be the cause of major changes in the lower Copper River.
Brabets, Timothy P.
The Copper River, located in southcentral Alaska, drains an area of more than 24,000 square miles. About 30 miles above its mouth, this large river enters Miles Lake, a proglacial lake formed by the retreat of Miles Glacier. Downstream from the outlet of Miles Lake, the Copper River flows past the face of Childs Glacier before it enters a large, broad, alluvial flood plain. The Copper River Highway traverses this flood plain and in 1996, 11 bridges were located along this section of the highway. These bridges cross parts or all of the Copper River and in recent years, some of these bridges have sustained serious damage due to the changing course of the Copper River. Although the annual mean discharge of the lower Copper River is 57,400 cubic feet per second, most of the flow occurs during the summer months from snowmelt, rainfall, and glacial melt. Approximately every six years, an outburst flood from Van Cleve Lake, a glacier-dammed lake formed by Miles Glacier, releases approximately 1 million acre-feet of water into the Copper River. At the peak outflow rate from Van Cleve Lake, the flow of the Copper River will increase an additional 140,000 and 190,000 cubic feet per second. Bedload sampling and continuous seismic reflection were used to show that Miles Lake traps virtually all the bedload being transported by the Copper River as it enters the lake from the north. The reservoir-like effect of Miles Lake results in the armoring of the channel of the Copper River downstream from Miles Lakes, past Childs Glacier, until it reaches the alluvial flood plain. At this point, bedload transport begins again. The lower Copper River transports 69 million tons per year of suspended sediment, approximately the same quantity as the Yukon River, which drains an area of more than 300,000 square miles. By correlating concurrent flows from a long-term streamflow- gaging station on the Copper River with a short-term streamflow-gaging station at the outlet of Miles Lake, long-term flow characteristics of the lower Copper River were synthesized. Historical discharge and cross-section data indicate that as late as 1970, most of the flow of the lower Copper River was through the first three bridges of the Copper River Highway as it begins to traverse the alluvial flood plain. In the mid 1980's, a percentage of the flow had shifted away from these three bridges and in 1995, only 51 percent of the flow of the Copper River passed through them. Eight different years of aerial photography of the lower Copper River were analyzed using Geographical Information System techniques. This analysis indicated that no major channel changes were caused by the 1964 earthquake. A flood in 1981 that had a recurrence interval of more than 100 years caused significant channel changes in the lower Copper River. A probability analysis of the lower Copper River indicated stable areas and the long-term locations of channels. By knowing the number of times a particular area has been occupied by water and the last year an area was occupied by water, areas of instability can be located. A Markov analysis of the lower Copper River indicated that the tendency of the flood plain is to remain in its current state. Large floods of the magnitude of the 1981 event are believed to be the cause of major changes in the lower Copper River.
Brabets, T. P.
Meserve Glacier, Antarctica, was used as a natural laboratory for research on the effective viscosity of subfreezing polycrystalline ice, and on the interaction of cold-based glaciers with their beds. A tunnel was excavated through basal layers of this glacier, which allowed sampling of ice for subsequent measurements of physical and chemical properties and allowed in-situ measurements of ice deformation and glacier sliding. Analyses of deformation reveal a direct dependence of strain rate on crystal size, which reflects an important role for grain-size-sensitive deformation mechanisms such as grain boundary sliding. The sensitivity of strain rate to chemical impurity content and rock particle content is found to be very low. Variations of crystal size probably are an important control on shear enhancement in the ice sheets. The enhanced shear strain rate inferred from tilt of the Dye 3 borehole can be explained as a result of combined fabric and crystal size variations. I infer that interactions between Meserve glacier and its bed are influenced by the presence of liquid water films at ice-rock interfaces despite the low temperature of -17°C. Such films allow slip at ice-rock interfaces and cause in-situ segregation of ice into clean lenses amidst dirty layers. Using slip rate and bed surface roughness measurements I infer la liquid film thickness of at least tens of nanometers. Such films should generally be present in polar glaciers, and will have a thickness controlled by soluble impurities and temperature. Analyses of gas and isotopic composition of basal ices reveal that entrainment of bed material into this glacier actively occurs without bulk freeze-on and conventional regelation. Cold-based glaciers have the capacity to striate and erode their beds, and to create glacial landforms. I reinterpret the clear and persistent relationship between d18O and dD of polar precipitation, which allows isotopic composition to be an important tool for studying glacier-bed interactions and deuterium excess measurements on ice cores to reveal subtropical paleoclimate. I argue that the isotopic composition of precipitation is determined by water-vapor equilibrium to temperatures as low as -35°C. This implies deuterium excess is not sensitive to cloud supersaturation.
Cuffey, Kurt Marshall
Quantitative measurements of glacier flow over time are an important ingredient for glaciological research, for example to determine the mass balances and the evolution of glaciers. Measuring glacier flow in multi-temporal images involves the estimation of a dense set of corresponding points, which in turn define the flow vectors. Furthermore glaciers exhibit rather difficult radiometry, since their surface usually contains homogeneous areas as well as weak texture and contrast. To date glacier flow is usually observed by manually measuring a sparse set of correspondences, which is labor-intensive and often yields rather irregular point distributions, with the associated problems of interpolating over large areas. In the present work we propose to densely compute motion vectors at every pixel, by using recent robust methods for optic flow computation. Determining the optic flow, i.e. the dense deformation field between two images of a dynamic scene, has been a classic, long-standing research problem in computer vision and image processing. Sophisticated methods exist to optimally balance data fidelity with smoothness of the motion field. Depending on the strength of the local image gradients these methods yield a smooth trade-off between matching and interpolation, thereby avoiding the somewhat arbitrary decision which discrete anchor points to measure, while at the same time mitigating the problem of gross matching errors. We evaluate our method by comparing with manually measured point wise ground truth.
Vogel, C.; Bauder, A.; Schindler, K.
There are procedures and methods for verification of coding algebra and for validations of models and calculations that are in use in the aerospace computational fluid dynamics (CFD) community. These methods would be efficacious if used by the glacier dynamics modelling community. This paper is a presentation of some of those methods, and how they might be applied to uncertainty management supporting code verification and model validation for glacier dynamics. The similarities and differences between their use in CFD analysis and the proposed application of these methods to glacier modelling are discussed. After establishing sources of uncertainty and methods for code verification, the paper looks at a representative sampling of verification and validation efforts that are underway in the glacier modelling community, and establishes a context for these within overall solution quality assessment. Finally, an information architecture and interactive interface is introduced and advocated. This Integrated Cryospheric Exploration (ICE) Environment is proposed for exploring and managing sources of uncertainty in glacier modelling codes and methods, and for supporting scientific numerical exploration and verification. The details and functionality of this Environment are described based on modifications of a system already developed for CFD modelling and analysis.
Thompson, David E.
Glaciers, formed by snowfall and characterized by movement and size, are the most sensitive indicators to climate change.\\u000a The ice formation of glaciers (the processes, mechanisms and results of transformation from snow to ice) can indicate the\\u000a growth condition, the formation process and the physical characteristics of glaciers. Its spatial variation can also reflect\\u000a glacier change, and further reveal climate
Xiangying Li; Shiyin Liu; Donghui Shangguan; Aigang Lu
The circular Bokan Mountain complex (BMC) on southern Prince of Wales Island, southernmost Alaska, is a Jurassic peralkaline granitic intrusion about 3 km in diameter that crosscuts igneous and metasedimentary rocks of the Alexander terrane. The BMC hosts significant rare metal (rare earth elements, Y, U, Th, Zr, and Nb) mineralization related to the last stage of BMC emplacement. U–Pb (zircon) and 40Ar/39Ar (amphibole and whole-rock) geochronology indicates the following sequence of intrusive activity: (i) a Paleozoic basement composed mainly of 469 ± 4 Ma granitic rocks; (ii) intrusion of the BMC at 177 ± 1 Ma followed by rapid cooling through ca. 550 °C at 176 ± 1 Ma that was synchronous with mineralization associated with vertical, WNW-trending pegmatites, felsic dikes, and aegirine–fluorite veins and late-stage, sinistral shear deformation; and (iii) intrusion of crosscutting lamprophyre dikes at >150 Ma and again at ca. 105 Ma. The peralkaline nature of the BMC and the WNW trend of associated dikes suggest intrusion during NE–SW rifting that was followed by NE–SW shortening during the waning stages of BMC emplacement. The 177 Ma BMC was synchronous with other magmatic centres in the Alexander terrane, such as (1) the Dora Bay peralkaline stock and (2) the bimodal Moffatt volcanic suite located ~30 km north and ~100 km SE of the BMC, respectively. This regional magmatism is interpreted to represent a regional extensional event that precedes deposition of the Late Jurassic – Cretaceous Gravina sequence that oversteps the Wrangellia and Alexander exotic accreted terranes and the Taku and Yukon–Tanana pericratonic terranes of the Canadian–Alaskan Cordillera.
Dostal, Jaroslav; Karl, Susan M.; Keppie, J. Duncan; Kontak, Daniel J.; Shellnutt, J. Gregory
The continuation of valuable, long-term glacier observation series is threatened by the accelerated mass loss which currently affects a large portion of so-called "benchmark" glaciers. In this work we present the evolution of the Careser glacier, from the beginning of systematic observation at the end of the nineteenth century to its current condition in 2012. In addition to having one of the longest and richest observation record among the Italian glaciers, Careser is unique in the Italian Alps for its 45 yr mass balance series started in 1967. In the present study, variations in the length, area and volume of the glacier since 1897 are examined, updating the series of direct mass balance observations and extending it into the past using the geodetic method. The glacier is currently strongly out of balance and in rapid decay; its average mass loss rate over the last three decades was -1.5 m water equivalent per year, increasing to -2.0 m water equivalent per year in the last decade. If mass loss continues at this pace, the glacier will disappear within a few decades, putting an end to this unique observation series.
Carturan, L.; Baroni, C.; Becker, M.; Bellin, A.; Cainelli, O.; Carton, A.; Casarotto, C.; Dalla Fontana, G.; Godio, A.; Martinelli, T.; Salvatore, M. C.; Seppi, R.
GPS data from southern Alaska and the northern Canadian Cordillera have helped redefine the region's tectonic landscape. Instead of a comparatively simple interaction between the Pacific and North American plates, with relative motion accommodated on a single boundary fault, the margin is made up of a number of small blocks and deformation zones with relative motion distributed across a variety of structures. Much of this complexity can be attributed to the Yakutat block, an allochthonous terrane that has been colliding with southern Alaska since the Miocene. We present GPS data from across the region and use it to constrain a tectonic model for the Yakutat block collision and its effects on southern Alaska and eastern Canada. According to our model, the Yakutat block itself moves NNW at a rate of 50 mm/yr. Along its eastern edge, the Yakutat block is fragmenting into small crustal slivers. Part of the strain from the collision is transferred east of the Fairweather - Queen Charlotte fault system, causing the region inboard of the Fairweather fault to undergo a distinct clockwise rotation into the northern Canadian Cordillera. About 5% of the relative motion is transferred even further east, causing small northeasterly motions well into the northern Cordillera. Further north, the GPS data and model results indicate that the current deformation front between the Yakutat block and southern Alaska runs along the western side of the Malaspina Glacier. The majority of the ~37 mm/yr of relative convergence is accommodated along a narrow band of thrust faults concentrated in the southeastern part of the St. Elias orogen. Near the Bering Glacier, the tectonic regime abruptly changes as crustal thrust faults give way to subduction of the Yakutat block beneath the western St. Elias orogen and Prince William Sound. This change aligns with the Gulf of Alaska shear zone, implying that the Pacific plate may be fragmenting in response to the Yakutat collision. From the Bering Glacier, the subduction interface extends north and west beneath much of the Chugach mountain range. The Bering Glacier region is undergoing internal deformation that may correspond to the final stage of accretion of the Yakutat block sedimentary layers. At the western end of our study region, our model suggests that the crust is laterally escaping along the Aleutian forearc.
Elliott, J.; Freymueller, J. T.; Larsen, C. F.
The deglaciation history of the Escarra and Lana Mayor glaciers (Upper Gállego valley, central Spanish Pyrenees) had been reconstructed on the basis of detailed geomorphological studies of glacier deposits, sedimentological and palynological analyses of glacial lake sediments and an accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) 14C chronology based on minimum ages from glacial lake deposits. The maximum extent of the Pyrenean glaciers
José M. García-Ruiz; Blas L. Valero-Garcés; Carlos Martí-Bono; Penélope González-Sampériz
I constructed a temperature history for different parts of the world from 169 glacier length records. Using a first-order theory of glacier dynamics, I related changes in glacier length to changes in temperature. The derived temperature histories are fully independent of proxy and instrumental data used in earlier reconstructions. Moderate global warming started in the middle of the 19th century.
The objective of this study was to examine the capability of mapping snow and glaciers in alpine regions using synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery when topographic information is not available. The topographic effects on the received power for a resolution cell can be explained by the change in illumination area and incidence angle in a slant-rante representation of SAR imagery. The specific polarization signatures and phase difference between HH and VV components are relatively independent of the illuminated are, and the incidence angle has only a small effect on these parameters. They provide a suitable measurement data set for snow and glacier mapping in a high-relief area. The results show that the C-band images of the enhancement factor, the phase difference between HH and VV scattering components, and the normalized cross product of VV scattering elements provide the capability to discriminate among snow with different wetnesses, glaciers, and rocky regions.
Shi, Jiancheng; Dozier, Jeff; Rott, Helmut; Davis, Robert E.
High academic standards are an important first step in ensuring that all Alaska's students have the tools they need for success. These standards reflect the collaborative work of Alaskan educators and national experts from the nonprofit National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment. Further, they are informed by public…
Alaska Department of Education & Early Development, 2012
Explores the unique features of Alaska's Arctic ecosystem, with a focus on the special adaptations of plants and animals that enable them to survive in a stressful climate. Reviews the challenges facing public and private land managers who seek to conserve this ecosystem while accommodating growing demands for development. Includes classroom…
Brune, Jeff; And Others