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Sample records for taku glacier alaska

  1. Utility of late summer transient snowline migration rate on Taku Glacier, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pelto, M.

    2011-12-01

    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.

  2. a Seismic Reflection Study on the Ablation Area of the Taku Glacier, Southeast Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zechmann, J. M.; Gusmeroli, A.; Booth, A.; Truffer, M.

    2014-12-01

    Active-source seismic reflection techniques have been frequently used to document temporal and spatial variability in subglacial conditions beneath the ice sheets. Seismic surveys may provide the topography of the subglacial landscape as well as information about the properties of subglacial sediments and water. The former is achieved by standard 2D seismic imaging, the latter by amplitude analysis of the base-ice reflection. Seismic techniques for subglacial characterization have not yet been fully explored on mountain glaciers, where the ice is warmer and more attenuative to seismic energy, and the area available for survey is often more restrictive. In March 2014 we collected a high-resolution seismic reflection survey on the lower ablation area of the Taku Glacier in South-East Alaska. The survey line was composed of 120 geophones buried 0.5 m in the snowpack and spaced by 5 meters. The surface of the glacier was covered by a spatially variable 2-6 m thick snow cover. Shots, 99 charges of the binary explosive kinepak (152 grams), were drilled to 6 meters below surface. We present preliminary seismic images, attenuation estimates and amplitude analysis as well as a discussion of the challenges of seismic studies in the ablation area of large mountain glaciers where spatially variable snowpack, rough topography and hidden crevasses hamper standard seismic interpretation and render successful data interpretation more difficult.

  3. Characterizing Small-Scale Variability of Snow Thickness Using GPR on Taku Glacier, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Candela, S. G.; Oneel, S.; Loso, M. G.

    2014-12-01

    Spatial variability of snow accumulation is controlled by terrain type, time, and other factors, and has proven challenging to measure. Yet snow accumulation plays an important role in hydrological and geodetic issues. For example, glacier-wide mass balance estimates rely on sparsely distributed point measurements, under the assumption that spatial variability around each measurement site is negligible. Moreover, errors in accumulation estimates are substantially greater than those in ablation estimates, primarily due to our inability to model the aforementioned variability. To fill this information gap, we used 500 MHz common offset ground-penetrating radar (GPR) to examine the local representativeness of direct point measurements of snow depth used to estimate glacier-wide mass balance at Taku Glacier in Alaska. During summer 2013, we measured snow depths in four dense 120 m square radar grids centered on ground truth snow pits, and also along longitudinal profiles between these pits. We used the results to characterize accumulation variability over multiple length scales in this maritime climate. Processed GPR traces adjacent to our snowpits resolved depths of wet, isothermal snow within the nominal error of the instrument: approximately ± 15cm. Throughout each grid, the interquartile range (IQR) of GPR-estimated snow depths was less than 10cm. This suggests that in this setting a single snow pit adequately represents nominal snow thickness within each grid, and that elevation provides a dominant control on snow accumulation.

  4. Alaska Glaciers and Rivers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2007-01-01

    The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite captured this image on October 7, 2007, showing the Alaska Mountains of south-central Alaska already coated with snow. Purple shadows hang in the lee of the peaks, giving the snow-clad land a crumpled appearance. White gives way to brown on the right side of the image where the mountains yield to the lower-elevation Susitna River Valley. The river itself cuts a silver, winding path through deep green forests and brown wetlands and tundra. Extending from the river valley, are smaller rivers that originated in the Alaska Mountains. The source of these rivers is evident in the image. Smooth white tongues of ice extend into the river valleys, the remnants of the glaciers that carved the valleys into the land. Most of the water flowing into the Gulf of Alaska from the Susitna River comes from these mountain glaciers. Glacier melt also feeds glacier lakes, only one of which is large enough to be visible in this image. Immediately left of the Kahiltna River, the aquamarine waters of Chelatna Lake stand out starkly against the brown and white landscape.

  5. Malaspina Glacier, Alaska

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2001-01-01

    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

  6. Knik Glacier; Alaska, May 1979 monument and glacier survey

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Trabant, Dennis C.; Mayo, L.R.

    1979-01-01

    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)

  7. Elevation and mass balance changes in Alaska glaciers from airborne LiDAR surveys

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Murphy, Nathaniel; Larsen, Chris; Johnson, Austin

    2013-04-01

    Since 1993, the University of Alaska (UAF) Glaciers Group has monitored glacier elevation changes across Alaska (AK) and northwest Canada (NWC) using airborne laser altimetry surveys. Since 2009, this effort has been part of NASA's Operation Ice Bridge. The ongoing campaign has measured centerline elevation profiles for over 200 glaciers in the region. We will present updated mass balance and volume change estimates of glaciers and ice fields throughout AK and NWC. In addition, we estimate the contribution to sea level rise (SLR) from AK and NWC glaciers. In 2009 the single-point laser altimeter was replaced by a scanning LiDAR system, which vastly improves the sampling rate and spatial coverage of the laser returns. The combination of updated glacier outlines, upgraded LiDAR system, and improved analysis techniques provides more accurate results and more robust uncertainty analysis of the glacier mass balances and SLR calculations. Our recent results suggest that AK and NWC glaciers overall continue to show loss of surface elevation and decreasing mass balances. AK and NWC glaciers show high variability in the relationships between mass balances and glacier-type, geographic distribution, and climate. In Denali National Park, most of the surveyed glaciers show negative mass balances increasing by approximately 50% from about -0.7 m/yr w.e. to -1.2 m/yr w.e. Mountain glaciers in Lake Clark National Park followed similar trends of slightly positive mass balances from 1996-2001 (~0.2 m/yr w.e.),and slightly negative mass balances from 2001-2008 (~ -0.6 m/yr w.e.). In the Juneau Icefield, Taku Glacier has maintained positive mass balances in recent decades, but from 2007 to 2011 its mass balance decreased to values of zero to slightly negative (-0.1 0.1 m/yr w.e.). This decrease in the mass balance of Taku Glacier appears to be driven by loss of surface elevations in the upper areas of the glacier. The mass balances of glaciers in Glacier Bay National Park generally show negative mass balances over the past 20 years with mass balances ranging from about -0.5 to -2.5 m/yr w.e. However, unlike other areas of Alaska the mass balances in Glacier Bay are often remaining relatively constant. For example, the mass balance on Brady Glacier remained relatively constant over the past twenty years with a mass balance of -1.1 0.2 m/yr w.e. between 1995 and 2000 and a balance of -1.3 0.2 m/yr from 2009 to 2011. While we do not have direct measurements of accumulation rates in Glacier Bay, the elevation changes are consistent with increased accumulation balancing any increasing loss of ice. Our data suggests that volume changes and mass balances of Alaska Glaciers are high variability with weak correlations between mass balance and glacier-type or location in AK and NWC. However, the estimates of region-wide mass balance and regional contributions to SLR benefit from the project's broad coverage of AK and NWC glaciers.

  8. Surface melt dominates Alaska glacier mass balance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Larsen, C. F.; Burgess, E.; Arendt, A. A.; O'Neel, S.; Johnson, A. J.; Kienholz, C.

    2015-07-01

    Mountain glaciers comprise a small and widely distributed fraction of the world's terrestrial ice, yet their rapid losses presently drive a large percentage of the cryosphere's contribution to sea level rise. Regional mass balance assessments are challenging over large glacier populations due to remote and rugged geography, variable response of individual glaciers to climate change, and episodic calving losses from tidewater glaciers. In Alaska, we use airborne altimetry from 116 glaciers to estimate a regional mass balance of -75 11 Gt yr-1 (1994-2013). Our glacier sample is spatially well distributed, yet pervasive variability in mass balances obscures geospatial and climatic relationships. However, for the first time, these data allow the partitioning of regional mass balance by glacier type. We find that tidewater glaciers are losing mass at substantially slower rates than other glaciers in Alaska and collectively contribute to only 6% of the regional mass loss.

  9. Surface melt dominates Alaska glacier mass balance

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Larsen Chris F; Burgess, E; Arendt, A.A.; O'Neel, Shad; Johnson, A.J.; Kienholz, C.

    2015-01-01

    Mountain glaciers comprise a small and widely distributed fraction of the world's terrestrial ice, yet their rapid losses presently drive a large percentage of the cryosphere's contribution to sea level rise. Regional mass balance assessments are challenging over large glacier populations due to remote and rugged geography, variable response of individual glaciers to climate change, and episodic calving losses from tidewater glaciers. In Alaska, we use airborne altimetry from 116 glaciers to estimate a regional mass balance of ?75??11?Gt?yr?1 (19942013). Our glacier sample is spatially well distributed, yet pervasive variability in mass balances obscures geospatial and climatic relationships. However, for the first time, these data allow the partitioning of regional mass balance by glacier type. We find that tidewater glaciers are losing mass at substantially slower rates than other glaciers in Alaska and collectively contribute to only 6% of the regional mass loss.

  10. Growing and Advancing Calving Glaciers in Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Trabant, D. C.; March, R. S.; Molnia, B. F.

    2002-12-01

    In stark contrast with the majority of glaciers in Alaska that are losing volume and retreating in response to climate forcing, about 10 large glaciers are increasing in volume and advancing. All of these are calving glaciers that are advancing into seawater. Hubbard Glacier, at the head of Disenchantment Bay near Yakutat, Alaska, is one of the advancing glaciers and is the largest calving glacier on the North American Continent. Hubbard Glacier?s current advance began shortly before 1895 and has recently been newsworthy because its advance blocked the entrance to Russell Fiord between June and August 2002. Other prominent examples are Meares Glacier, at the head of Unakwik Inlet in Prince William Sound, which is advancing into old-growth forest, and Harvard Glacier, at the head of College Fiord, which has a well-documented history of advance beginning between 1905 and 1911. Calving glaciers that are currently growing and advancing have at least four things in common. All of them (1) are at the heads of long fiords, (2) have undergone massive retreats during the last thousand or more years, (3) presently calve over relatively shallow moraine shoals, and (4) have strongly positive mass balances that are a consequence of a surface-area distributions that have unusually small ablation areas compared to the accumulation areas. For example, Hubbard Glacier retreated about 61 kilometers between 1000 A.D. and late in the 19th century. The depth of seawater at the calving terminus averages between 60 and 80 meters in a fiord that reaches 230 meters below sea level in front of the glacier and 400 meters below sea level under the ice. The accumulation area of Hubbard Glacier is 95 percent of the entire glacier area and, like the other advancing glaciers, is far from being in equilibrium with climate on the positive mass balance side. Glaciologists often point out that glaciers are sensitive indicators of climate. This paradigm should not be applied to calving glaciers. During most of the calving glacier cycle, the slow advances and relatively rapid retreats are not very sensitive to climate. For example, the calving glaciers that are currently growing and advancing in the face of global warming, were retreating throughout the little ice age. Calving glaciers become sensitive to climate only late in the advancing phase, when the mass flux out of the accumulation area approaches the mass lost by melting in the ablation area and losses due to calving can no longer be replaced. No reasonable change in climate will change this imbalance and stop the advances of these few glaciers.

  11. Regional Observations of Alaska Glacier Dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burgess, E. W.; Forster, R. R.; Hall, D. K.

    2010-12-01

    Alaska glaciers contribute more to sea level rise than any other glacierized mountain region in the world. Alaska is loosing ~84 Gt of ice annually, which accounts for ~0.23 mm/yr of SLR (Luthcke et al., 2008). Complex glacier flow dynamics, frequently related to tidewater environments, is the primary cause of such rapid mass loss (Larsen et al., 2007). Indirect observations indicate these complex flow dynamics occur on many glaciers throughout Alaska, but no comprehensive velocity measurements exist. We are working to measure glacier surface velocities throughout Alaska using synthetic aperture radar (SAR) offset tracking. This work focuses on the Seward/Malaspina, Bering, Columbia, Kaskawulsh, and Hubbard Glaciers and uses a MODIS land surface temperature "melt-day" product (Hall et al., 2006, 2008) to identify potential links between velocity variability and summertime temperature fluctuations. Hall, D., R. Williams Jr., K. Casey, N. DiGirolamo, and Z. Wan (2006), Satellite-derived, melt-season surface temperature of the Greenland Ice Sheet (2000-2005) and its relationship to mass balance, Geophysical Research Letters, 33(11). Hall, D., J. Box, K. Casey, S. Hook, C. Shuman, and K. Steffen (2008), Comparison of satellite-derived and in-situ observations of ice and snow surface temperatures over Greenland, Remote Sensing of Environment, 112(10), 3739-3749. Larsen, C. F., R. J. Motyka, A. A. Arendt, K. A. Echelmeyer, and P. E. Geissler (2007), Glacier changes in southeast Alaska and northwest British Columbia and contribution to sea level rise, J. Geophys. Res. Luthcke, S., A. Arendt, D. Rowlands, J. McCarthy, and C. Larsen (2008), Recent glacier mass changes in the Gulf of Alaska region from GRACE mascon solutions, Journal of Glaciology, 54(188), 767-777.

  12. Analysis of time series of glacier speed: Columbia Glacier, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Walters, R.A.; Dunlap, W.W.

    1987-01-01

    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

  13. Columbia Glacier, Alaska, 1986-2011 - Duration: 29 seconds.

    NASA Video Gallery

    The Columbia Glacier in Alaska is one of many vanishing around the world. Glacier retreat is one of the most direct and understandable effects of climate change. The consequences of the decline in ...

  14. Malaspina Glacier, Alaska, Perspective with Landsat Overlay

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2003-01-01

    Malaspina Glacier in southeastern Alaska is considered the classic example of a piedmont glacier. Piedmont glaciers occur where valley glaciers exit a mountain range onto broad lowlands, are no longer laterally confined, and spread to become wide lobes. Malaspina Glacier is actually a compound glacier, formed by the merger of several valley glaciers, the most prominent of which seen here are Agassiz Glacier (left) and Seward Glacier (right). In total, Malaspina Glacier is up to 65 kilometers (40 miles) wide and extends up to 45 kilometers (28 miles) from the mountain front nearly to the sea.

    This perspective view was created from a Landsat satellite image and an elevation model generated by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). Landsat views both visible and infrared light, which have been combined here into a color composite that generally shows glacial ice in light blue, snow in white, vegetation in green, bare rock in grays and tans, and the ocean (foreground) in dark blue. The back (northern) edge of the data set forms a false horizon that meets a false sky.

    Glaciers erode rocks, carry them down slope, and deposit them at the edge of the melting ice, typically in elongated piles called moraines. The moraine patterns at Malaspina Glacier are quite spectacular in that they have huge contortions that result from the glacier crinkling as it gets pushed from behind by the faster-moving valley glaciers.

    Glaciers are sensitive indicators of climatic change. They can grow and thicken with increasing snowfall and/or decreased melting. Conversely, they can retreat and thin if snowfall decreases and/or atmospheric temperatures rise and cause increased melting. Landsat imaging has been an excellent tool for mapping the changing geographic extent of glaciers since 1972. The elevation measurements taken by SRTM in February 2000 now provide a near-global baseline against which future non-polar region glacial thinning or thickening can be assessed.

    Elevation data used in this image were acquired by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, launched on February 11, 2000. The mission used the same radar instrument that comprised the Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C/X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar that flew twice on the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1994. The Shuttle Radar Topography Mission was designed to collect three-dimensional measurements of the Earth's surface. To collect the 3-D data, engineers added a 60-meter-long (200-foot) mast, installed additional C-band and X-band antennas, and improved tracking and navigation devices. The mission is a cooperative project between NASA, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense, and the German and Italian space agencies. It is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, for NASA's Earth Science Enterprise, Washington, DC. Size: 55 kilometers wide x 55 kilometers distance (34 x 34 miles) Location: 60 deg N latitude, 140 deg W longitude Orientation: View North, 2X vertical exaggeration Image Data: Landsat Thematic Mapper false-color image Original Data Resolution: SRTM 1 arcsecond (30 meters or 98 feet), Landsat 30 meters (98 feet) Date Acquired: February 2000 (SRTM), 31 August 2000 (Landsat)

  15. Widespread Alaska glacier retreat likely not due to climate change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schultz, Colin

    2014-06-01

    Alaska's Columbia Glacier, which has shed half its mass since 1957, is a dramatic example of how quickly glaciers can shrink. Yet while Columbia has shown a huge decline, a new analysis by McNabb and Hock has found that other glaciers in the region have retreated far less, or even advanced, over the past 6 decades.

  16. Columbia Glacier, Alaska: changes in velocity 1977-1986

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Krimmel, R.M.; Vaughn, B.H.

    1987-01-01

    The Columbia Glacier, a grounded, iceberg-calving tidewater glacier near Valdez, Alaska, began to retreat about 1977. Drastic retreat occurred in 1984, and by early 1986, retreat amounted to 2km. The glacier has thinned more than 100m since 1974 at a point 4km behind the 1974 terminus position. Between 1977 and 1985 the lower glacier ice velocity increased from 3-8m/d to 10-15m/d. -from Authors

  17. Malaspina Glacier, Alaska, Anaglyph with Landsat Overlay

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2003-01-01

    This anaglyph view of Malaspina Glacier in southeastern Alaska was created from a Landsat satellite image and an elevation model generated by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). Malaspina Glacier is considered the classic example of a piedmont glacier. Piedmont glaciers occur where valley glaciers exit a mountain range onto broad lowlands, are no longer laterally confined, and spread to become wide lobes. Malaspina Glacier is actually a compound glacier, formed by the merger of several valley glaciers, the most prominent of which seen here are Agassiz Glacier (left) and Seward Glacier (right). In total, Malaspina Glacier is up to 65 kilometers (40 miles) wide and extends up to 45 kilometers (28 miles) from the mountain front nearly to the sea.

    Glaciers erode rocks, carry them down slope, and deposit them at the edge of the melting ice, typically in elongated piles called moraines. The moraine patterns at Malaspina Glacier are quite spectacular in that they have huge contortions that result from the glacier crinkling as it gets pushed from behind by the faster-moving valley glaciers.

    Numerous other features of the glaciers and the adjacent terrain are clearly seen when viewing this image at full resolution. The series of tonal arcs on Agassiz Glacier's extension onto the piedmont are called 'ogives.' These arcs are believed to be seasonal features created by deformation of the glacier as it passes over bedrock irregularities at differing speeds through the year. Assuming one light-and-dark ogive pair per year, the rate of motion of the glacial ice can be estimated (in this case, about 200 meters per year where the ogives are most prominent). Just to the west, moraine deposits abut the eroded bedrock terrain, forming a natural dam that has created a lake. Near the northwest corner of the scene, a recent landslide has deposited rock debris atop a small glacier. Sinkholes are common in many areas of the moraine deposits. The sinkholes form when blocks of ice are caught up in the deposits and then melt, locally collapsing the deposit. The combination of Landsat imagery and SRTM elevation data used in this stereoscopic display is very effective in visualizing these and other features of this terrain.

    The stereoscopic effect of this anaglyph was created by registering a Landsat image to the SRTM elevation model and then generating two differing perspectives, one for each eye. When viewed through special glasses, the result is a vertically exaggerated view of the Earth's surface in its full three dimensions. Anaglyph glasses cover the left eye with a red filter and cover the right eye with a blue filter.

    Landsat has been providing visible and infrared views of the Earth since 1972. SRTM elevation data matches the 30-meter (98-foot) resolution of most Landsat images and substantially helps in analyzing the large and growing Landsat image archive.

    Elevation data used in this image were acquired by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, launched on February 11, 2000. The mission used the same radar instrument that comprised the Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C/X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar that flew twice on the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1994. The Shuttle Radar Topography Mission was designed to collect three-dimensional measurements of the Earth's surface. To collect the 3-D data, engineers added a 60-meter-long (200-foot) mast, installed additional C-band and X-band antennas, and improved tracking and navigation devices. The mission is a cooperative project between NASA, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense, and the German and Italian space agencies. It is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, for NASA's Earth Science Enterprise, Washington, DC. Size: 55 x 55 kilometers (34 x 34 miles) Location: 60 deg N latitude, 140 deg W longitude Orientation: North at top Image Data: Landsat Thematic Mapper visible and infrared band mix Original Data Resolution: SRTM 1 arcsecond (30 meters or 98 feet), Landsat 30 meters (98 feet) Date Acquired: February 2000 (SRTM), 31 August 2000 (Landsat)

  18. Malaspina Glacier, Alaska, Anaglyph with Landsat Overlay

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2003-01-01

    This anaglyph view of Malaspina Glacier in southeastern Alaska was created from a Landsat satellite image and an elevation model generated by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). Malaspina Glacier is considered the classic example of a piedmont glacier. Piedmont glaciers occur where valley glaciers exit a mountain range onto broad lowlands, are no longer laterally confined, and spread to become wide lobes. Malaspina Glacier is actually a compound glacier, formed by the merger of several valley glaciers, the most prominent of which seen here are Agassiz Glacier (left) and Seward Glacier (right). In total, Malaspina Glacier is up to 65 kilometers (40 miles) wide and extends up to 45 kilometers (28 miles) from the mountain front nearly to the sea.

    Glaciers erode rocks, carry them down slope, and deposit them at the edge of the melting ice, typically in elongated piles called moraines. The moraine patterns at Malaspina Glacier are quite spectacular in that they have huge contortions that result from the glacier crinkling as it gets pushed from behind by the faster-moving valley glaciers.

    Numerous other features of the glaciers and the adjacent terrain are clearly seen when viewing this image at full resolution. The series of tonal arcs on Agassiz Glacier's extension onto the piedmont are called 'ogives.' These arcs are believed to be seasonal features created by deformation of the glacier as it passes over bedrock irregularities at differing speeds through the year. Assuming one light-and-dark ogive pair per year, the rate of motion of the glacial ice can be estimated (in this case, about 200 meters per year where the ogives are most prominent). Just to the west, moraine deposits abut the eroded bedrock terrain, forming a natural dam that has created a lake. Near the northwest corner of the scene, a recent landslide has deposited rock debris atop a small glacier. Sinkholes are common in many areas of the moraine deposits. The sinkholes form when blocks of ice are caught up in the deposits and then melt, locally collapsing the deposit. The combination of Landsat imagery and SRTM elevation data used in this stereoscopic display is very effective in visualizing these and other features of this terrain.

    The stereoscopic effect of this anaglyph was created by registering a Landsat image to the SRTM elevation model and then generating two differing perspectives, one for each eye. When viewed through special glasses, the result is a vertically exaggerated view of the Earth's surface in its full three dimensions. Anaglyph glasses cover the left eye with a red filter and cover the right eye with a blue filter.

    Landsat has been providing visible and infrared views of the Earth since 1972. SRTM elevation data matches the 30-meter (98-foot) resolution of most Landsat images and substantially helps in analyzing the large and growing Landsat image archive.

    Elevation data used in this image were acquired by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, launched on February 11, 2000. The mission used the same radar instrument that comprised the Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C/X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar that flew twice on the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1994. The Shuttle Radar Topography Mission was designed to collect three-dimensional measurements of the Earth's surface. To collect the 3-D data, engineers added a 60-meter-long (200-foot) mast, installed additional C-band and X-band antennas, and improved tracking and navigation devices. The mission is a cooperative project between NASA, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense, and the German and Italian space agencies. It is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, for NASA's Earth Science Enterprise, Washington, DC. Size: 55 x 55 kilometers (34 x 34 miles) Location: 60 deg N latitude, 140 deg W longitude Orientation: North at top Image Data: Landsat Thematic Mapper visible and infrared band mix Original Data Resolution: SRTM 1 arcsecond (30 mete

  19. Glaciers along proposed routes extending the Copper River Highway, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Glass, R.L.

    1996-01-01

    Three inland highway routes are being considered by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities to connect the community of Cordova in southcentral Alaska to a statewide road system. The routes use part of a Copper River and Northwest Railway alignment along the Copper River through mountainous terrain having numerous glaciers. An advance of any of several glaciers could block and destroy the roadway, whereas retreating glaciers expose large quantities of unconsolidated, unvegetated, and commonly ice-rich sediments. The purpose of this study was to map historical locations of glacier termini near these routes and to describe hazards associated with glaciers and seasonal snow. Historical and recent locations of glacier termini along the proposed Copper River Highway routes were determined by reviewing reports and maps and by interpreting aerial photographs. The termini of Childs, Grinnell, Tasnuna, and Woodworth Glaciers were 1 mile or less from a proposed route in the most recently available aerial photography (1978-91); the termini of Allen, Heney, and Schwan Glaciers were 1.5 miles or less from a proposed route. In general, since 1911, most glaciers have slowly retreated, but many glaciers have had occasional advances. Deserted Glacier and one of its tributary glaciers have surge-type medial moraines, indicating potential rapid advances. The terminus of Deserted Glacier was about 2.1 miles from a proposed route in 1978, but showed no evidence of surging. Snow and rock avalanches and snowdrifts are common along the proposed routes and will periodically obstruct the roadway. Floods from ice-dammed lakes also pose a threat. For example, Van Cleve Lake, adjacent to Miles Glacier, is as large as 4.4 square miles and empties about every 6 years. Floods from drainages of Van Cleve Lake have caused the Copper River to rise on the order of 20 feet at Million Dollar Bridge.

  20. Drainage events from a glacier-dammed lake, Bear Glacier, Alaska: Remote sensing and field observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilcox, A. C.; Wade, A. A.; Evans, E. G.

    2014-09-01

    We investigated drainage events from a glacier-dammed lake on Bear Glacier, Alaska, and associated outburst floods and hazards. The glacier-dammed lake, which we call Ice Lake, is 17.5 km up-glacier from Bear Glacier's terminus at Bear Glacier Lake. We combine field observations and remote sensing to examine temporal changes in the size of Ice Lake, the frequency and timing of its drainage, and down-glacier propagation of its outburst floods. We found that in recent years, Ice Lake has likely drained every year or two, in late summer or fall (August-October), with outbursts generally following the damming of sufficient water to create a lake area of between 0.35 and 0.5 km2. Ice Lake has migrated downvalley to the south since the 1990s, likely as a result of thinning of the glacier that dams it. In situ measurements of a drainage event in October 2010 showed that Ice Lake drained over a period of days, which manifested at Bear Glacier Lake as a gradual, multiday increase and then decrease in water levels. Glacial lake outburst flooding at Bear Glacier creates risks for sea kayakers in Bear Glacier Lake and may be relevant to understanding the effects of climate warming on glacier-dammed and proglacial lakes.

  1. Satellite Observations of Glacier Surface Velocities in Southeast Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Elliott, J.; Melkonian, A. K.; Pritchard, M. E.

    2012-12-01

    Glaciers in southeast Alaska are undergoing rapid changes and are significant contributors to sea level rise. A key to understanding the ice dynamics is knowledge of the surface velocities, which can be used with ice thickness measurements to derive mass flux rates. For many glaciers in Alaska, surface velocity estimates either do not exist or are based on data that are at least a decade old. Here we present updated maps of glacier surface velocities in southeast Alaska produced through a pixel tracking technique using synthetic aperture radar data and high-resolution optical imagery. For glaciers with previous velocity estimates, we will compare the results and discuss possible implications for ice dynamics. We focus on Glacier Bay and the Stikine Icefield, which contain a number of fast-flowing tidewater glaciers including LeConte, Johns Hopkins, and La Perouse. For the Johns Hopkins, we will also examine the influence a massive landslide in June 2012 had on flow dynamics. Our velocity maps show that within Glacier Bay, the highest surface velocities occur on the tidewater glaciers. La Perouse, the only Glacier Bay glacier to calve directly into the Pacific Ocean, has maximum velocities of 3.5 - 4 m/day. Johns Hopkins Glacier shows 4 m/day velocities at both its terminus and in its upper reaches, with lower velocities of ~1-3 m/day in between those two regions. Further north, the Margerie Glacier has a maximum velocity of ~ 4.5 m/day in its upper reaches and a velocity of ~ 2 m/day at its terminus. Along the Grand Pacific terminus, the western terminus fed by the Ferris Glacier displays velocities of about 1 m/day while the eastern terminus has lower velocities of < 0.5 m/day. The lake terminating glaciers along the Pacific coast have overall lower surface velocities, but they display complex flow patterns. The Alsek Glacier displays maximum velocities of 2.5 m/day above where it divides into two branches. Velocities at the terminus of the northern branch reach 1 m/day while the terminus of the southern branch moves about 2 m/day. Grand Plateau Glacier also divides into two main branches, with a northern branch displaying peak velocities of 1.5 m/day and a southern branch flowing at a rate of 1 m/day. The Stikine Icefield contains a number of large tidewater glaciers showing maximum velocities near their termini. At the terminus of the South Sawyer Glacier, velocities reach a peak of about 2 m/day. Along the terminus of the Dawes Glacier, velocities reach 3.5 m/day. The Baird Glacier displays lower velocities of 1-1.5 m/day. LeConte Glacier has 2-3 m/day velocities in its upper regions with higher velocities near its terminus. In contrast to the pattern shown by the surrounding glaciers, the Great Glacier has a peak velocity of 2 m/day in the upper portion of the glacier and a velocity of only 0.5 m/day near its terminus.

  2. Biological albedo reduction of snow and ice on glaciers in Alaska.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Takeuchi, N.

    2001-12-01

    Biogenic contaminants in snow and ice and its effect on surface albedo were investigated on five glaciers in Alaska. Several species of snow algae and dark colored organic material were found in the snow and ice of all of the glaciers. The surface albedo was significantly reduced by red-colored algae (Chlamydomonas nivalis) on snow area of the glaciers, and by dark colored material (cryoconite) on ice area. The amounts of snow algae and other biogenic material were different between glaciers: larger amounts of algae and material existed on inland glacier compared to south costal glaciers of Alaska. The measured surface albedo was lower on the inland glacier than on the south costal glaciers, consistent with the amount of the biogenic material. Results suggest that the effect of biological activity on surface albedo is more significant on the inland glacier than the south costal glaciers in Alaska. >http://www.frontier.iarc.uaf.edu:8080/~nozomu/

  3. Photogrammetrically Derived Estimates of Glacier Mass Loss in the Upper Susitna Drainage Basin, Alaska Range, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wolken, G. J.; Whorton, E.; Murphy, N.

    2014-12-01

    Glaciers in Alaska are currently experiencing some of the highest rates of mass loss on Earth, with mass wastage rates accelerating during the last several decades. Glaciers, and other components of the hydrologic cycle, are expected to continue to change in response to anticipated future atmospheric warming, thus, affecting the quantity and timing of river runoff. This study uses sequential digital elevation model (DEM) analysis to estimate the mass loss of glaciers in the upper Susitna drainage basin, Alaska Range, for the purpose of validating model simulations of past runoff changes. We use mainly stereo optical airborne and satellite data for several epochs between 1949 and 2014, and employ traditional stereo-photogrammetric and structure from motion processing techniques to derive DEMs of the upper Susitna basin glaciers. This work aims to improve the record of glacier change in the central Alaska Range, and serves as a critical validation dataset for a hydrological model that simulates the potential effects of future glacier mass loss on changes in river runoff over the lifespan of the proposed Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project.

  4. Elevation change (2000-2004) on the Malaspina Glacier, Alaska

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sauber, J.; Molnia, B.; Carabajal, C.; Luthcke, S.; Muskett, R.

    2005-01-01

    The glaciers of the southeastern Alaska coastal region are the largest temperate glacier meltwater source on Earth and may contribute one third of the total glacier meltwater entering the global ocean. Since melt onset and refreeeze timing in this region show a tendency toward earlier onset and longer ablation seasons, accelerated glacier wastage may be occurring. In this study we focus on one of the largest temperate glacier systems on Earth, the Malaspina Glacier. This glacier, with a length of approximately 110 km and an area of approximately square 5,000 km, has the largest piedmont lobe of any temperate glacier. The entire lobe, which lies at elevations below 600 m, is within the ablation zone. We report and interpret ice elevation change between a digital elevation model (DEM) derived from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM C band) observations in Feb. 2000 and ICESat Laser 1-3 observations between Feb. 2003 and Nov. 2004. We use these elevation change results, along with earlier studies, to address the spatial and temporal variability in wastage of the piedmont lobe. Between 2000 and 2004 ice elevation changes of 10-30 meters occurred across the central Malaspina piedmont lobe. From 1972/73 (USGS DEM) to 1999 (SRTM corrected for estimated winter snow accumulation) Malaspina's (Agassiz, Seward Lobe, and Marvine) mean ice thinning was estimated at -47 m with maximum thinning on parts of the lobes to -160 m. The Malaspina's accumulation area is only slightly larger than its ablation area (2,575 km2 vs. 2,433 km2); unfortunately few glaciological observations are available from this source region. Snow accumulation rates have been largely inferred from low-altitude precipitation and temperature data. Comparing sequential ICESat observations in the Malaspina source region, we estimated short-term elevation increases of up to 5 meters during the winter of 2003/04.

  5. Glacier-specific elevation changes in western Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paul, Frank; Le Bris, Raymond

    2013-04-01

    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.

  6. Reconnaissance hydrology of Portage Glacier basin, Alaska--1972

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mayo, L.R.; Zenone, Chester; Trabant, Dennis

    1977-01-01

    Early reports of conditions in Portage Pass, Alaska, provide evidence that Portage Glacier was formerly larger and thicker. Past conditions, recent history, current retreat, and possible future changes are summarized from an analysis of reports, photographs of the glacier (1939, 1950, and annually since about 1960), and data on snow and ice balance and bathymetry (1972). Between 1900 and 1972, the glacier terminus retreated 3.4 kilometers, and the lower part of the glacier thinned 200 meters. Climatic change controlled the retreat until about 1930; since then deep water at the terminus has influenced the calving retreat. The calving rate and present terminus position cannot be sustained by current climatic conditions and rate of snow accumulation. Thus the glacier will continue to recede until the terminus stabilizes in shallower water, probably about 1.5 kilometers upvalley from the present terminus and in about year 2020, assuming no change in present climatic conditions and calving rate. Possible small climatic changes could cause a shift in the point at which annual snow accumulation equals annual ablation (500 meters) and a corresponding change in terminus behavior. Potential natural hazards include avalanches, outburst floods from ice-dammed lakes, and unstable icebergs. (Woodard-USGS)

  7. Southern Alaska Glaciers: Spatial and Temporal Variations in Ice Volume

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sauber, J.; Molnia, B. F.; Lutchke, S.; Rowlands, D.; Harding, D.; Carabajal, C.; Hurtado, J. M.; Spade, G.

    2004-01-01

    Although temperate mountain glaciers comprise less than 1% of the glacier-covered area on Earth, they are important because they appear to be melting rapidly under present climatic conditions and, therefore, make significant contributions to rising sea level. In this study, we use ICESat observations made in the last 1.5 years of southern Alaska glaciers to estimate ice elevation profiles, ice surface slopes and roughness, and bi-annual and/or annual ice elevation changes. We report initial results from the near coastal region between Yakutat Bay and Cape Suckling that includes the Malaspina and Bering Glaciers. We show and interpret ice elevations changes across the lower reaches of the Bagley Ice Valley for the period between October 2003 and May 2004. In addition, we use off-nadir pointing observations to reference tracks over the Bering and Malaspina Glaciers in order to estimate annual ice elevation change. Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) derived DEMs are used to estimate across track regional slopes between ICESat data acquisitions. Although the distribution and quantity of ICESat elevation profiles with multiple, exact repeat data is currently limited in Alaska, individual ICESat data tracks, provide an accurate reference surface for comparison to other elevation data (e.g. ASTER and SRTM X- and C-band derived DEMs). Specifically we report the elevation change over the Malaspina Glacier's piedmont lobe between a DEM derived from SRTM C-band data acquired in Feb. 2000 and ICESat Laser #2b data from Feb.-March 2004. We also report use of ICESat elevation data to enhance ASTER derived absolute DEMs. Mountain glaciers generally have rougher surfaces and steeper regional slopes than the ice sheets for which the ICESat design was optimized. Therefore, rather than averaging ICESat observations over large regions or relying on crossovers, we are working with well-located ICESat footprint returns to estimate glacier ice elevations and surface characteristics. Additional information is included in the original extended abstract.

  8. Dendrochronology and late Holocene history of Bering piedmont glacier, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wiles, G.C.; Post, A.; Muller, E.H.; Molnia, B.F.

    1999-01-01

    Fluctuations of the piedmont lobe of Bering Glacier and its sublobe Steller Glacier over the past two millennia are reconstructed using 34 radiocarbon dates and tree-ring data from 16 sites across the glaciers' forelands. The general sequence of glacial activity is consistent with well-dated fluctuations of tidewater and land-terminating glaciers elsewhere along the Gulf of Alaska. Extensive forested areas along 25 km of the Bering ice margin were inundated by glacio-lacustrine and glacio-fluvial sediments during a probable ice advance shortly before 500 cal yr A.D. Regrowth of forests followed the retreating ice as early as the 7th century A.D., with frequent interruptions of tree growth due to outwash aggradation. Forests overrun by ice and buried in outwash indicate readvance about 1080 cal yr A.D. Retreat followed, with ice-free conditions maintained along the distal portions of the forefield until the early 17th century after which the ice advanced to within a few kilometers of its outer Neoglacial moraine. Ice reached this position after the mid-17th century and prior to 200 yr ago. Since the early 20th century, glacial retreat has been punctuated by periodic surges. The record from forests overrun by the nonsurging Steller Lobe shows that this western ice margin was advancing by 1250 A.D., reaching near its outer moraine after 1420 cal yr A.D. Since the late 19th century, the lobe has dominantly retreated.

  9. Exploring tidewater glacier retreat using past and current observations at Columbia Glacier, Alaska. (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    O'Neel, S.; Pfeffer, W. T.; Howat, I. M.; Conway, H.; Columbia Glacier Consortium

    2010-12-01

    Since fulfilling Austin Posts prediction of impending retreat in the late 1970s, Columbia Glacier has repeatedly surprised both casual and careful observers with its ability for rapid change. Over the last three decades, Columbia Glacier has lost approximately 18 km of its original 66 km length, while thinning by approximately 50% at the present terminus. The total ice volume lost to the Gulf of Alaska Estimates upwards of 120 km3 constrain the total ice volume lost to the Gulf of Alaska. Recently, the terminus supported a ~1.5 km long floating tongue for over than a year, contradicting the common assumption that the mechanical properties of temperate ice prohibit flotation over sustained time intervals. The rich history of study offers an opportunity to better understand tidewater glacier retreat, and a valuable analog to the dynamic instability underway at several ice sheet outlet glaciers. Current research aims to improve processing resolution of existing aerial photographic data, while complimenting the 30-year photogrammetric record with a suite of field observations. Recent instrumentation includes: oblique time lapse and still imagery, semi-permanent GPS, airborne radar, mass balance, passive seismology and LiDAR. This presentation will focus on innovative methods developed in recent field seasons, sharing insight each has provided into the retreat process . 1The Columbia Glacier Consortium consists of: Fabian Walter (SIO), Kenichi Matsuoka (NPI), Ben Smith (UW), Ethan Welty (CU-Boulder), Chris Larsen (UAF), Dave Finnegan (CRREL), Dan McNamara (USGS), Yushin Ahn (OSU), Julie Markus (OSU), Adam LeWinter (EIS).

  10. High porosity of basal till at Burroughs glacier, southeastern Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Ronnert, L.; Mickelson, D.M. )

    1992-09-01

    Debris-rich basal ice at Burroughs glacier, southeastern Alaska, has 60 vol% to 70 vol% debris. Recently deposited basal till exceeds 60 vol% sediment with 30% to almost 40% porosity. Where basal ice is very rich in debris, basal till is deposited through melt out with only slight compaction of the debris. Porosity this high in till is commonly associated with subglacially deforming and dilated sediment. However, the recently deposited basal melt-out till at Burroughs glacier has not been deformed after deposition, but has porosity values similar to tills elsewhere interpreted to be subglacially deforming and dilated in an unfrozen state. High porosity can occur in basal melt-out till deposited directly by basal melt out.

  11. Growth of a post-Little Ice Age submarine fan, Glacier Bay, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Carlson, P.R.; Cowan, E.A.; Powell, R.D.; Cai, J.

    1999-01-01

    A small Holocene fan is forming where Queen Inlet, a hanging valley, enters West Arm fjord, Glacier Bay, Alaska. Queen fan formed in the last 80 years following retreat of the Little Ice Age glacier that filled Glacier Bay about 200 yr BP. It was built mainly by a turbidite system originating from Carroll Glacier delta, as the delta formed in the early 1900s at the head of Queen Inlet. The Late Holocene Queen fan is comparable to large Pleistocene fans that formed in the Gulf of Alaska and differs from trough-mouth fans formed by cooler climate glacier systems.

  12. Modeling the mass balance of the Wolverine Glacier Alaska USA using the PTAA model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Korn, D.

    2010-12-01

    Glaciers in Alaska have been increasingly losing mass over the last several decades. This trend is especially apparent in South-Central Alaska where many glaciers are undergoing rapid changes and contributing substantially to rising sea levels (Arendt et al., 2002). It is important to understand the rates at which these glaciers are losing mass as well as the important climatic drivers to better prepare for what the future holds in this region and the rest of the world. This work compares glacier mass balance data modeled through the Precipitation-Temperature Area Altitude (PTAA) mass balance model for the Wolverine Glacier in the Kenai Peninsula in South-Central Alaska to observed data from the USGS benchmark glacier program in order to help validate the model. The mass balance data are also correlated with climate data in order to understand the main climatic drivers of the glacier mass balance in this region.

  13. Surge of a Complex Glacier System - The Current Surge of the Bering-Bagley Glacier System, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Herzfeld, U. C.; McDonald, B.; Trantow, T.; Hale, G.; Stachura, M.; Weltman, A.; Sears, T.

    2013-12-01

    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

  14. Fifty-Year Record of Glacier Change Reveals Shifting Climate in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    U.S. Geological Survey

    2009-01-01

    Fifty years of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) research on glacier change shows recent dramatic shrinkage of glaciers in three climatic regions of the United States. These long periods of record provide clues to the climate shifts that may be driving glacier change. The USGS Benchmark Glacier Program began in 1957 as a result of research efforts during the International Geophysical Year (Meier and others, 1971). Annual data collection occurs at three glaciers that represent three climatic regions in the United States: South Cascade Glacier in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State; Wolverine Glacier on the Kenai Peninsula near Anchorage, Alaska; and Gulkana Glacier in the interior of Alaska (fig. 1).

  15. Glacier Erosion and Convergent Tectonics in Southern Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Merrand, Y.; Hallet, B.

    2001-12-01

    The Chugach-St. Elias Mountains of South Alaska reach over 5500m elevation above the Gulf of Alaska. This region of extreme relief occurs at the corner of Northwest America, a region of focused tectonic activity. Moderately low temperatures and heavy precipitation on the coastal side of the range produce the largest modern temperate glacial systems on earth. Frequent and large injections of water to the glacier bed result into very dynamic ice masses that slide rapidly over the landscape. Rapid advection of ice over highly fractured lithologies translates into high basin wide erosion rates (order of 1 cm per year; Hallet et al, 1996). These rates are computed on the basis of sedimentation that has occurred in fjords and lakes since the onset of the post Little Ice Age retreat; they are thus temporal averages for the latest Holocene which has been characterized by widespread tidewater glacier retreat in the region. Our continuing work in South Alaska seeks to document rates of sediment delivery in carefully chosen natural sediment traps in order to infer erosion rates accounting for a wide range of glacier dynamics because, for surging and tidewater glaciers, ice flux varies widely in time (with speeds ranging by up to 3 orders of magnitude). In particular, studies of sediment fluxed in fjords have allowed us to downscale erosion rates characteristic of tidewater retreat to that representative of mean ice flux conditions. The maintenance of high mountain belts in regions of rapid tectonic convergence and erosion over long period of times (millions of years) suggest a dynamic equilibrium between the processes that build and those that diminish landscapes. Our numerical model of glacial landscape evolution suggests that the pattern of tectonic uplift has to match the spatial distribution of erosion for the hypsometry of the landscape, which gives rise to large glaciers, is to be sustained over the long term. Inverting the erosional patterns imposed by modern glacial systems to map rock uplift patterns in steady state orogens is thus a straight forward means of assessing the spatial permanence of exhumation as reflected in the distribution of metamorphic rock grades at the earth surface. Under conditions of spatial-temporal equilibrium between forcings, the highest modern topography tends to be associated with the deepest troughs dissecting the range. In addition, the presence of a major divide near the equilibrium line altitude of massive through-going glacial ice bodies reinforces the suggestion of positive feedback between exhumation and tectonics in the St. Elias Mountains. A model that is tuned with modern rates of erosion and that is constrained by glacier observations indicates that relief reached a limit in the St. Elias Mountains, and did so over the course of a few glacial cycles provided that modern exhumation rates are representative of long-term average erosion.

  16. Knik Glacier, Alaska; summary of 1979, 1980, and 1981 data and introduction of new surveying techniques

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mayo, L.R.; Trabant, D.C.

    1982-01-01

    Knik Glacier in south-central Alaska has the potential to reform Lake George, Alaska 's largest glacier-dammed lake. Measurements of surface altitude, snow depth, terminus position, glacier speed, and ice depth are being made in an attempt to determine the mechanisms that could cause a significant re-advance of the glacier. New surveying and data reduction techniques were developed by the authors and employed successfully at Knik Glacier. These include precise geodetic surveying by the ' trisection ' technique, calculation of surface altitude at a specially-fixed ' index point ' from three point measurements on a rough, moving glacier surface, and calculation of ice thickness from low frequency radar measurements. In addition, this report summarizes the data collected from 1979 to 1981 in support of this goal. (USGS)

  17. Exploring the links between transient water inputs and glacier velocity in a small temperate glacier in southeastern Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heavner, M.; Habermann, M.; Hood, E. W.; Fatland, D. R.

    2009-12-01

    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.

  18. Exploring the links between transient water inputs and glacier velocity in a small temperate glacier in southeastern Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Habermann, M.; Hood, E.; Heavner, M.; Motyka, R.

    2008-12-01

    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.

  19. Quiescent-phase evolution of a surge-type glacier: Black Rapids Glacier, Alaska, U.S.A.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Heinrichs, T.A.; Mayo, L.R.; Echelmeyer, K.A.; Harrison, W.D.

    1996-01-01

    Black Rapids Glacier, a surge-type glacier in the Alaska Range, most recently surged in 1936-37 and is currently in its quiescent phase. Mass balance, ice velocity and thickness change have been measured at three to ten sites from 1972 to 1994. The annual speed has undergone cyclical fluctuations of as much as 45% about the mean speed. Ice thickness and surface slope did not change enough to cause the speed fluctuations through changes in ice deformation, which indicates that they are being driven by changes in basal motion. The behavior of Black Rapids Glacier during this quiescent phase is significantly different from that of Variegated Glacier, another well-studied surge-type glacier in Alaska. The present medial-moraine configuration of Black Rapids Glacier indicates that a surge could occur at any time. However, ice velocity data indicate that the next surge may not be imminent. We believe that there is little chance that the next surge will cross and dam the Delta River.

  20. Combined Ice and Water Balances of Maclure Glacier, California, South Cascade Glacier, Washington, and Wolverine and Gulkana Glaciers, Alaska, 1967 Hydrologic Year

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Tangborn, Wendell V.; Mayo, Lawrence R.; Scully, David R.; Krimmel, Robert M.

    1977-01-01

    Combined ice and water balances were measured in the 1967 hydrologic year (October 1-September 30) on four glaciers in western North America ranging in latitude from 37 deg to 63 deg N. This hydrologic year was characterized by heavier than normal winter precipitation in California and Washington and abnormally dry winter conditions in coastal Alaska. In summer the western conterminous states were abnormally dry and central and southern Alaska experienced very wet conditions. Maclure Glacier (lat 37 deg 45' N., 3,650-m (metres) mean equilibrium line altitude) had an above normal winter balance of 3.46 m and a positive annual balance of 1.05 m (metres of water equivalent). South Cascade Glacier (lat 48 deg 22' N., 1900-m mean equilibrium line altitude) had a winter balance of 3.28 m, slightly above average. Above normal summer ablation resulted in a final annual balance of -0.58 m, slightly more negative than has been the case for the past decade. Wolverine Glacier's (lat 60 deg 24' N., 1,200-m mean equilibrium line altitude) winter balance was 1.17 m, considerably below normal; the annual balance was -2.04 m. Gulkana Glacier (lat 63 deg 15' N., 1,700-m mean equilibrium line altitude) had a winter balance of 1.05 m, approximately normal for this glacier; the final annual balance was -0.30 m.

  1. Stream temperature response to variable glacier coverage in coastal watersheds of northern southeast Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hood, E. W.; Fellman, J. B.; Nagorski, S. A.; Vermilyea, A.; Pyare, S.; Scott, D.

    2012-12-01

    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 1.1C 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.

  2. Muir and Riggs Glaciers, Muir Inlet, Alaska - 1941

    USGS Multimedia Gallery

    This northeast-looking photograph, on the southeastern side of White Thunder Ridge ,shows the lower reaches of Muir Glacier, then a large tidewater calving valley glacier, and its tributary Riggs Glacier. The séracs in the lower right-hand corner of the photograph mark Muir Glacier’s te...

  3. Assessing the sensitivity of Alaska's Coastal Ecosystem to Changes in Glacier Runoff

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oneel, S.; Hood, E. W.; Arendt, A. A.; Sass, L. C.; March, R. S.

    2012-12-01

    The timing and magnitude of freshwater discharge to the Gulf of Alaska impacts rates of sea level change and the health of near shore ecosystems and fisheries. Glaciers strongly modulate the freshwater flux into this region and contribute to approximately 50% of its annual freshwater budget. It is generally assumed that persistently negative annual mass balances, forced by recent climate changes, are driving increases in glacier stream discharge. However, increases in runoff also depend on increased mass turnover rates, wherein the amplitude of seasonal mass balance increases due to enhanced snowfall and summer melt intensity. To quantify and partition runoff into the Gulf of Alaska we examine 1966-2010 US Geological Survey glacier mass balance and streamflow records from the Gulkana/Wolverine glaciers located in continental/maritime Alaska climate regimes. We compare annual, summer and winter balances with associated discharge magnitudes at each glacier to determine the primary controls on runoff magnitude and timing. We find that both glaciers have experienced increases in runoff and mass turnover, but only the Gulkana Glacier shows increases in stream discharge due to long term changes in annual mass balance. Conversely, Wolverine Glacier runoff is more sensitive to the amplitude of winter accumulation. The data suggest that changes in summer climate forcing are occurring over broader spatial scales than are changes in winter forcing. The analyses demonstrate that care is warranted when formulating assumptions relating glacier volume change to surface water hydrologic processes. Predicting future changes in runoff and implications for sea level rise, water resources and biological resources in this highly productive region requires that we better understand the processes that produce and modulate glacier runoff.

  4. Investigating Tidewater Glacier Advance/Retreat Cycles Using a Multi-year Dataset Hubbard Glacier, Southeast Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gadomski, P.; Finnegan, D. C.; Lawson, D. E.; Hanlon, G.

    2009-12-01

    Quantitative high-resolution, multi-year datasets on tidewater glacier terminus activity are difficult and expensive to obtain and few in number. Furthermore, numerous factors influence terminus dynamics, thus requiring a holistic approach to data gathering to understand such activity. This paper describes ongoing research at Hubbard Glacier in Southeast Alaska and how these efforts are improving our understanding of an actively advancing tidewater margin. Hubbard Glacier, the largest tidewater glacier in North America, flows ~125 km from Mt Logan (5959 m) in the St. Elias Mountains to sea level where its terminus continues to thicken, widen and advance at an average rate of 32m/yr. Continued advance of the Hubbard Glacier may dam the channel linking Russell Fiord with Disenchantment Bay and potentially result in flooding of the Situk River destroying a fishery that provides the economic base for the community of Yakutat. As part of a multi-year investigation to monitor and assess the risk of dam formation by Hubbard Glacier, near real-time meteorological and terminus motion data are being monitored, while detailed field and remote sensing investigations quantify glacier activity. These investigations have included bathymetric mapping and hydrographic surveys, aerial and ground-based LiDAR topographic surveys, time-lapse photography and recurring satellite imagery of the glacier since 2005. Over the approximate three years of continuous near-realtime field-based monitoring the duration, patterns and daily rates of terminus advance and retreat are proving to be similar from year to year. These patterns suggest that the onset of advance and retreat may be linked to climate and extreme variations in the tidal cycle are influential in slowing terminus advance and causing periods of retreat to be superimposed onto longer durations of advance. These results when linked to time-lapse photography provide insight into ice marginal mechanisms of calving, while the results of ongoing marine investigations will provide a better understanding of the causes of seasonal advance and retreat.

  5. Analysis of a GRACE Global Mascon Solution for Gulf of Alaska Glaciers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Arendt, Anthony; Luthcke, Scott B.; Gardner, Alex; O'Neel, Shad; Hill, David; Moholdt, Geir; Abdalati, Waleed

    2013-01-01

    We present a high-resolution Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mascon solution for Gulf of Alaska (GOA) glaciers and compare this with in situ glaciological, climate and other remote-sensing observations. Our GRACE solution yields a GOA glacier mass balance of -6511 Gt a(exp.-1) for the period December 2003 to December 2010, with summer balances driving the interannual variability. Between October/November 2003 and October 2009 we obtain a mass balance of -6111 Gt a(exp. -1) from GRACE, which compares well with -6512 Gt a(exp. -1) from ICESat based on hypsometric extrapolation of glacier elevation changes. We find that mean summer (June-August) air temperatures derived from both ground and lower-troposphere temperature records were good predictors of GRACE-derived summer mass balances, capturing 59% and 72% of the summer balance variability respectively. Large mass losses during 2009 were likely due to low early melt season surface albedos, measured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and likely associated with the 31 March 2009 eruption of Mount Redoubt, southwestern Alaska. GRACE data compared well with in situ measurements atWolverine Glacier (maritime Alaska), but poorly with those at Gulkana Glacier (interior Alaska). We conclude that, although GOA mass estimates from GRACE are robust over the entire domain, further constraints on subregional and seasonal estimates are necessary to improve fidelity to ground observations.

  6. Analysis of a GRACE global mascon solution for Gulf of Alaska glaciers

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Arendt, Anthony; Luthcke, Scott; Gardner, Alex; O'Neel, Shad; Hill, David; Moholdt, Geir; Abdalati, Waleed

    2013-01-01

    We present a high-resolution Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mascon solution for Gulf of Alaska (GOA) glaciers and compare this with in situ glaciological, climate and other remote-sensing observations. Our GRACE solution yields a GOA glacier mass balance of –65 ± 11 Gt a–1 for the period December 2003 to December 2010, with summer balances driving the interannual variability. Between October/November 2003 and October 2009 we obtain a mass balance of –61 ± 11 Gt a–1 from GRACE, which compares well with –65 ± 12 Gt a–1 from ICESat based on hypsometric extrapolation of glacier elevation changes. We find that mean summer (June–August) air temperatures derived from both ground and lower-troposphere temperature records were good predictors of GRACE-derived summer mass balances, capturing 59% and 72% of the summer balance variability respectively. Large mass losses during 2009 were likely due to low early melt season surface albedos, measured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and likely associated with the 31 March 2009 eruption of Mount Redoubt, southwestern Alaska. GRACE data compared well with in situ measurements at Wolverine Glacier (maritime Alaska), but poorly with those at Gulkana Glacier (interior Alaska). We conclude that, although GOA mass estimates from GRACE are robust over the entire domain, further constraints on subregional and seasonal estimates are necessary to improve fidelity to ground observations.

  7. Automated detection of unstable glacier flow and a spectrum of speedup behavior in the Alaska Range

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Herreid, Sam; Truffer, Martin

    2016-01-01

    Surge-type glaciers are loosely defined as glaciers that experience periodic alterations between slow and fast flow regimes. Glaciers from a variety of mountain ranges around the world have been classified as surge type, yet consensus of what defines a glacier as surge type has not always been met. A common source of dispute is the lack of a succinct and globally applicable delimiter between a surging and nonsurging glacier. The attempt is often a Boolean classification; however, glacier speedup events can vary significantly with respect to event magnitude, duration, and the fraction of the glacier that participates in the speedup. For this study, we first updated the inventory of glaciers that show flow instabilities in the Alaska Range and then quantified the spectrum of speedup behavior. We developed a new method that automatically detects glaciers with flow instabilities. Our automated results show a 91% success rate when compared to direct observations of speedup events and glaciers that are suspected to display unstable flow based on surface features. Through a combination of observations from the Landsat archive and previously published data, our inventory now contains 36 glaciers that encompass at least one branch exhibiting unstable flow and we document 53 speedup events that occurred between 1936 and 2014. We then present a universal method for comparing glacier speedup events based on a normalized event magnitude metric. This method provides a consistent way to include and quantify the full spectrum of speedup events and allows for comparisons with glaciers that exhibit clear surge characteristics yet have no observed surge event to date. Our results show a continuous spectrum of speedup magnitudes, from steady flow to clearly surge type, which suggests that qualitative classifications, such as "surge-type" or "pulse-type" behavior, might be too simplistic and should be accompanied by a standardized magnitude metric.

  8. Glacier mass-balance fluctuations in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Josberger, Edward G.; Bidlake, William R.; March, Rod S.; Kennedy, Ben W.

    2007-10-01

    The more than 40 year record of net and seasonal mass-balance records from measurements made by the United States Geological Survey on South Cascade Glacier, Washington, and Wolverine and Gulkana Glaciers, Alaska, shows annual and interannual fluctuations that reflect changes in the controlling climatic conditions at regional and global scales. As the mass-balance record grows in length, it is revealing significant changes in previously described glacier mass-balance behavior, and both inter-glacier and glacier-climate relationships. South Cascade and Wolverine Glaciers are strongly affected by the warm and wet maritime climate of the northeast Pacific Ocean. Their net balances have generally been controlled by winter accumulation, with fluctuations that are strongly related to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Recently, warm dry summers have begun to dominate the net balance of the two maritime glaciers, with a weakening of the correlation between the winter balance fluctuations and the PDO. Non-synchronous periods of positive and negative net balance for each glacier prior to 1989 were followed by a 1989-2004 period of synchronous and almost exclusively negative net balances that averaged -0.8 m for the three glaciers.

  9. Columbia Glacier, Alaska, photogrammetry data set, 1981-82 and 1984-85

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Krimmel, R.M.

    1987-01-01

    Photogrammetric processing of 12 sets of vertical aerial photography of the Columbia Glacier, Alaska, has measured the altitude and velocity fields of the lowest 14,000 m of the glacier during the periods of September 1981 to October 1982 and October 1984 to September 1985. The data set consists of the location of 3,604 points on the glacier, 1,161 points along the glacier terminus, and 1,116 points along the top of the terminus ice cliff. During the 1981 to 1985 period the terminus of the glacier receded 1,350 m, the ice near the terminus thinned at a rate of 18 m/year, and ice velocity near the terminus tripled, reaching as much as 6,000 m/year. (Author 's abstract)

  10. Preliminary bathymetry of Shoup Basin and late Holocene changes of Shoup Glacier, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Post, Austin; Viens, R.J.

    2000-01-01

    Shoup Glacier is a retreating, tidewater-calving glacier in northeast Prince William Sound, Alaska. Historical records, vegetation distribution, and sediment depth in Shoup Bay indicate that the glacier reached a late Holocene maximum at the mouth of Shoup Bay prior to 1750. When first observed around 1900, the terminus was stable on a series of shallow, bedrock obstructions between Shoup Bay and Shoup Basin, 2 miles from the late Holocene maximum. Shoup Glacier receded into tidewater in 1957 and in the following 33 years retreated 1.3 miles to expose Shoup Basin, a deep (more than 350 feet) basin with virtually no sediment accumulation. Shoup Glacier is expected to stabilize at the head of Shoup Basin shortly after the year 2000 and will not readvance if present climatic conditions continue.

  11. Distribution and spawning dynamics of capelin (Mallotus villosus) in Glacier Bay, Alaska: A cold water refugium

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Arimitsu, M.L.; Piatt, J.F.; Litzow, M.A.; Abookire, A.A.; Romano, Marc D.; Robards, M.D.

    2008-01-01

    Pacific capelin (Mallotus villosus) populations declined dramatically in the Northeastern Pacific following ocean warming after the regime shift of 1977, but little is known about the cause of the decline or the functional relationships between capelin and their environment. We assessed the distribution and abundance of spawning, non-spawning adult and larval capelin in Glacier Bay, an estuarine fjord system in southeastern Alaska. We used principal components analysis to analyze midwater trawl and beach seine data collected between 1999 and 2004 with respect to oceanographic data and other measures of physical habitat including proximity to tidewater glaciers and potential spawning habitat. Both spawning and non-spawning adult Pacific capelin were more likely to occur in areas closest to tidewater glaciers, and those areas were distinguished by lower temperature, higher turbidity, higher dissolved oxygen and lower chlorophyll a levels when compared with other areas of the bay. The distribution of larval Pacific capelin was not sensitive to glacial influence. Pre-spawning females collected farther from tidewater glaciers were at a lower maturity state than those sampled closer to tidewater glaciers, and the geographic variation in the onset of spawning is likely the result of differences in the marine habitat among sub-areas of Glacier Bay. Proximity to cold water in Glacier Bay may have provided a refuge for capelin during the recent warm years in the Gulf of Alaska.

  12. A Century of Retreat at Portage Glacier, South-Central Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kennedy, Ben W.; Trabant, Dennis C.; Mayo, Lawrence R.

    2006-01-01

    Introduction: The Portage Glacier, in south-central Alaska, is viewed by thousands of visitors annually who come to the U.S. Forest Service Begich, Boggs Visitor Center located on the road system between Anchorage and Whittier, Alaska. During the past century, the terminus of the glacier has retreated nearly 5 kilometers to its present location (fig. 1). Like other glaciers that terminate in water, such as Columbia Glacier near Valdez or Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau, Portage Glacier has experienced accelerated retreats in recent decades that likely were initially triggered by climate change begun at the end of the Little Ice Age in the mid-1800s and subsequently controlled in recent history primarily by calving of the glacier terminus. Photographic records of the terminus covering 1914 until present day track the patterns of retreat. These data, coupled with USGS climate information collected from the southern end of the ice field, provide insight to the patterns of retreat that might be observed in the future.

  13. Muir and Riggs Glaciers, Muir Inlet, Alaska - 2004

    USGS Multimedia Gallery

    The second repeat photograph documents significant changes that have occurred during the 63 years between photographs A and C, and during the 54 years between photographs B and C. Muir Glacier has retreated out of the field of view and is now more than 7 kilometers northwest. Riggs Glacier has retre...

  14. Mass-Balance Fluctuations of Glaciers in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Josberger, E. G.; Bidlake, W. R.; March, R. S.; Kennedy, B. W.

    2006-12-01

    The mass balance of mid-latitude glaciers of the Pacific Northwest and southern Alaska fluctuates in response to changes in the regional and global atmospheric climate. More than 40 years of net and seasonal mass balance records by the U.S. Geological Survey for South Cascade Glacier, Washington, and Wolverine and Gulkana Glaciers, Alaska, show annual and inter-annual fluctuations that reflect the controlling climatic conditions. South Cascade and Wolverine Glaciers are strongly affected by the warm and wet maritime climate of the Northeast Pacific Ocean, and the winter balances are strongly related to the Pacific Decadal Oscillations (PDO). Gulkana Glacier is more isolated from maritime influences and the net balance variation is more closely linked to the summer balance. By the late 1970's, mass-balance records for the three were long enough to reflect the 1976-77 shift in PDO from negative to positive. Both maritime glaciers responded, with net balance of South Cascade Glacier becoming consistently negative and that of Wolverine Glacier becoming predominantly positive. The overall trend of negative mass balance continued through 2004 for South Cascade Glacier, where the 1977 to 2004 cumulative net balance was about -22 meters water equivalent (mweq). After a gain of about 7 mweq, the trend of positive net balance for Wolverine Glacier ended in 1989. Beginning in 1989, the net balance trend for Wolverine Glacier became predominantly negative and the cumulative net balance for 1989 to 2004 was about -14 mweq. Net balance of Gulkana Glacier did not respond appreciably to the 1976-77 PDO shift. The cumulative net balance for Gulkana Glacier from the beginning of the record (1966) through 1988 was about -3 mweq. The major change in trend of mass balance occurred in 1989, when net balance became almost exclusively negative. The cumulative net balance during 1989 through 2004 was about 13 mweq. As a result trends in net balance had become strongly negative for more than a decade at all three bench mark glaciers.

  15. The Effects of Changing Climate on Glaciers in the Central Alaska Range, Alaska, USA: A Case Study on the Kahiltna Glacier

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Young, J. C.; Arendt, A. A.

    2010-12-01

    This study will develop a set of modeling tools to provide estimates of melt evolution for the Kahiltna Glacier and glaciers of the Central Alaska Range (CAKR), over a number of future climate change scenarios. To parameterize the model, field measurements of mass balance and meteorological variables are being collected on the Kahiltna Glacier. These measurements include winter accumulation surveys along both a centerline transect and several lateral profiles of the main glacier branch, and summer ablation measurements at ten centerline index locations spaced evenly over a range of elevations. Snow density measurements are also being recorded at three elevations. Temperature and relative humidity is being sampled at five of the index locations, and a full meteorological station (measuring temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, snow accumulation, ice ablation, and solar radiation) will be positioned on the lower ablation area. Here we present preliminary results from the 2010 melt season, comparing data collected on the Kahiltna Glacier to measurements from nearby sites within the CAKR. Data from a single index site monitored by the National Park Service (NPS) is compared to the accumulation and ablation measurements taken at the ten sites visited during 2010 as part of this study, to show the NPS index site’s representativeness at different elevations. Accumulation at these locations is also compared to a nearby snow telemetry (SNOTEL) site to determine whether there is a systematic offset between station data and conditions on the glacier. Lapse rates are calculated from temperature readings at five different elevations, for comparison with data from a meteorological station located in an adjacent glacier basin. From these analyses we provide a preliminary assessment of the extent to which our in situ measurements on the Kahiltna Glacier are representative of regional trends. The project will leverage 20 years of NPS mass balance data for the Kahiltna Glacier, as well as weather station data previously collected within the CAKR. Field measurements will also be supplemented with available remote sensing mass balance estimates from both the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) and aircraft laser altimetry. Results from the Kahiltna Glacier will be used to calibrate a meltwater runoff model for all glaciated areas within the CAKR. This research hopes to provide crucial information for determining current glacier conditions and the changes in meltwater runoff that can be expected over time.

  16. Glacier changes in southeast Alaska and northwest British Columbia and contribution to sea level rise

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Larsen, C.F.; Motyka, R.J.; Arendt, A.A.; Echelmeyer, K.A.; Geissler, P.E.

    2007-01-01

    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.

  17. Response of glacier mass balance and discharge to future climate change, upper Susitna basin, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aubry-Wake, C.; Hock, R.; Braun, J. L.; Zhang, J.; Wolken, G. J.; Liljedahl, A.

    2013-12-01

    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 4.9C 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.

  18. Glacier Change and Biologic Succession: a new Alaska Summer Research Academy (ASRA) Science Camp Module for Grades 8-12 in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Connor, C. L.; Drake, J.; Good, C.; Fatland, R.; Hakala, M.; Woodford, R.; Donohoe, R.; Brenner, R.; Moriarty, T.

    2008-12-01

    During the summer of 2008, university faculty and instructors from southeast Alaska joined the University Alaska Fairbanks(UAF)Alaska Summer Research Academy(ASRA)to initiate a 12-day module on glacier change and biologic succession in Glacier Bay National Park. Nine students from Alaska, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Texas, made field observations and collected data while learning about tidewater glacier dynamics, plant succession, post-glacial uplift, and habitat use of terrestrial and marine vertebrates and invertebrates in this dynamic landscape that was covered by 6,000 km2 of ice just 250 years ago. ASRA students located their study sites using GPS and created maps in GIS and GOOGLE Earth. They deployed salinometers and temperature sensors to collect vertical profiles of seawater characteristics up-bay near active tidewater glacier termini and down-bay in completely deglaciated coves. ASRA student data was then compared with data collected during the same time period by Juneau undergraduates working on the SEAMONSTER project in Mendenhall Lake. ASRA students traversed actively forming, up-bay recessional moraines devoid of vegetation, and the fully reforested Little Ice Age terminal moraine near Park Headquarters in the lower bay region. Students surveyed marine organisms living between supratidal and subtidal zones near glaciers and far from glaciers, and compared up-bay and down-bay communities. Students made observations and logged sightings of bird populations and terrestrial mammals in a linear traverse from the bay's northwestern most fjord near Mt. Fairweather for 120 km to the bay's entrance, south of Park Headquarters at Bartlett Cove. One student constructed an ROV and was able to deploy a video camera and capture changing silt concentrations in the water column as well as marine life on the fjord bottom. Students also observed exhumed Neoglacial spruce forests and visited outcrops of Silurian reef faunas, now fossilized in Alexander terrane limestones in the lower bay. Park Service naturalists joined the expedition and provided important resource information to the students. ASRA students and faculty returned to the Fairbanks campus at the end of the second week where students presented their work to 114 of their peers, distributed across 15 different science modules. Camp faculty, dorm resident assistants, camp staff, an enthusiastic crowd of Fairbanks community members, and one Nobel Laureate in Chemistry rounded out the audience. This was the 8th summer of the UAF-ASRA Camp.

  19. Holocene glacier fluctuations inferred from lacustrine sediment, Emerald Lake, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    LaBrecque, Taylor S.; Kaufman, Darrell S.

    2016-01-01

    Physical and biological characteristics of lacustrine sediment from Emerald Lake were used to reconstruct the Holocene glacier history of Grewingk Glacier, southern Alaska. Emerald Lake is an ice-marginal threshold lake, receiving glaciofluvial sediment when Grewingk Glacier overtops the topographic divide that separates it from the lake. Sub-bottom acoustical profiles were used to locate core sites to maximize both the length and resolution of the sedimentary sequence recovered in the 4-m-long cores. The age model for the composite sequence is based on 13 14C ages and a 210Pb profile. A sharp transition from the basal inorganic mud to organic-rich mud at 11.4 ± 0.2 ka marks the initial retreat of Grewingk Glacier below the divide of Emerald Lake. The overlaying organic-rich mud is interrupted by stony mud that records a re-advance between 10.7 ± 0.2 and 9.8 ± 0.2 ka. The glacier did not spill meltwater into the lake again until the Little Ice Age, consistent with previously documented Little Ice Ages advances on the Kenai Peninsula. The retreat of Grewingk Glacier at 11.4 ka took place as temperature increased following the Younger Dryas, and the subsequent re-advance corresponds with a climate reversal beginning around 11 ka across southern Alaska.

  20. Application of Near-Surface Geophysics to Problems in Glacier Dynamics, Pitted Outwash Plain Formation, and Glaciotectonics, Matanuska Glacier, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baker, G. S.; Pyke, K.; Evenson, E.; Lawson, D.; Larson, G.; Alley, R. B.

    2005-05-01

    From 2000 to 2004, near-surface geophysics data in various forms was collected near the active terminus of Matanuska Glacier, Alaska, to address several specific hypotheses and also provide general subsurface information in several relatively unsampled zones of the subsurface. (1) Seismic reflection data was collected on the glacier to test the predicted thickening of debris-rich basal ice in response to the motion of the glacier out of a localized overdeepening. The seismic data imaged the 5-to-10 meter thick basal ice at depths of 50-150 m, and clearly showed a 50 percent thicking--supporting the glaciohydraulic supercooling mechanism for basal ice formation. An interesting result of this basal-freeze-on mechanism of forced equilibrium is the concept of the "graded glacier" that has implications of sediment-pumping effects in response to changes in the surface slope of the glacier in response to climate change. (2) Seismic reflection, GPR, and electrical resistivity data were collected in a proximal pitted outwash plain abutting the active margin of Matanuska Glacier. These data indicate the presence of laterally continuous "slabs" of buried ice, in places possibly in duplex-like structures formed during readvances. The formation of thermokarst resulting in pits (sinkholes) in the surface of the outwash plain are therefore interpreted to result from preferential pathways of melting (relict moulins?) in the buried ice slabs, rather than from discreet blocks of ice. (3) 4-D GPR data (3-D through time) were collected at the terminus of Matanuska Glacier in an attempt to examine the formation of debris-flow-generated stratigraphy during the collapse of a portion of an ice-cored moraine complex. During a 30-m readvance of the glacier (2002-2003, between "snapshots" of data collection) glaciotectonic deformation of the moraine stratigraphy was observed. The GPR data indicate that the readvancing glacier impacted the rigid buried ice within the moraine, passively translating and deforming the overlying sediment in response to occasional brittle faulting and thrusting of the buried ice.

  1. Comparison of annual accumulation rates derived from in situ and ground penetrating radar methods across Alaskan glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McGrath, D.; Gusmeroli, A.; Oneel, S.; Sass, L. C.; Arendt, A. A.; Wolken, G. J.; Kienholz, C.; McNeil, C.

    2013-12-01

    Constraining annual snowfall accumulation in mountain glacier environments is essential for determining the annual mass balance of individual glaciers and predicting seasonal meltwater runoff to river and marine ecosystems. However, large spatial and elevation gradients, coupled with sparse point measurements preclude accurate quantification of this variable using traditional methods. Here, we report on an extensive field campaign conducted in March-May 2013 on key benchmark glaciers in Alaska, including Taku Glacier near Juneau, Scott Glacier near Cordova, both Eklutna and Wolverine Glacier near Anchorage and Gulkana Glacier in the interior Alaska Range. Over 50 km of 500 MHz common-offset ground penetrating radar (GPR) surveys were collected on each glacier, with an emphasis on capturing spatial variability in the accumulation zone. Frequent in situ observations were collected for comparison with the GPR, including probe depths, snow pits and shallow firn cores (~8 m). We report on spatial and elevation gradients across this suite of glaciers and across numerous climatic zones and discuss differences between GPR and in situ derived annual accumulation estimates. This comparison is an essential first step in order to effectively evaluate regional atmospheric re-analysis products.

  2. Evaluating glacier movement fluctuations using remote sensing: A case study of the Baird, Patterson, LeConte, and Shakes glaciers in central Southeastern Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davidson, Robert Howard

    Global Land Survey (GLS) data encompassing Landsat Multispectral Scanner (MSS), Landsat 5's Thematic Mapper (TM), and Landsat 7's Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) were used to determine the terminus locations of Baird, Patterson, LeConte, and Shakes Glaciers in Alaska in the time period 1975-2010. The sequences of the terminuses locations were investigated to determine the movement rates of these glaciers with respect to specific physical and environmental conditions. GLS data from 1975, 1990, 2000, 2005, and 2010 in false-color composite images enhancing ice-snow differentiation and Iterative Self-Organizing (ISO) Data Cluster Unsupervised Classifications were used to 1) quantify the movement rates of Baird, Patterson, LeConte, and Shakes Glaciers; 2) analyze the movement rates for glaciers with similar terminal terrain conditions and; 3) analyze the movement rates for glaciers with dissimilar terminal terrain conditions. From the established sequence of terminus locations, movement distances were quantified between the glacier locations. Movement distances were then compared to see if any correlation existed between glaciers with similar or dissimilar terminal terrain conditions. The Global Land Ice Measurement from Space (GLIMS) data was used as a starting point from which glacier movement was measured for Baird, Patterson, and LeConte Glaciers only as the Shakes Glacier is currently not included in the GLIMS database. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) temperature data collected at the Petersburg, Alaska, meteorological station (from January 1, 1973 to December 31, 2009) were used to help in the understanding of the climatic condition in this area and potential impact on glaciers terminus. Results show that glaciers with similar terminal terrain conditions (Patterson and Shakes Glaciers) and glaciers with dissimilar terminal terrain conditions (Baird, Patterson, and LeConte Glaciers) did not exhibit similar movement rates. Glacier movement rates were greatest for glaciers whose terminuses were in fresh water (Patterson and Shakes Glaciers), less for those with terminuses in salt water (LeConte Glacier), and least for glaciers with terminuses on dry land (Baird Glacier).Based upon these findings, the presence of water, especially fresh water, at the terminal end of the Patterson and Shakes Glaciers had a greater effect on glacier movement than slope. Possible explanations for this effect might include a heat sink effect or tidal motions that hasten glacier disintegration in the ablation zone. In a heat sink scenario, the water bodies in which the Patterson and Shakes Glaciers terminus are located could act as a thermal energy transfer medium that increases glacier melting and subsequent retreat. On the other hand, tidal motions could act as horizontal and vertical push/pull forces, which increase the fracturing rate, calving, and subsequent retreat of glaciers terminus that are is salt water like the LeConte Glacier. Over the length of the study period, 1975 through 2010, there has been a 0.85C increase in annual air temperatures that, although may seem low, may prove important when determining glacial mass balance rates. Further studies are necessary to test these hypotheses to determine if a heat sink effect and tidal motions significantly affected the movement rates for the glaciers in this study area. An additional significant result of this study was the creation of shapefiles delineating the positions of the Shakes Glaciers that are being submitted to the Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) program for inclusion in their master worldwide glacier database.

  3. Ground-penetrating radar observations of winter snow accumulation on Alaska Glaciers.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gusmeroli, A.; Wolken, G. J.; Arendt, A. A.; Campbell, S. W.; O'Neel, S.; Marshall, H.

    2012-12-01

    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.

  4. Using GIS and Remote Sensing to Map the Bedrock Morphology of Bering Glacier, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Snyder-Deaton, L. E.; Molnia, B. F.

    2014-12-01

    Subglacial environments are amongst the least known places on Earth. We have combined five different types of geophysical investigations in order to better understand the complex morphology of the >250 km long bed of Bering Glacier. The transect includes the bed segment underlying the present glacier and the segment previously under the glacier's seaward extension when it reached its maximum limit during the Pleistocene. This transect represents Bering Glacier's bed from the distal edge of the continental shelf, to its up-glacier point of origin east of the U.S.-Canadian border. The datasets used were: 1) marine air-gun and sparker seismic profiles used to define the bedrock morphology of Bering Trough, Bering Glacier's Pleistocene fiord cut into the Gulf of Alaska; 2) binary-explosive seismic refraction profiles used to confirm that fiord depth bedrock underlies the Bering Foreland coastal plain; 3) high-resolution mini-sparker seismic reflection profiles collected from Vitus Lake, Bering Glacier's ice marginal lake that confirm complex bed morphology buried under up to 100 m of recent glacial-marine sediment; 4) ice penetrating radar soundings used to measure the ice thickness and depth to bedrock at more than 30 Bering Glacier piedmont lobe locations; and 5) airborne monopulse radar profiles used for mapping nearly 190 km of glacier's current bed. Combining the results of these five geophysical investigations permits us to produce numerous cross-sections and maps that show the complexities of Bering Glacier's bedrock morphology. At its offshore end on the outer continental shelf, the bed is a trough as deep as 500 m below sea level. At its origin, east of the U.S.-Canadian Border the bed elevation is ~1,600 m above sea level.

  5. Factors Associated With Recent Ice-Marginal Glacier Dammed Lake Loss, Persistence, and Emergence Across Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wolfe, D. F.

    2008-12-01

    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.

  6. Monitoring change in the Bering Glacier region, Alaska: Using Landsat TM and ERS-1 imagery

    SciTech Connect

    Payne, J.F.; Coffeen, M.; Macleod, R.D.

    1997-06-01

    The Bering Glacier is the largest (5,180 km{sup 2}) and longest (191 km) glacier in continental North America. This glacier is one of about 200 temperate glaciers in the Alaska/Canada region that are known to surge. Surges at the Bering Glacier typically occur on a 20-30 year cycle. The objective of this project was to extract information regarding the position of the terminus of the glacier from historic aerial photography, early 20{sup th} century ground photography, Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) satellite data, and European Space Agency, Synthetic Aperture RADAR (ERS-1 SAR) data and integrate it into a single digital database that would lend itself to change detection analysis. ERS-1 SAR data was acquired from six dates between 1992-95 and was terrain corrected and co-registered A single Landsat TM image from June 1991 was used as the base image for classifying land cover types. Historic locations of the glacier terminus were generated using traditional photo interpretation techniques from aerial and ground photography. The result of this platform combination, along with the historical data, is providing land managers with the unique opportunity to generate complete assessments of glacial movement this century and determine land cover changes which may impact wildlife and recreational opportunities.

  7. Medial moraines of glaciers of the Copper River Basin, Alaska: Discrete landslides dominate over other sources

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kargel, J. S.; Fischer, L.; Furfaro, R.; Huggel, C.; Korup, O.; Leonard, G. J.; Uhlmann, M.; Wessels, R. L.; Wolfe, D. F.

    2009-12-01

    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.

  8. Observations of the surge-type Black Rapids Glacier, Alaska, during a quiescent period, 1970-92

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Heinrichs, Thomas A.; Mayo, L.R.; Trabant, D.C.; March, R.S.

    1995-01-01

    This report presents 23 years (1970 to 1992) of observations of Black Rapids Glacier, Alaska. Black Rapids Glacier is a surge-type glacier which most recently surged in 1936-37, and is currently in its quiescent phase. This glacier is of special interest because it is a potential hazard to the trans-Alaska oil pipeline. Ten sites on the glacier were monitored from 1972 to 1987, and three sites were monitored from 1988 to 1992. The measurement program presented here includes observations of surface mass balance, ice velocity, and surface altitude made twice each year. Additional one-time data include observations of ice thickness, previously unreported observations of the 1936-37 surge, establishment of the geodetic control monuments, and a new map of Black Rapids Glacier.

  9. Revealing basin and regional scale snow accumulation magnitude and variability on glaciers throughout Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McGrath, D.; Oneel, S.; Sass, L. C., III; Gusmeroli, A.; Arendt, A. A.; Wolken, G. J.; Kienholz, C.; McNeil, C.

    2014-12-01

    Mass loss from Alaskan glaciers (-50 17 Gt/a, 2003-2009) constitutes one of the largest contributions to global sea level rise outside of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. The largest process-related uncertainties in this calculation arise from the difficulty in accurately measuring accumulation on glaciers and from the large variability of accumulation over a range of spatio-temporal scales. Further, the physical processes governing snow distribution in complex terrain elude model parameterization. Using ground-penetrating radar, constrained with probe and pit observations, we quantify the magnitude and variability of snow accumulation at six prominent glaciers throughout Alaska at the end of 2013 winter. We find that total SWE magnitude and variability are strongly controlled by the large-scale climate system (i.e. distance from the coastal moisture source along prevailing storm track). On average, total SWE decreases by 0.33 m per 100 km from the coast, while the SWE elevation gradient decreases by 0.06 m / 100 m per 100 km from the coast. SWE variability over small spatial scales (<200 m) is similar at most sites, although two glaciers exhibit notably low and high variability, likely related to their respective climatic provenance. On individual glaciers, strong elevation gradients, increasing from 0.07 m SWE / 100 m at the interior Gulkana Glacier to 0.30 m SWE / 100 m at the coastal Scott Glacier, exert the primary control on accumulation. Results from multi-variable linear regression models (based on topographic variables) find wind exposure/shelter is the most frequent secondary control on accumulation variability. Finally, we find strong agreement (<10% difference) between the radar derived and stake derived total SWE estimates at two glaciers in the USGS Benchmark Glacier Program.

  10. Surface expression of subglacial meltwater movement, Bering Glacier, Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Cadwell, D.H. ); Fleisher, P.J. . Dept. of Earth Sciences); Bailey, P.K. )

    1993-03-01

    Longitudinal topographic profiles (1988--1992) across the thermokarst terminus of the Grindle Hills Ice-tongue and interlobate moraine of the Bering Piedmont Glacier document annual changes in crevasse patterns and fluctuations in surface elevation related to subglacial water movement. A semi-continuous record of aerial photos (1978--1990), plus field observations (1988--1992), reveal the progressive enlargement of two lateral collapse basin on both sides of the thermokarst, connected by a transverse collapse trough. Seasonally generated meltwater at depth rises within the glacier, fills the basins and other depressions and lifts the thermokarst terminus of the ice-tongue a few meters by buoyancy and hydrostatic pressure. The resulting surface tension creates a chaotic crevasse pattern unrelated to normal glacier movement. The crevasses open (2 m wide, 8--10 m deep) in response to increased water accumulation at depth and close during subsidence as the ice-tongue settles following evacuation of subglacier water. A network of open conduits (>10 m diameter), exposed by surface ablation, provides evidence for the scale of englacial passageways beneath the thermokarst and represents a form of subglacial ablation that leads to removal of support and collapse in stagnant glacier masses.

  11. Muir and Riggs Glaciers, Muir Inlet, Alaska - 1950

    USGS Multimedia Gallery

    This, the first of two repeat photographs, documents significant changes that have occurred during the nine years between photographs A and B. Although Muir Glacier has retreated more than 3 kilometers and thinned more than 100 meters, exposing Muir Inlet, it remains connected with tributary Riggs G...

  12. Contribution of glacier runoff to freshwater discharge into the Gulf of Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Neal, E.G.; Hood, E.; Smikrud, K.

    2010-01-01

    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. Copyright ?? 2010 by the American Geophysical Union.

  13. Passive microwave (SSM/I) satellite predictions of valley glacier hydrology, Matanuska Glacier, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kopczynski, S.E.; Ramage, J.; Lawson, D.; Goetz, S.; Evenson, E.; Denner, J.; Larson, G.

    2008-01-01

    We advance an approach to use satellite passive microwave observations to track valley glacier snowmelt and predict timing of spring snowmelt-induced floods at the terminus. Using 37 V GHz brightness temperatures (Tb) from the Special Sensor Microwave hnager (SSM/I), we monitor snowmelt onset when both Tb and the difference between the ascending and descending overpasses exceed fixed thresholds established for Matanuska Glacier. Melt is confirmed by ground-measured air temperature and snow-wetness, while glacier hydrologic responses are monitored by a stream gauge, suspended-sediment sensors and terminus ice velocity measurements. Accumulation area snowmelt timing is correlated (R2 = 0.61) to timing of the annual snowmelt flood peak and can be predicted within ??5 days. Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.

  14. Neoglacial fluctuations of terrestrial, tidewater, and calving lacustrine glaciers, Blackstone-Spencer Ice Complex, Kenai Mountains, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crossen, Kristine June

    1997-12-01

    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.

  15. Rapid thinning and collapse of lake calving Yakutat Glacier, Southeast Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Trussel, Barbara Lea

    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.

  16. Geologic characteristics of benthic habitats in Glacier Bay, southeast Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Harney, Jodi N.; Cochrane, Guy R.; Etherington, Lisa L.; Dartnell, Pete; Golden, Nadine E.; Chezar, Hank

    2006-01-01

    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.

  17. Glacier Ice Mass Fluctuations and Fault Instability in Tectonically Active Southern Alaska

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    SauberRosenberg, Jeanne M.; Molnia, Bruce F.

    2003-01-01

    Across southern Alaska the northwest directed subduction of the Pacific plate is accompanied by accretion of the Yakutat terrane to continental Alaska. This has led to high tectonic strain rates and dramatic topographic relief of more than 5000 meters within 15 km of the Gulf of Alaska coast. The glaciers of this area are extensive and include large glaciers undergoing wastage (glacier retreat and thinning) and surges. The large glacier ice mass changes perturb the tectonic rate of deformation at a variety of temporal and spatial scales. We estimated surface displacements and stresses associated with ice mass fluctuations and tectonic loading by examining GPS geodetic observations and numerical model predictions. Although the glacial fluctuations perturb the tectonic stress field, especially at shallow depths, the largest contribution to ongoing crustal deformation is horizontal tectonic strain due to plate convergence. Tectonic forces are thus the primary force responsible for major earthquakes. However, for geodetic sites located < 10-20 km from major ice mass fluctuations, the changes of the solid Earth due to ice loading and unloading are an important aspect of interpreting geodetic results. The ice changes associated with Bering Glacier s most recent surge cycle are large enough to cause discernible surface displacements. Additionally, ice mass fluctuations associated with the surge cycle can modify the short-term seismicity rates in a local region. For the thrust faulting environment of the study region a large decrease in ice load may cause an increase in seismic rate in a region close to failure whereas ice loading may inhibit thrust faulting.

  18. Uses of Several Photographic Methods to Detect Changes of Glaciers in Arctic Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nolan, M.; Takahashi, S.

    2004-12-01

    We have employed several photographic methods to detect changes on glaciers in Arctic Alaska. On Okpilak and McCall Glaciers in the eastern Brooks Range, we have re-occupied photo-locations from 1906 and 1958 respectively. These photos unambiguously document that a large loss of ice mass has been on-going here over the past 100 years. The Okpilak Glacier photos also unambiguously reveal that retreat from the most recently exposed moraines did not begin until near the turn of the century, supporting lichenometric evidence that the change in weather patterns that marked the end of the Little Ice Age here occurred sometime around 1890. A time-series of photos from this photo-site since 1906 reveals the influence of glacier geometry on volume loss rates. Comparing these photos with modern survey data has also allowed us to better quantify the ice loss observed. On McCall Glacier, we have employed time-lapse photography in several ways. By installing a camera on a ridge high above the glacier, we can watch the snow-line move up-glacier in summer. By placing a camera in the accumulation area in front of a large ruler, we can record the rate of snow accumulation throughout the year. By placing a camera in front of our weather stations located on the glacier surface, we can both improve our interpretations of the weather data as well as help troubleshoot the causes for equipment malfunctions. Because shading plays such an important role in patterns of surface mass balance in these steep mountain valleys, we have used both optical and infrared time-series of photos to document both shading and the resulting impact on surface temperature within the valley. We are also using these time-series to help validate models of surface energy balance that incorporate shading.

  19. Examining the Relationship between Surface Albedo and Glacier Mass Balance in the Central Alaska Range

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Godaire, T. P.; Kreutz, K. J.; Hamilton, G. S.; Burakowski, E. A.; Campbell, S. W.; Winski, D.; Wake, C. P.; Osterberg, E. C.; Markle, B. R.

    2013-12-01

    Surfaces with high reflectance values within the cryosphere such as seasonal snowpack, glacial snow and ice, and sea ice play a vital role in the global climate system and in the energy budgets of the world's glaciers. Changes in reflectance may induce feedbacks resulting in fluctuations of glacier mass balance. To understand the relationship between surface albedo and mass balance, we used an ASD Inc. FieldSpec4 spectroradiometer to measure incoming radiation, outgoing surface reflectance and optical grain size on the Kahiltna Glacier (Denali National Park, AK) during our field campaign this spring (May-June 2013). While on site, we installed two Campbell Scientific automatic weather stations; one communicates via Iridium telemetry. Comparison of our in situ data (reflectance, grain size and AWS measurements) to MODIS imagery will enable us to broaden our study area from the Kahiltna Glacier to the Central Alaska Range and to derive surface albedo values for the Range. Our final goal is to examine and quantify the relationship between our surface albedo calculations and glacier mass balance measurements from National Park Service and USGS studies. If the uncertainties are minimal, then we may apply this method of using surface albedo as a proxy for glacier mass balance in other remote regions where access is limited, but satellite imagery is available. Here we present the field albedo measurements, 6 months of the weather station data, and the MODIS-derived albedo. We will also present our findings on the relationship between the surface albedo and glacier mass balance. Quantifying the influence of albedo on mass balance will provide insight into the vulnerability of mountain glaciers to climate change, and their contribution to global sea level. Additionally, the results may offer valuable information for the enhancement of mass balance and energy balance models, temporally and spatially.

  20. Alaska: Glaciers of Kenai Fjords National Park and Katmai National Park and Preserve (Chapter 12)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Giffen, Bruce A.; Hall, Dorothy K.; Chien, Janet Y.L.

    2007-01-01

    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.

  1. Effect of glacier ablation on the Snettisham Hydroelectric Project, Long Lake and Crater Lake Basins, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sloan, C.E.; Emery, P.A.; Fair, Diana

    1986-01-01

    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)

  2. Analysis of Seasonal Variability in Gulf of Alaska Glacier Mass Balance using GRACE

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arendt, A. A.; Luthcke, S. B.; Oneel, S.; Gardner, A. S.; Hill, D. F.

    2011-12-01

    Mass variations of glaciers in Alaska/northwestern Canada must be quantified in order to assess impacts on ecosystems, human infrastructure, and global sea level. Here we combine Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) observations with a wide range of satellite and field data to investigate drivers of these recent changes, with a focus on seasonal variations. Our central focus will be the exceptionally high mass losses of 2009, which do not correlate with weather station temperature and precipitation data, but may be linked to ash fall from the March 31, 2009 eruption of Mt. Redoubt. The eruption resulted in a significant decrease in MODIS-derived surface albedo over many Alaska glacier regions, and likely contributed to some of the 2009 anomalous mass loss observed by GRACE. We also focus on the Juneau and Stikine Icefield regions that are far from the volcanic eruption but experienced the largest mass losses of any region in 2009. Although rapid drawdown of tidewater glaciers was occurring in southeast Alaska during 2009, we show these changes were probably not sufficiently widespread to explain all of the GRACE signal in those regions. We examine additional field and satellite datasets to quantify potential errors in the climate and GRACE fields that could result in the observed discrepancy.

  3. Turbidity-current channels in Queen Inlet, Glacier Bay, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Carlson, P.R.; Powell, R.D.; Rearic, D.M.

    1989-01-01

    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

  4. Multibeam bathymetry and selected perspective views of main part of Glacier Bay, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Carlson, Paul R.; Hooge, Philip; Cochrane, Guy; Stevenson, Andrew; Dartnell, Pete; Lee, Kristen

    2002-01-01

    Glacier Bay is a diverse fjord ecosystem with multiple tidewater glaciers and complex biological, geological, and oceanographic patterns that vary greatly along its length. The bay was completely glaciated prior to the 1700's, and subsequently experienced the fastest glacial retreat recorded in historical times. As a result, some of the highest rates of glacial sedimentation and uplift are observed here. Glacier Bay is the deepest silled fjord in Alaska, with depths of over 450 meters. The variety of physical processes and depths creates many diverse habitats within a relatively small area. Mapping benthic (seafloor) habitats is thus crucial to understanding and managing Glacier Bay's complex marine ecosystem and the marine species therein. High-resolution multibeam mapping of the bay, funded jointly by USGS and the National Park System, provides an unprecedented new baseline for resource and habitat assessment. Full integration of the new data set will require additional ground-truthing data (sampling) and analysis. The USGS goal is to develop integrated geological and oceanographic habitat models for the marine benthos in Glacier Bay, as a step toward determining the habitat relationships of critical species and resources within the Park.

  5. Twenty-first century changes in the hydrology, glaciers, and permafrost of the Susitna Basin, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bliss, A. K.; Hock, R.; Wolken, G. J.; Zhang, J.; Whorton, E.; Braun, J. L.; Gusmeroli, A.; Liljedahl, A.; Schulla, J.

    2014-12-01

    In the face of climate change, the hydrology of the upper Susitna Basin in South-Central Alaska is expected to change. This would impact the quantity and seasonality of river flow into a proposed hydroelectric dam, if it were to be built. The upper Susitna Basin catchment area is 13,289 km², ranging from 450-4000 m a.s.l. It is 4% glacierized and is characterized by sparse vegetation, discontinuous permafrost, and little human development. We present field measurements and results from hydrological modeling. We present new field data from spring and fall 2014 along with field measurements from the 1980's, 2012, and 2013. These data are used to calibrate and validate the hydrological model. Traditional glacier mass balance measurements show that the glaciers lost more mass in 2012 and 2013 than in 1981, 1982, or 1983. Springtime snow radar surveys of the glaciers allow us to extrapolate from point measurements of snow depth to the whole glacier area. Snow depth measurements at tundra sites as well as tundra vegetation and soil characterizations help us choose appropriate model parameters for the tundra portions of the basin. Meteorological data (temperature, humidity, and precipitation) from over 20 stations in the basin show the summertime temperature lapse rate to be smaller over glacier surfaces compared to ice-free surfaces. Precipitation is highly variable across the basin. Energy balance measurements from two meteorological stations, one located on West Fork Glacier and one on a nunatak near Susitna Glacier, are used for more detailed modeling of summertime glacier melt and runoff. We run a physically-based hydrological model to project 21st century river discharge: Water Flow and Balance Simulation Model (WaSiM). Climate inputs come from a CCSM CMIP5 RCP6.0 scenario downscaled to a 20km-5km nested grid using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model. From 2010-2029 to 2080-2099 the basin-wide mean-annual temperature will rise 2.5 degrees and total precipitation will rise 2%, with a 13% decrease in snowfall and a 20% increase in rainfall. Preliminary WaSiM runs indicate that glaciers will retreat, evapotranspiration will increase, and permafrost will thaw. Annual runoff will remain relatively steady, but the timing of the peak spring runoff will shift to an earlier date.

  6. Variations in melt inputs and basal sliding velocity on the Kennicott Glacier, Alaska, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Armstrong, W. H.; Barnhart, K. R.; Anderson, R. S.; Rajaram, H.

    2012-12-01

    We present glacier surface motion, meteorologic, and hydrologic observations from the 2012 melt season on the Kennicott Glacier near McCarthy, Alaska. We record 15-second global positioning system (GPS) data from five monuments along the glacier centerline, 10-minute water level data from pressure sensors in four ice-marginal basins and one on the glacier outlet river, 10-minute air temperature and ablation rates, and one-hour time-lapse photography on two ice-marginal basins and the outlet stream. We use these data to investigate linkages between subglacial hydrology and glacier basal sliding velocity. Time-lapse imagery and pressure sensor time series capture a complicated early season fill-and-drain sequence on an ice-marginal lake, likely reflecting the interplay between melt supply and development of a hydrologic link between the basin and a presumed nearby low-pressure subglacial conduit. We also capture a midsummer jkulhlaup in which 20-30 x 10^6 cubic meters of water drain from the ice-dammed Hidden Creek Lake over the course of 60 hours. The flood wave propagates down-glacier, reaching the glacier terminus 15 kilometers away about 30 hours after the initiation of lake drainage. The flood wave raises stage by many tens of meters in ice-marginal basins and doubles discharge on the outlet stream. We compare water level records to differential GPS time series to monitor the glacier sliding response to seasonal, daily, and event-based variations in water inputs. This study builds on our 2006 research in the area by increasing GPS monument density, extending the monitoring season, and including time-lapse photography. These improvements allow us to resolve in greater temporal and spatial detail the glacier's response to hydrologic conditions throughout the melt season. Although the 2012 summer was generally cooler than summer 2006, we find remarkable similarity between the outburst flood hydrographs for the two years, indicating similarities in the evolution of the subglacial drainage network despite differences in the temporal pattern of melt inputs. These data will serve as a foundation for future modeling of the temporal and spatial evolution of the glacier hydrologic system and its linkages with the associated patterns of sliding.

  7. End-of-winter snow depth variability on glaciers in Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McGrath, Daniel; Sass, Louis; O'Neel, Shad; Arendt, Anthony; Wolken, Gabriel; Gusmeroli, Alessio; Kienholz, Christian; McNeil, Christopher

    2015-08-01

    A quantitative understanding of snow thickness and snow water equivalent (SWE) on glaciers is essential to a wide range of scientific and resource management topics. However, robust SWE estimates are observationally challenging, in part because SWE can vary abruptly over short distances in complex terrain due to interactions between topography and meteorological processes. In spring 2013, we measured snow accumulation on several glaciers around the Gulf of Alaska using both ground- and helicopter-based ground-penetrating radar surveys, complemented by extensive ground truth observations. We found that SWE can be highly variable (40% difference) over short spatial scales (tens to hundreds of meters), especially in the ablation zone where the underlying ice surfaces are typically rough. Elevation provides the dominant basin-scale influence on SWE, with gradients ranging from 115 to 400 mm/100 m. Regionally, total accumulation and the accumulation gradient are strongly controlled by a glacier's distance from the coastal moisture source. Multiple linear regressions, used to calculate distributed SWE fields, show that robust results require adequate sampling of the true distribution of multiple terrain parameters. Final SWE estimates (comparable to winter balances) show reasonable agreement with both the Parameter-elevation Relationships on Independent Slopes Model climate data set (9-36% difference) and the U.S. Geological Survey Alaska Benchmark Glaciers (6-36% difference). All the glaciers in our study exhibit substantial sensitivity to changing snow-rain fractions, regardless of their location in a coastal or continental climate. While process-based SWE projections remain elusive, the collection of ground-penetrating radar (GPR)-derived data sets provides a greatly enhanced perspective on the spatial distribution of SWE and will pave the way for future work that may eventually allow such projections.

  8. Oceanography of Glacier Bay, Alaska: Implications for biological patterns in a glacial fjord estuary

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Etherington, L.L.; Hooge, P.N.; Hooge, E.R.; Hill, D.F.

    2007-01-01

    Alaska, U.S.A, is one of the few remaining locations in the world that has fjords that contain temperate tidewater glaciers. Studying such estuarine systems provides vital information on how deglaciation affects oceanographic conditions of fjords and surrounding coastal waters. The oceanographic system of Glacier Bay, Alaska, is of particular interest due to the rapid deglaciation of the Bay and the resulting changes in the estuarine environment, the relatively high concentrations of marine mammals, seabirds, fishes, and invertebrates, and the Bay's status as a national park, where commercial fisheries are being phased out. We describe the first comprehensive broad-scale analysis of physical and biological oceanographic conditions within Glacier Bay based on CTD measurements at 24 stations from 1993 to 2002. Seasonal patterns of near-surface salinity, temperature, stratification, turbidity, and euphoric depth suggest that freshwater input was highest in summer, emphasizing the critical role of glacier and snowmelt to this system. Strong and persistent stratification of surface waters driven by freshwater input occurred from spring through fall. After accounting for seasonal and spatial variation, several of the external physical factors (i.e., air temperature, precipitation, day length) explained a large amount of variation in the physical properties of the surface waters. Spatial patterns of phytoplankton biomass varied throughout the year and were related to stratification levels, euphotic depth, and day length. We observed hydrographic patterns indicative of strong competing forces influencing water column stability within Glacier Bay: high levels of freshwater discharge promoted stratification in the upper fjord, while strong tidal currents over the Bay's shallow entrance sill enhanced vertical mixing. Where these two processes met in the central deep basins there were optimal conditions of intermediate stratification, higher light levels, and potential nutrient renewal. These conditions were associated with high and sustained chlorophyll a levels observed from spring through fall in these zones of the Bay and provide a framework for understanding the abundance patterns of higher trophic levels within this estuarine system. ?? 2007 Estuarine Research Federation.

  9. Elevation Changes on Malaspina, Agassiz and Marvine Glaciers, Alaska, from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Muskett, R. R.; Lingle, C. S.; Tangborn, W. V.; Rabus, B.

    2002-12-01

    The Chugach-St. Elias Mountains bordering the Gulf of Alaska is the location of the largest connected glacier and icefield complex in continental North America: The Bering and Malaspina glacier systems (Molnia, 1993; Sharp, 1951). The Malaspina Glacier piedmont lobe has an area of about 2200 km2. Agassiz and Marvine Glacier, on the west-east sides of the Malaspina piedmont, have areas of about 591 and 223 km2 respectively. The combined Malaspina-Seward system, including tributaries, has an area of about 4,300 km2. Malaspina has a quasi-periodic surge period of 20 to 30 years. The Shuttle Radar Topography Mission/X-Synthetic Aperture Radar (SRTM/X-SAR), flown on STS-99 (February 2000) was the first spaceborne single-pass interferometric SAR mission (Geudtner and others, 2002). The SRTM/X-SAR system was composed of C and X-band SAR. The single-pass SAR interferometer configuration with an inboard (transmit and receive) and outboard (receive only) antenna system enabled the removal of large error sources inherent with the repeat-pass technique. X-band digital elevation models (DEM) produced by the German Remote Sensing Center (DFD) have a nominal pixel size of 25 m-by-25 m in UTM projection. The vertical and horizontal reference datum is World Geodetic System 84 (WGS 84). Nominal vertical accuracy is 6 m (16 m absolute) and horizontal accuracy is 15 m (20 m absolute) at the 90% confidence level. We present new surface elevation changes on the Malaspina piedmont lobe, Agassiz and Marvine Glaciers from 1972-'73 to 2000 based on spatial analysis of co-located Shuttle Radar Topography Mission X-band DEM with United States Geological Survey DEMs. X-band DEM elevations were changed from the WGS 84 vertical datum (ellipsoid) to the GEOID 99-Alaska (NOAA National Geodetic Survey geoid) datum. USGS DEMs were transformed from North America Datum 1927 (NAD 27) to WGS 84 in UTM projection. A correction for X-band radar penetration depth of snow cover is in progress. Preliminary results indicate the Malaspina piedmont surface lowered on average by 43 +/- 4 m from 1972 to 2000 (1.6 +/- 0.1 m a-1) for a volume loss of 59 +/- 5 km3 in water equivalent (we). The spatial distribution of surface lowering is non-uniform for all three glaciers. The Marvine Glacier shows an average of 50 +/- 4 m we of surface lowering. The Agassiz Glacier shows an average of 24 +/- 4 m we of surface lowering. However, Agassiz Glacier has a bulge of surface rising up to 52 +/- 4 m, about 4 km in diameter, located across from Agassiz Lakes. Geudtner and 3 others, Interferometric alignment of the X-SAR antenna system on the Space Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, IEEE Trans. on Geoscience RS, 40 (5), 995-1005, 2002. Molnia, Major surge of the Bering Glacier, Eos, 74 (29), 321-322, 1993. Sharp, Accumulation and ablation on the Seward-Malaspina glacier system, Canada-Alaska, Bull. Geo. Soc. Am., 62, 725-744, 1951.

  10. Methane seeps along boundaries of receding glaciers in Alaska and Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walter Anthony, K. M.; Anthony, P. M.; Grosse, G.; Chanton, J.

    2012-12-01

    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.

  11. The Propagation of a Surge Front on Bering Glacier, Alaska, 2001-2011

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Turrin, James; Forster, Richard R.; Larsen, Chris; Sauber, Jeanne

    2013-01-01

    Bering Glacier, Alaska, USA, has a 20 year surge cycle, with its most recent surge reaching the terminus in 2011. To study this most recent activity a time series of ice velocity maps was produced by applying optical feature-tracking methods to Landsat-7 ETM+ imagery spanning 2001-11. The velocity maps show a yearly increase in ice surface velocity associated with the down-glacier movement of a surge front. In 2008/09 the maximum ice surface velocity was 1.5 plus or minus 0.017 kilometers per a in the mid-ablation zone, which decreased to 1.2 plus or minus 0.015 kilometers per a in 2009/10 in the lower ablation zone, and then increased to nearly 4.4 plus or minus 0.03 kilometers per a in summer 2011 when the surge front reached the glacier terminus. The surge front propagated down-glacier as a kinematic wave at an average rate of 4.4 plus or minus 2.0 kilometers per a between September 2002 and April 2009, then accelerated to 13.9 plus or minus 2.0 kilometers per a as it entered the piedmont lobe between April 2009 and September 2010. Thewave seems to have initiated near the confluence of Bering Glacier and Bagley Ice Valley as early as 2001, and the surge was triggered in 2008 further down-glacier in the mid-ablation zone after the wave passed an ice reservoir area.

  12. Mass and Energy Balance Modeling of Glaciers in the Upper Susitna Basin, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hoffman, A.; Hock, R.; Aubry-Wake, C.; Bliss, A.; Gusmeroli, A.; Liljedahl, A.; Gillispie, L.; Wolken, G. J.

    2014-12-01

    The State of Alaska is reviving analyses of the Susitna River's hydroelectric potential by supporting a multitude of field and modeling studies for the proposed Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric project. Critical to any effective hydroelectric development is a firm understanding of the basin-wide controls on river runoff and how seasonal reservoir recharge may change over the course of the structure's life-span. Effectively projecting future changes in watershed-scale stream flow for the Susitna river demands understanding and quantifying glacier melt in the Alaskan range. Our research is restricted to a sub-catchment of the upper Susitna basin that feeds the Susitna River covering 2,230 km2, of which 25% is glacierized. The goals of our study are to investigate the spatial and seasonal variations of the energy balance and its components across the glaciers and to model resulting streamflow from the catchment for the summer of 2013 using two models of different complexity. We apply DEBAM, a distributive energy balance model and DETIM, an enhanced temperature-index model, both coupled to a linear-reservoir runoff model, to simulate hourly surface energy fluxes, melt rates and glacier runoff using meteorological observations from an automated weather station located in the ablation zone of the West Fork glacier. Model results are compared to measurements of streamflow and mass balance at 20 ablation stakes across the glacierized area. The largest source of energy contributing to 85% of melt is net radiation followed by the sensible and latent heat fluxes. Both models capture well the seasonal and diurnal variations in streamflow and show good agreement with the mass balance point observations. The discrepancies between modeled and measured discharge can be attributed to the high uncertainty in precipitation and initial snow cover across the unglaciated part of the basin which accounts for over 75% of the modeled area.

  13. Rock avalanches and glacier dynamics: a case study in the Chugach Mountains, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Uhlmann, Manuela; Fischer, Luzia; Huggel, Christian; Kargell, Jeffrey; Korup, Oliver

    2010-05-01

    Massive rock slope failures resulting in rock avalanches in glacierized environments can have serious consequences for downstream areas. Furthermore they are important drivers of erosion. The Chugach Mountains in south-central Alaska are a vast remote and strongly glacierized area with evidence of numerous rock avalanches, although a systematic documentation and assessment of their role as geomorphic agents is missing so far. Here we use glaciers as a unique archive of rock avalanches that have deposited extensive debris sheets on glaciers. A number of well preserved rock avalanche deposits from past years and decades furthermore facilitate the quantification of hitherto poorly known historic glacier surface velocities in the region. The principal objective of this work was first to create an inventory of rock avalanches on the basis of Landsat satellite images in the Chugach Mountains, and to analyze their characteristics regarding lithology, climate, runout-distance, area and volume, as well as their spatial distribution. The runout distances of mass movements are generally larger in glacial environments than in non-glacial environments. This characteristic was also shown in the studied cases as they always travelled over glaciers, firn or snow. The distribution of the rock avalanches was compared with the occurrence of earthquakes in the region. It has been shown in this study, that especially big earthquakes trigger rock avalanches. Smaller earthquakes do not appear to have enough energy to trigger rock avalanches. Furthermore, the climate conditions were analyzed of being responsible for the spatial pattern of the rock avalanches. The south-eastern part of the Chugach Mountains is affected by high precipitation and mild temperatures. Concentration of rock avalanches occurs in the same area. To analyze glacier dynamics over more than 20 years, rock avalanche deposits on the glaciers were used to derive simple but robust measures of flow velocities over periods of several years to decades. Such long-term averaged flow velocities are difficult to be achieved by measurement techniques such as satellite based SAR or GPS as they operate over much shorter periods of time. Most of the inferred flow velocities are in the range of 50 to 100 m/a. A few calving or surging glaciers displayed flow velocities of > 300 m/a. In the case of several rock avalanche deposits on the same glacier, differential flow velocities were evaluated, which confirmed the expected patterns of faster velocities in the middle of the glacier and slower velocities at the margins. This study adds important evidence on the spatio-temporal distribution of rock avalanches in glacial environments, their relation to seismic triggers and climate. The successful identification of glacier flow velocities over a larger mountain region and a larger period of time is unique and can provide important insights into glacier dynamics and change in a region that is highly sensitive to climate change, and the contribution to sea level rise from melting glaciers under ongoing debate.

  14. Glaciological and marine geological controls on terminus dynamics of Hubbard Glacier, southeast Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stearns, L. A.; Hamilton, G. S.; van der Veen, C. J.; Finnegan, D. C.; O'Neel, S.; Scheick, J. B.; Lawson, D. E.

    2015-06-01

    Hubbard Glacier, located in southeast Alaska, is the world's largest nonpolar tidewater glacier. It has been steadily advancing since it was first mapped in 1895; occasionally, the advance creates an ice or sediment dam that blocks a tributary fjord (Russell Fiord). The sustained advance raises the probability of long-term closure in the near future, which will strongly impact the ecosystem of Russell Fiord and the nearby community of Yakutat. Here, we examine a 43 year record of flow speeds and terminus position to understand the large-scale dynamics of Hubbard Glacier. Our long-term record shows that the rate of terminus advance has increased slightly since 1895, with the exception of a slowed advance between approximately 1972 and 1984. The short-lived closure events in 1986 and 2002 were not initiated by perturbations in ice velocity or environmental forcings but were likely due to fluctuations in sedimentation patterns at the terminus. This study points to the significance of a coupled system where short-term velocity fluctuations and morainal shoal development control tidewater glacier terminus position.

  15. The dynamic response of Kennicott Glacier, Alaska, USA, to the Hidden Creek Lake outburst flood

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Anderson, R. Scott; Walder, J.S.; Anderson, S.P.; Trabant, D.C.; Fountain, A.G.

    2005-01-01

    Glacier sliding is commonly linked with elevated water pressure at the glacier bed. Ice surface motion during a 3 week period encompassing an outburst of ice-dammed Hidden Creek Lake (HCL) at Kennicott Glacier, Alaska, USA, showed enhanced sliding during the flood. Two stakes, 1.2 km from HCL, revealed increased speed in two episodes, both associated with uplift of the ice surface relative to the trajectory of bed-parallel motion. Uplift of the surface began 12 days before the flood, initially stabilizing at a value of 0.25 m. Two days after lake drainage began, further uplift (reaching 0.4 m) occurred while surface speed peaked at 1.2 m d-1. Maximum surface uplift coincided with peak discharge from HCL, high water level in a down-glacier ice-marginal basin, and low solute concentrations in the Kennicott River. Each of these records is consistent with high subglacial water pressure. We interpret the ice surface motion as arising from sliding up backs of bumps on the bed, which enlarges cavities and produces bed separation. The outburst increased water pressure over a broad region, promoting sliding, inhibiting cavity closure, and blocking drainage of solute-rich water from the distributed system. Pressure drop upon termination of the outburst drained water from and depressurized the distributed system, reducing sliding speeds. Expanded cavities then collapsed with a 1 day time-scale set by the local ice thickness.

  16. Comparison of geodetic and glaciological mass-balance techniques, Gulkana Glacier, Alaska, U.S.A

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cox, L.H.; March, R.S.

    2004-01-01

    The net mass balance on Gulkana Glacier, Alaska, U.S.A., has been measured since 1966 by the glaciological method, in which seasonal balances are measured at three index sites and extrapolated over large areas of the glacier. Systematic errors can accumulate linearly with time in this method. Therefore, the geodetic balance, in which errors are less time-dependent, was calculated for comparison with the glaciological method. Digital elevation models of the glacier in 1974, 1993 and 1999 were prepared using aerial photographs, and geodetic balances were computed, giving - 6.0??0.7 m w.e. from 1974 to 1993 and - 11.8??0.7 m w.e. from 1974 to 1999. These balances are compared with the glaciological balances over the same intervals, which were - 5.8??0.9 and -11.2??1.0 m w.e. respectively; both balances show that the thinning rate tripled in the 1990s. These cumulative balances differ by <6%. For this close agreement, the glaciologically measured mass balance of Gulkana Glacier must be largely free of systematic errors and be based on a time-variable area-altitude distribution, and the photography used in the geodetic method must have enough contrast to enable accurate photogrammetry.

  17. Glaciological and marine geological controls on terminus dynamics of Hubbard Glacier, southeast Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stearns, Leigh A.; Hamilton, Gordon S.; van der Veen, C. J.; Finnegan, D. C.; O'Neel, Shad; Scheick, J. B.; Lawson, D. E.

    2015-01-01

    Hubbard Glacier, located in southeast Alaska, is the world's largest non-polar tidewater glacier. It has been steadily advancing since it was first mapped in 1895; occasionally, the advance creates an ice or sediment dam that blocks a tributary fjord (Russell Fiord). The sustained advance raises the probability of long-term closure in the near-future, which will strongly impact the ecosystem of Russell Fiord and the nearby community of Yakutat. Here, we examine a 43-year record of flow speeds and terminus position to understand the large-scale dynamics of Hubbard Glacier. Our long-term record shows that the rate of terminus advance has increased slightly since 1895, with the exception of a slowed advance between approximately 1972 and 1984. The short-lived closure events in 1986 and 2002 were not initiated by perturbations in ice velocity or environmental forcings, but were likely due to fluctuations in sedimentation patterns at the terminus. This study points to the significance of a coupled system where short-term velocity fluctuations and morainal shoal development control tidewater glacier terminus position.

  18. Interannual to Decadal Variability in Climate and the Glacier Mass Balance in Washington, Western Canada, and Alaska*.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bitz, C. M.; Battisti, D. S.

    1999-11-01

    The authors examine the net winter, summer, and annual mass balance of six glaciers along the northwest coast of North America, extending from Washington State to Alaska. The net winter (NWB) and net annual (NAB) mass balance anomalies for the maritime glaciers in the southern group, located in Washington and British Columbia, are shown to be positively correlated with local precipitation anomalies and storminess (defined as the rms of high-passed 500-mb geopotential anomalies) and weakly and negatively correlated with local temperature anomalies. The NWB and NAB of the maritime Wolverine glacier in Alaska are also positively correlated with local precipitation, but they are positively correlated with local winter temperature and negatively correlated with local storminess. Hence, anomalies in mass balance at Wolverine result mainly from the change in moisture that is being advected into the region by anomalies in the averaged wintertime circulation rather than from a change in storminess. The patterns of the wintertime 500-mb circulation and storminess anomalies associated with years of high NWB in the southern glacier group are similar to those associated with low NWB years at the Wolverine glacier, and vice versa.The decadal ENSO-like climate phenomenon discussed by Zhang et al. has a large impact on the NWB and NAB of these maritime glaciers, accounting for up to 35% of the variance in NWB. The 500-mb circulation and storminess anomalies associated with this decadal ENSO-like mode resemble the Pacific-North American pattern, as do 500-mb composites of years of extreme NWB of South Cascade glacier in Washington and of Wolverine glacier in Alaska. Hence, the decadal ENSO-like mode affects precipitation in a crucial way for the NWB of these glaciers. Specifically, the decadal ENSO-like phenomenon strongly affects the storminess over British Columbia and Washington and the moisture transported by the seasonally averaged circulation into maritime Alaska. In contrast, ENSO is only weakly related to NWB of these glaciers because (i) the large-scale circulation anomalies associated with ENSO do not produce substantial anomalies in moisture advection into Alaska, and (ii) the storminess and precipitation anomalies associated with ENSO are far to the south of the southern glacier group.Finally, the authors discuss the potential for short-term climate forecasts of the mass balance for the maritime glaciers in the northwest of North America.

  19. Combined Ice and Water Balances of Gulkana and Wolverine Glaciers, Alaska, and South Cascade Glacier, Washington, 1965 and 1966 Hydrologic Years

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Meier, Mark Frederick; Tangborn, Wendell V.; Mayo, Lawrence R.; Post, Austin

    1971-01-01

    Glaciers occur in northwestern North America between lat 37 deg and 69 deg N. in two major mountain systems. The Pacific Mountain System, near the west coast, receives large amounts of precipitation, has very mild temperatures, and contains perhaps 90 percent of the glacier ice. The Rocky Mountain or Eastern System, on the other hand, receives nearly an order of magnitude less precipitation, has temperatures that range from subpolar to subtropic, and contains glaciers that are much smaller in both size and total area. As a contribution to the International Hydrological Decade program on combined balances at selected glaciers, the U.S. Geological Survey is conducting studies of ice and water balance on four glaciers in the Pacific Mountain System: Wolverine and Gulkana Glaciers in Alaska, South Cascade Glacier in Washington, and Maclure Glacier in California. Similar data are being collected by other organizations at five glaciers in western Canada, including two in the Rocky Mountain System, and at one glacier in the Rocky Mountain System in northern Alaska. Gulkana, Wolverine, South Cascade, and Maclure Glaciers have dissimilar mass balances, and each is fairly representative of the glaciers for its particular region. Gulkana Glacier (lat 63 deg 15' N., Alaska Range, Alaska) normally has an equilibrium line at an altitude of 1,800 m (meters), an activity index of about 6 mm/m (millimeters per meter), a winter balance of about 1.0 m, and an annual exchange of about 2.2 m. (Balance values are given in terms of water-equivalent measure; the winter balance of 1 m, for example, indicates a volume of ice equal in mass to a volume of water 1 m in depth covering the area of the glacier.) The normal approximate parameters for the other glaciers studied are as follows: Wolverine Glacier (lat 60 deg 24' N., Kenai Mountains, Alaska) - equilibrium-line altitude 1,200 m, activity index 9 mm/m, winter balance 2.5 m, and annual exchange 5.5 m; South Cascade Glacier (lat 48 deg 22' N., North Cascades, Wash.) - equilibrium-line altitude 1,900 m, activity index 17 mm/m, winter balance 3.1 m, and annual exchange 6.6 m; and Maclure Glacier (lat 37 deg 45' N., Sierra Nevada, Calif.) - equilibrium-line altitude 3,600 m, activity index 23 mm/m, winter balance 2.3 m, and annual exchange 4.6 m. Mass balances of these four glaciers and their drainage basins are measured annually by standard glaciological techniques. In addition, the hydrologic balance is calculated using streamflow and precipitation measurements. Combining these independent measurements results in fairly well defined values of water and ice balance for the glaciers and drainage basins. A revision of the standard International Hydrological Decade mass-balance system permits combination of annual and stratigraphic terms. The annual balance of South Cascade Glacier at the end of the 1965 hydrologic year was slightly positive (+0.07 m averaged over the glacier), but continued ablation and deficient accumulation in October 1965 resulted in slightly negative net balances for both the glacier and the drainage basin. Factors tending to produce this near-zero balance were the above-average late-winter balance (3.48 m) and the numerous summer snowfalls. Ice ablation averaged about 39 mm of water per day during the main melt season. Runoff during the summer ablation season was lower than the 1958-64 average. The South Cascade Glacier annual balance in 1966 (-0.94 m) was considerably more negative mainly owing to the deficient winter snowpack (the late-winter balance was only 2.52 m) and the warm dry summer. Ice ablation averaged about 44 mm of water per day during the melt season. The loss in storage of this and other glaciers in the North Cascades increased the runoff of many valley streams by approximately 50 percent during August and September. The 1966 Gulkana Glacier annual balance was slightly positive (+0.06 m); on the basis of past observations and the rapid terminus ret

  20. Late Holocene environmental change at three glacier-fed lakes, southern Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaufman, D. S.; Anderson, R. S.; Daigle, T. A.; Kathan, K. M.; McKay, N. P.; Michelutti, N. N.; Werner, A.

    2007-12-01

    Lake-sediment cores and glacial geomorphology were used to infer late Holocene paleoenvironmental changes at three glacier-fed lakes across southern Alaska. The lakes form a 730-km-long transect around 60N lat, and they span the transition zone between two centers of opposite surface air-temperature responses attributed to fluctuations in the strength of the Aleutian Low, the primary indicator of winter climate in the North Pacific. Sediment cores from Hallet Lake in the NE Chugach Range display varying concentrations of biogenic silica (BSi), a measure of overall lake production. A transfer function was developed to infer summer temperature from downcore BSi content. The reconstruction shows clear evidence of first millennium AD cooling, warmth from 1300-1500 AD, Little Ice Age (LIA) cooling between 1750 and 1900 AD, and recent warming beginning ca. 1900 AD. During the last 30 yr, summer temperatures were nearly 2C warmer than the reconstructed mean of the past 2 millennia. Goat Lake is near treeline in the Kenai Mountains, and about 1 km from an outlet glacier of the Harding Icefield. Pollen assemblages show increasing abundances of mountain hemlock from 700-1200 AD, which we interpret as an expansion of treeline. The expansion was terminated around 1230 AD when 10 cm of tephra was deposited in the lake. Treeline above the modern and prior to the LIA is further indicated by a 14C age of 1470 85 AD on logs exposed below till at the present glacier terminus. By 1660 AD the outlet glacier thickened by 150 m where it overtopped its drainage divide and spilled meltwater into Goat Lake, which continued until around 1890 AD. Since then, hemlock pollen has increased to levels comparable to the 1200 AD peak, and the outlet glacier has retreated 1.4 km to the location of the 1470 AD logs. At Cascade Lake, sediment traps installed for 2 yr collected 77% less BSi when spring and summer temperatures were lower, suggesting that BSi flux in the lake is related to growing-season conditions. BSi was at its minimum early during the first millennium AD. It peaked around 700 AD, then decreased during the next 400 yr. BSi flux was relatively constant until the 19th century when it decreased to near-minima values, then attained its highest values of the last 2000 yr late during the 20th century. BSi and hemlock pollen are probably related more strongly to summer conditions than to winter, whereas glaciers respond to a combination of winter and summer climate variability. Late Holocene moraines in the forefields of cirque glaciers around all study lakes were mapped and dated roughly with lichenometry. The moraines delimit maximum glacier positions attained late in the 19th century, when glacier snouts generally descended less than 100 m in elevation relative to their 1950-1970 positions. This limited LIA expansion, together with tree-ring and other independent evidence for decades-long LIA summer cooling of at least 0.8C in south-central Alaska, indicates a reduction in accumulation-season precipitation during the LIA. A simultaneous reduction in winter precipitation across southern Alaska is difficult to ascribe to a shift in the Aleutian Low pressure system because instrumental data show dipolar responses across this region. This implies a longer- term, more general climate forcing that supersedes inter-decadal variability in the Aleutian Low.

  1. The break-up of a lacustrine floating ice tongue, Yakutat Glacier, Southeast Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Truessel, B.; Truffer, M.; Motyka, R. J.; Larsen, C. F.

    2012-12-01

    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 4.070.03 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.

  2. Iceberg calving during transition from grounded to floating ice: Columbia Glacier, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Walter, Fabian; O'Neel, Shad; McNamara, Daniel; Pfeffer, W.T.; Bassis, Jeremy N.; Fricker, Helen Amanda

    2010-01-01

    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.

  3. Glacier ice mass fluctuations and fault instability in tectonically active Southern Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sauber, J.M.; Molnia, B.F.

    2004-01-01

    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.

  4. Twenty-first century changes in the hydrology, glaciers, and permafrost of the Susitna Basin, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bliss, A. K.; Braun, J. L.; Daanen, R. P.; Hock, R.; Liljedahl, A.; Wolken, G. J.; Zhang, J.

    2013-12-01

    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.

  5. Late Holocene glacial history of the Copper River Delta, coastal south-central Alaska, and controls on valley glacier fluctuations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barclay, David J.; Yager, Elowyn M.; Graves, Jason; Kloczko, Michael; Calkin, Parker E.

    2013-12-01

    Fluctuations of four valley glaciers in coastal south-central Alaska are reconstructed for the past two millennia. Tree-ring crossdates on 216 glacially killed stumps and logs provide the primary age control, and are integrated with glacial stratigraphy, ages of living trees on extant landforms, and historic forefield photographs to constrain former ice margin positions. Sheridan Glacier shows four distinct phases of advance: in the 530s to c.640s in the First Millennium A.D., and the 1240s to 1280s, 1510s to 1700s, and c.1810s to 1860s during the Little Ice Age (LIA). The latter two LIA advances are also recorded on the forefields of nearby Scott, Sherman and Saddlebag glaciers. Comparison of the Sheridan record with other two-millennia long tree-ring constrained valley glacier histories from south-central Alaska and Switzerland shows the same four intervals of advance. These expansions were coeval with decreases in insolation, supporting solar irradiance as the primary pacemaker for centennial-scale fluctuations of mid-latitude valley glaciers prior to the 20th century. Volcanic aerosols, coupled atmospheric-oceanic systems, and local glacier-specific effects may be important to glacier fluctuations as supplemental forcing factors, for causing decadal-scale differences between regions, and as a climatic filter affecting the magnitude of advances.

  6. Hazard assessment of the Tidal Inlet landslide and potential subsequent tsunami, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wieczorek, G.F.; Geist, E.L.; Motyka, R.J.; Jakob, M.

    2007-01-01

    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.

  7. Modeling energy balance and melt layer formation on the Kahiltna Glacier, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Winski, D. A.; Kreutz, K. J.; Osterberg, E. C.; Campbell, S. W.; Denali Ice Core Team

    2010-12-01

    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 models 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.

  8. Preliminary assessment of landslide-induced wave hazards, Tidal Inlet, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wieczorek, Gerald F.; Jakob, Matthias; Motyka, Roman J.; Zirnheld, Sandra L.; Craw, Patricia

    2003-01-01

    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.

  9. Glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hambrey, Michael; Alean, Jürg

    2004-12-01

    Glaciers are among the most beautiful natural wonders on Earth, as well as the least known and understood, for most of us. Michael Hambrey describes how glaciers grow and decay, move and influence human civilization. Currently covering a tenth of the Earth's surface, glacier ice has shaped the landscape over millions of years by scouring away rocks and transporting and depositing debris far from its source. Glacier meltwater drives turbines and irrigates deserts, and yields mineral-rich soils as well as a wealth of valuable sand and gravel. However, glaciers also threaten human property and life. Our future is indirectly connected with the fate of glaciers and their influence on global climate and sea level. Including over 200 stunning photographs, the book takes the reader from the High-Arctic through North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, New Zealand and South America to the Antarctic. Michael Hambrey is Director of the Centre for Glaciology at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. A past recipient of the Polar Medal, he was also given the Earth Science Editors' Outstanding Publication Award for the first edition of Glaciers (Cambridge, 1995). Hambrey is also the author of Glacial Environments (British Columbia, 1994). JÜrg Alean is Professor of Geography at the Kantonsschule ZÜrcher Unterland in BÜlach, Switzerland.

  10. Spatial distribution of glacial erosion rates in the St. Elias range, Alaska, inferred from a realistic model of glacier dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Headley, Rachel; Hallet, Bernard; Roe, Gerard; Waddington, Edwin D.; Rignot, Eric

    2012-09-01

    Glaciers have been principal erosional agents in many orogens throughout much of the recent geological past. A modern example is the St. Elias Mountains in southeastern Alaska; it is a highly convergent, complex orogen, which has been glaciated for much of its history. We examine the Seward-Malaspina Glacier system, which comprises two of the largest temperate glaciers in the world. We focus on the pattern of erosion within its narrow passage through the St. Elias Mountains, the Seward Throat. Measured glacier surface velocities and elevations provide constraints for a full-stress numerical flowband model that enables us to quantitatively determine the glacier thickness profile, which is not easily measured on temperate glaciers, and the basal characteristics relevant for erosion. These characteristics at the bed, namely the water pressure, normal and shear stresses, and sliding velocity, are then used to infer the spatial variation in erosion rates using several commonly invoked erosion laws. The calculations show that the geometry of the glacier basin exerts a far stronger control on the spatial variation of erosion rates than does the equilibrium line altitude, which is often assumed to be important in studies of glaciated orogens. The model provides a quantitative basis for understanding why erosion rates are highest around the Seward Throat, which is generally consistent with local and large-scale geological observations and thermochronologic evidence. Moreover, model results suggest how glacier characteristics could be used to infer zones of active or recent uplift in ice-mantled orogens.

  11. Glacier fluctuations in the Kenai Fjords, Alaska, U.S.A.: An evaluation of controls on Iceberg-calving glaciers

    SciTech Connect

    Wiles, G.C.; Calkin, P.E.; Post, A.

    1995-08-01

    The histories of four iceberg-calving outlet-glacier systems in the Kenai Fjords National Park underscore the importance of fiord depth, sediment supply, and fiord geometry on glacier stability. These parameters, in turn, limit the reliability of calving glacier chronologies as records of climatic change. Tree-ring analysis together with radiocarbon dating show that the Northwestern and McCarty glaciers, with large drainage basins, were advancing in concert with nearby land-terminating glaciers about A.D. 600. After an interval of retreat and possible nonclimatically induced extension during the Medieval Warm Period, these ice margins advanced again through the Little Ice Age and then retreated synchronously with the surrounding land-terminating glaciers about A.D. 1900. In contrast, Holgate and Aialik glaciers, with deeper fiords and smaller basins, retreated about 300 yr earlier. Reconstructions of Little Ice Age glaciers suggest that equilibrium-line altitudes of Northwestern and McCarty glaciers were, respectively, 270 and 500 m lower than now. Furthermore, the reconstructions show that these two glaciers were climatically sensitive when at their terminal moranies. However, with ice margins at their present recessional positions and accumulation area ratios between 0.8 and 0.9, only McCarty Glacier shows evidence of advance. Aialik and Holgate glaciers were climatically insensitive during the Little Ice Age maxima and remain insensitive to climate. 40 refs., 7 figs., 2 tabs.

  12. Spatial variation of glacial erosion rates in the St. Elias range, Alaska, inferred from a realistic model of glacier dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Headley, R. M.; Hallet, B.; Roe, G.; Waddington, E. D.

    2011-12-01

    Glaciers have been principal erosional agents in many tectonically active orogens throughout much of the recent geological past. The St. Elias Mountains in southeastern Alaska are a surface expression of a highly convergent, complex orogen that was likely glaciated for much of its history. We examine the Seward-Malaspina Glacier system, part of one of the largest temperate glacier systems in the world, and focus on the Seward Throat, which is a narrow passage of the glacier through the St. Elias Mountains. It is within this region that we examine the pattern of erosion where ice velocities are exceptionally high. The glacier surface velocities and elevations, which are known, provide constraints for a numerical, full-stress flowband model that enables us to infer the glacier thickness, which is not easily measured on temperate glaciers, and the corresponding sliding velocity and other basal properties. This in turn allows us to produce one of the first studies of the current spatial distribution of erosion under an active glacier; erosion rates are inferred using the flow model guided by glaciological observations and several commonly invoked erosion laws that depend upon the sliding velocity and basal shear stress. The spatial variation of current erosion rates is strongly controlled by the geometry of the glacier and less influenced by other factors, such as the equilibrium line altitude or the choice of erosion law. Inferred erosion rates are highest within the narrow, central portion of the Seward Throat, consistent with both local and regional geological observations. The numerical model used in conjunction with surface glaciological measurements is a powerful tool for investigating ice thickness, basal properties, and the spatial variation of glacial erosion rates for many temperate glaciers, where little is known aside from surface properties. The glaciological data and model results have potential use for inferring local regions of active uplift in the vicinity of the Seward Throat and for investigating the role of glacial erosion within the broader tectonic setting of the St. Elias Mountains.

  13. Using surface velocities to calculate ice thickness and bed topography: A case study at Columbia Glacier, Alaska, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McNabb, R.W.; Hock, R.; O'Neel, Shad; Rasmussen, L.A.; Ahn, Y.; Braun, M.; Conway, H.; Herreid, S.; Joughin, I.; Pfeffer, W.T.; Smith, B.E.; Truffer, M.

    2012-01-01

    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 19572007, 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.

  14. Monitoring population status of sea otters (Enhydra lutris) in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska: options and considerations

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Esslinger, George; Esler, Daniel N.; Howlin, S.; Starcevich, L.A.

    2015-01-01

    After many decades of absence from southeast Alaska, sea otters (Enhydra lutris) are recolonizing parts of their former range, including Glacier Bay, Alaska. Sea otters are well known for structuring nearshore ecosystems and causing community-level changes such as increases in kelp abundance and changes in the size and number of other consumers. Monitoring population status of sea otters in Glacier Bay will help park researchers and managers understand and interpret sea otter-induced ecosystem changes relative to other sources of variation, including potential human-induced impacts such as ocean acidification, vessel disturbance, and oil spills. This report was prepared for the National Park Service (NPS), Southeast Alaska Inventory and Monitoring Network following a request for evaluation of options for monitoring sea otter population status in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. To meet this request, we provide a detailed consideration of the primary method of assessment of abundance and distribution, aerial surveys, including analyses of power to detect interannual trends and designs to reduce variation around annual abundance estimates. We also describe two alternate techniques for evaluating sea otter population status(1) quantifying sea otter diets and energy intake rates, and (2) detecting change in ages at death. In addition, we provide a brief section on directed research to identify studies that would further our understanding of sea otter population dynamics and effects on the Glacier Bay ecosystem, and provide context for interpreting results of monitoring activities.

  15. Community structure of culturable bacteria on surface of Gulkana Glacier, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Segawa, Takahiro; Yoshimura, Yoshitaka; Watanabe, Kenichi; Kanda, Hiroshi; Kohshima, Shiro

    2011-04-01

    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.

  16. Marine benthic habitat mapping of the West Arm, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hodson, Timothy O.; Cochrane, Guy R.; Powell, Ross D.

    2013-01-01

    Seafloor geology and potential benthic habitats were mapped in West Arm, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska, using multibeam sonar, groundtruthed observations, and geological interpretations. The West Arm of Glacier Bay is a recently deglaciated fjord system 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 recently developed Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS) by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NatureServe. Due to the high flux of glacially sourced fines, mud is the dominant substrate within the West Arm. Water-column characteristics are addressed using a combination of CTD and circulation model results. We also present sediment accumulation data derived from differential bathymetry. These data show the West Arm is divided into two contrasting environments: a dynamic upper fjord and a relatively static lower fjord. The results of these analyses serve as a test of the CMECS classification scheme and as a baseline for ongoing and future mapping efforts and correlations between seafloor substrate, benthic habitats, and glacimarine processes.

  17. Bedload component of glacially discharged sediment: Insights from the Matanuska Glacier, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pearce, J.T.; Pazzaglia, F.J.; Evenson, E.B.; Lawson, D.E.; Alley, R.B.; Germanoski, D.; Denner, J.D.

    2003-01-01

    The flux of glacially derived bedload and the proportions of the suspended and bedload components carried by proglacial streams are highly debated. Published data indicate a large range-from 75%-in the bedload percentage of the total load. Two "vents," where supercooled subglacial meltwater and sediment are discharged, were sampled over the course of an entire melt season in order to quantify the flux of glacially delivered bedload at the Matanuska Glacier, Alaska. The bedload component contributed by these vents, for the one melt season monitored, is negligible. Furthermore, the bedload fluxes appear to be strongly supply limited, as shown by the poorly correlated discharge, bedload-flux magnitude, and grain-size caliber. Thus, in this case, any attempt to employ a predictive quantitative expression for coarse-sediment production based on discharge alone would be inaccurate. A nonglaciated basin proximal to the Matanuska Glacier terminus yielded higher bedload sediment fluxes and larger clast sizes than delivered by the two monitored vents. Such nonglaciated basins should not be overlooked as potentially major sources of coarse bedload that is reworked and incorporated into valley outwash.

  18. Columbia Glacier, Alaska recent ice loss and its relationship to seasonal terminal embayments, thinning and glacial flow

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sikonia, W.G.; Post, Austin

    1980-01-01

    In 1974 the U.S. Geological Survey began an intensive investigation of the stability of Columbia Glacier, a calving tidewater galcier terminating in Columbia Bay, near Valdez, Alaska. Aerial photographs taken in 1957 and a sequence of photographs taken at about 2-month intervals since 1976, when analyzed photogrammetrically, provided detailed data on changes in Columbia Glacier 's thickness, flow rate, and terminal position. Annual embayments in the glacier 's terminus form during the summer-autumn season in most years; the size of embayments appears to be related to (1) the thickness of the glacier, and (2) the position and nature of subglacial freshwater discharge. Embayments have apparently increased in size in recent years; the largest embayments yet observed formed in 1975, 1976, 1977, and 1978. From April 1, 1977, to April 1, 1978, the total volume of ice calved was about 1.0 cubic kilometer. By January 1979 the glacier front had retreated from Heather Island. Glacier flow varies seasonally and synchronously in the lower 17 kilometers of the glacier; large accelerations occur near the terminus in response to embayment formation. Daily speed within 5 kilometers of the terminus increased from about 1.9 meters per day between 1963 and 1968 to about 2.7 meters per day between 1977 and 1978. In the lowest 15 kilometers, the glacier surface was lowered about 9 meters between 1957 and 1974, and about 13 meters between 1974 and 1978. Columbia Glacier is being reduced in mass due, in part, to recent losses caused by large embayments forming annually. If such reduction continues it will result in a drastic retreat. (USGS)

  19. Hydrography and circulation of ice-marginal lakes at Bering Glacier, Alaska, U.S.A.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Josberger, E.G.; Shuchman, R.A.; Meadows, G.A.; Savage, S.; Payne, J.

    2006-01-01

    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.

  20. Imaging evidence for Hubbard Glacier advances and retreats since the last glacial maximum in Yakutat and Disenchantment Bays, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zurbuchen, Julie M.; Gulick, Sean P. S.; Walton, Maureen A. L.; Goff, John A.

    2015-06-01

    High-resolution 2-D multichannel seismic data, collected during the 2012 UTIG-USGS National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program survey of Disenchantment and Yakutat Bays in southeast Alaska, provide insight into their glacial history. These data show evidence of two unconformities, appearing in the form of channels, and are interpreted to be advance pathways for Hubbard Glacier. The youngest observable channel, thought to have culminated near the main phase of the Little Ice Age (LIA), is imaged in Disenchantment Bay and ends at a terminal moraine near Blizhni Point. An older channel, thought to be from an advance that culminated in the early phase of the LIA, extends from Disenchantment Bay into the northeastern edge of Yakutat Bay, turning southward at Knight Island and terminating on the southeastern edge of Yakutat Bay. Our interpretation is that 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 central Yakutat Bay during times of mutual advance. We observe two distinct erosional surfaces and retreat sequences of Hubbard Glacier in Yakutat Bay, supporting the hypothesis that minor glacial advances in fjords do not erode all prior sediment accumulations. Interpretation of chaotic seismic facies between these two unconformities suggests that Hubbard Glacier exhibits rapid retreats and that Disenchantment Bay is subject to numerous episodes of outburst flooding and morainal bank collapse. These findings also suggest that tidewater glaciers preferentially reoccupy the same channels in bay and marine settings during advances.

  1. Discovery of 100-160-year-old iceberg gouges and their relation to halibut habitat in Glacier Bay, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Carlson, P.R.; Hooge, P.N.; Cochrane, G.R.

    2005-01-01

    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.

  2. High-Resolution Modeling of Freshwater Discharge and Glacier Mass Balance in the Gulf of Alaska Drainage

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beamer, J. P.; Hill, D. F.; Arendt, A. A.; Liston, G. E.; Hood, E. W.

    2014-12-01

    A comprehensive study of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) hydrology has been carried out in order to improve understanding of the coastal freshwater discharge (FWD) magnitude and spatial distribution, and mass changes from GOA glaciers. FWD along the coastline and surface mass balance (SMB) for all glacier surfaces in the GOA drainage were modeled using a suite of physically-based, spatially distributed weather, energy-balance snow/ice melt, and runoff-routing models at a high resolution (1-km horizontal grid; 3-h time step). SnowModel simulations of air temperature, precipitation, surface runoff, and glacier SMB were completed for the entire GOA drainage from 1979-2009. HydroFlow was used to route the SnowModel-derived runoff to the GOA coastline. Meteorological forcing was provided by the North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) dataset. The NARR data was bias-corrected using monthly gridded climate data to more accurately reflect the strong spatial gradients in air temperature and precipitation, while retaining the temporal attributes of NARR. The most recent version of the Alaska Glacier Inventory was used to define the glacier cover for the model simulations. The modeling system was validated and calibrated in several glaciated catchments containing long-term streamflow and glacier mass balance datasets, as well as several non-glaciated catchments with only streamflow data. The overall GOA mean annual FWD volumes from HydroFlow agree well with previous estimates. Glacier SMB simulated by SnowModel from 2004-2009 produced seasonal storage changes and long term trends consistent with GRACE satellite-based estimates. Both SnowModel and GRACE data suggest a negative SMB trend which indicates that recent glacier volume loss contributes significantly to GOA FWD. The final product of this study is a 30-year record of daily streamflow at every coastal grid cell (1-km resolution) in the GOA drainage, which includes the runoff signal from glacier melt and volume loss. This information is valuable to physical oceanographers and ecologists studying marine systems in the GOA.

  3. Air temperature and precipitation data, Gulkana Glacier, Alaska, 1968-96

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kennedy, Ben W.; Mayo, Lawrence R.; Trabant, Dennis C.; March, Rod S.

    1997-01-01

    Daily, monthly, and annual average air temperature and precipitation-catch data were recorded at Gulkana Glacier basin, Alaska, between October 1967 and September 1996. The data set is important because it provides long-term climate information from the highest year-round climatological recording site in Alaska. The daily air temperature data set is 96 percent complete. The daily precipitation data set is 83 percent complete; precipitation data for 1993-96 are missing. Annual data summaries are calculated for each hydrologic year, October 1 through September 30, for years that have 12 months of data. Monthly precipitation-catch and average air temperature summaries are calculated for months with nine or fewer daily records missing. The average annual air temperature recorded at the site from hydrologic year 1968 through 1996 was -4.1 degrees Celsius. The coldest recorded year was 1972 with an average annual temperature of -6.7 degrees Celsius. The warmest year was 1981 with an average annual temperature of -2.6 degrees Celsius. January 1971 was the coldest month with an average temperature of -20.8 degrees Celsius. July 1989 was the warmest month with an average temperature of 8.7 degrees Celsius. January 17, 1971, was the coldest day with an average temperature of -35.0 degrees Celsius. June 15, 1969, was the warmest day with an average temperature of 16.4 degrees Celsius. The average annual precipitation catch recorded at the site from hydrologic year 1968 through 1992 was 1,020 millimeters. The highest annual precipitation catch recorded was 1,572 millimeters in 1981; the lowest was 555 millimeters in 1969. The highest recorded monthly precipitation catch was 448 millimeters in July 1981 and in several different months no precipitation was recorded. The highest daily precipitation catch was 99 millimeters on September 12, 1972, and on many different dates no precipitation was recorded. Because of low gage-catch efficiency the reported annual precipitation-catch data are estimated to represent about 62 percent of the actual annual basin precipitation. Snowfall is the dominant form of precipitation on the glacier from September through mid-June.

  4. Tree-ring dates on two pre-Little Ice Age advances in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wiles, Gregory C.; Lawson, Daniel E.; Lyon, Eva; Wiesenberg, Nicholas; D'Arrigo, R. D.

    2011-09-01

    Two interstadial tree ring-width chronologies from Geikie Inlet, Glacier Bay Southeast, Alaska were built from 40 logs. One of these chronologies has been calendar dated to AD 224-999 (775 yr) crossdating with a living ring-width chronology from Prince William Sound, Alaska. Trees in this chronology were likely killed through inundation by sediments and meltwater from the advancing Geikie Glacier and its tributaries ca. AD 850. The earlier tree-ring chronology spans 545 yr and is a floating ring-width series tied to radiocarbon ages of about 3000 cal yr BP. This tree-ring work indicates two intervals of glacial expansion by the Geikie Glacier system toward the main trunk glacier in Glacier Bay between 3400 and 3000 cal yr BP and again about AD 850. The timing of both expansions is consistent with patterns of ice advance at tidewater glaciers in other parts of Alaska and British Columbia about the same time, and with a relative sea-level history from just outside Glacier Bay in Icy Strait. This emerging tree-ring dated history builds on previous radiocarbon-based glacial histories and is the first study to use tree-ring dating to assign calendar dates to glacial activity for Glacier Bay.

  5. Muir Glacier in Glacier Bay National Monument 1941

    USGS Multimedia Gallery

    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...

  6. Evaluate ERTS imagery for mapping and detection of changes of snowcover on land and on glaciers. [Cascade Range, Washington and Tweedsmuir Glacier, Alaska

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Meier, M. F. (Principal Investigator)

    1974-01-01

    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.

  7. Role of lake regulation on glacier fed rivers in enhancing salmon productivity: The Cook Inlet watershed south central Alaska, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hupp, C.R.

    2000-01-01

    Rivers fed by glaciers constitute a major part of the freshwater runoff into the Cook Inlet basin of south-central Alaska. This basin is very important to the economy of the State of Alaska because it is home to more than half of the population and it supports multi-million dollar commercial, subsistence and sport fisheries. Hence an understanding of how glacial runoff influences biological productivity is important for managing rivers that drain into Cook Inlet. This paper examines the ways in which the regulation of glacier-fed rivers by proglacial lakes affects salmon productivity, with particular reference to the Kenai River. Salmon escapement per unit channel length on the Kenai River is between two and ten times that found for rain-and-snowmelt dominated rivers and glacier-fed rivers lacking lake regulation. Lakes are shown to influence biological processes in glacier-fed rivers by attenuating peak flows, sustaining high flows throughout the summer, supplementing winter low flows, settling suspended sediment, and increasing river temperatures. Downstream from large lakes, glacier-fed rivers are less disturbed, channels are relatively stable and have well-developed salmonid habitats. The positive influences are indicated by the high diversity and abundances of benthic macroinvertebrates, which are important food resources for juvenile salmonids. High summer flows allow access for up-river salmon runs and lakes also provide both overwintering and rearing habitat. Copyright ?? 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.Rivers fed by glaciers constitute a major part of the freshwater runoff into the Cook Inlet basin of south-central Alaska. This basin is very important to the economy of the State of Alaska because it is home to more than half of the population and it supports multi-million dollar commercial, subsistence and sport fisheries. Hence an understanding of how glacial runoff influences biological productivity is important for managing rivers that drain into Cook Inlet. This paper examines the ways in which the regulation of glacier-fed rivers by proglacial lakes affects salmon productivity, with particular reference to the Kenai River. Salmon escapement per unit channel length on the Kenai River is between two and ten times that found for rain-and-snowmelt dominated rivers and glacier-fed rivers lacking lake regulation. Lakes are shown to influence biological processes in glacier-fed rivers by attenuating peak flows, sustaining high flows throughout the summer, supplementing winter low flows, settling suspended sediment, and increasing river temperatures. Downstream from large lakes, glacier-fed rivers are less disturbed, channels are relatively stable and have well-developed salmonid habitats. The positive influences are indicated by the high diversity and abundances of benthic macroinvertebrates, which are important food resources for juvenile salmonids. High summer flows allow access for up-river salmon runs and lakes also provide both overwintering and rearing habitat.

  8. The Neoglacial landscape and human history of Glacier Bay, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, southeast Alaska, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Connor, C.; Streveler, G.; Post, A.; Monteith, D.; Howell, W.

    2009-01-01

    The Neoglacial landscape of the Huna Tlingit homeland in Glacier Bay is recreated through new interpretations of the lower Bay's fjordal geomorphology, late Quaternary geology and its ethnographic landscape. Geological interpretation is enhanced by 38 radiocarbon dates compiled from published and unpublished sources, as well as 15 newly dated samples. Neoglacial changes in ice positions, outwash and lake extents are reconstructed for c. 5500?????"200 cal. yr ago, and portrayed as a set of three landscapes at 1600?????"1000, 500?????"300 and 300?????"200 cal. yr ago. This history reveals episodic ice advance towards the Bay mouth, transforming it from a fjordal seascape into a terrestrial environment dominated by glacier outwash sediments and ice-marginal lake features. This extensive outwash plain was building in lower Glacier Bay by at least 1600 cal. yr ago, and had filled the lower bay by 500 cal. yr ago. The geologic landscape evokes the human-described landscape found in the ethnographic literature. Neoglacial climate and landscape dynamism created difficult but endurable environmental conditions for the Huna Tlingit people living there. Choosing to cope with environmental hardship was perhaps preferable to the more severely deteriorating conditions outside of the Bay as well as conflicts with competing groups. The central portion of the outwash plain persisted until it was overridden by ice moving into Icy Strait between AD 1724?????"1794. This final ice advance was very abrupt after a prolonged still-stand, evicting the Huna Tlingit from their Glacier Bay homeland. ?? 2009 SAGE Publications.

  9. Quantifying periglacial erosion: Insights on a glacial sediment budget, Matanuska Glacier, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    O'Farrell, C. R.; Heimsath, A.M.; Lawson, D.E.; Jorgensen, L.M.; Evenson, E.B.; Larson, G.; Denner, J.

    2009-01-01

    Glacial erosion rates are estimated to be among the highest in the world. Few studies have attempted, however, to quantify the flux of sediment from the periglacial landscape to a glacier. Here, erosion rates from the nonglacial landscape above the Matanuska Glacier, Alaska are presented and compare with an 8-yr record of proglacial suspended sediment yield. Non-glacial lowering rates range from 1??8 ?? 0??5 mm yr-1 to 8??5 ?? 3??4 mm yr-1 from estimates of rock fall and debris-flow fan volumes. An average erosion rate of 0??08 ?? 0??04 mm yr-1 from eight convex-up ridge crests was determined using in situ produced cosmogenic 10Be. Extrapolating these rates, based on landscape morphometry, to the Matanuska basin (58% ice-cover), it was found that nonglacial processes account for an annual sediment flux of 2??3 ?? 1??0 ?? 106 t. Suspended sediment data for 8 years and an assumed bedload to estimate the annual sediment yield at the Matanuska terminus to be 2??9 ?? 1??0 ?? 106 t, corresponding to an erosion rate of 1??8 ?? 0??6 mm yr-1: nonglacial sources therefore account for 80 ?? 45% of the proglacial yield. A similar set of analyses were used for a small tributary sub-basin (32% ice-cover) to determine an erosion rate of 12??1 ?? 6??9 mm yr-1, based on proglacial sediment yield, with the nonglacial sediment flux equal to 10 ?? 7% of the proglacial yield. It is suggested that erosion rates by nonglacial processes are similar to inferred subglacial rates, such that the ice-free regions of a glaciated landscape contribute significantly to the glacial sediment budget. The similar magnitude of nonglacial and glacial rates implies that partially glaciated landscapes will respond rapidly to changes in climate and base level through a rapid nonglacial response to glacially driven incision. ?? 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

  10. Iceberg calving as a primary source of regional?scale glacier?generated seismicity in the St. Elias Mountains, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    O'Neel, Shad; Larsen, Christopher F.; Rupert, Natalia; Hansen, Roger

    2010-01-01

    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.

  11. Flow Dynamics from Elevation Changes on the Malaspina-Seward Glacier System, Alaska-Yukon, using High Resolution Airborne and SRTM InSAR-Derived DEMs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Muskett, R. R.; Lingle, C. S.; Rabus, B. T.; Tangborn, W. V.

    2003-12-01

    The Malaspina piedmont glacier, with an area of 2400 km2 (Post and LaChapelle, 2000), includes the Agassiz and Marvine Glaciers to the west and east, respectively, of the central Seward Lobe. Upper Seward Glacier, mostly in Yukon, Canada, is a broad icefield that forms the main accumulation area of Malaspina Glacier. Mt. Irving nunatak divides Upper Seward into western and eastern halves. Lower Seward Glacier, mostly in Alaska, connects Upper Seward to Malaspina Glacier. The combined Malaspina-Seward glacier system, including all tributaries, has a total area of about 5,000 km2 (Molnia, 2001). The glaciers of the Malaspina system are characterized by complex flow dynamics, including quasi-periodic surging and pulsating flow. High-resolution DEMs produced from airborne and spaceborne single-pass X-Band InSAR by Intermap Technologies, Inc. (August 2002) and the German Aerospace Center (from the NASA Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, February 2000), respectively, are used to derive short-term surface elevation changes. An adjustment for systematic error in the SRTM DEM is applied. Snow depth vs. altitude is estimated using the mass balance model of Tangborn (1999) on these glaciers from Sept. 1999 to Feb. 2000, and is used to adjust the SRTM DEM to a late summer 1999 level. During the 3-year 1999 to 2002 time period, the Seward Lobe of Malaspina thinned over its eastern half, while the western half thickened by about 10 +/- 1 m on average. This suggests that the main flow direction has changed from southeast, the direction of a major surge in 1987-88 (A. Post, pers. comm.), to southwest. Surges in alternate directions have been hypothesized by A. Post (pers. comm.) as the cause of the intricately folded moraines on Malaspina Glacier. Marvine Glacier, which surged in 2000 (K. Echelmeyer, pers. comm.), shows thickening in its ablation area of up to 60 +/- 1 m and thinning in its accumulation area of up to 60 +/- 1 m. The 3-year mean surface lowering on Agassiz, Malaspina (Seward Lobe), Lower Seward, Marvine and Hayden Glaciers, including a -3.2 m adjustment of the SRTM heights for systematic error, was about 2.7 +/- 1 m, or 0.9 +/- 0.4 m yr-1. References Molnia, B., Glaciers of Alaska, Alaska Geographic, 28 (2), 2001. Post, A., and E. LaChapelle, Glacier Ice, University of Washington Press, Seattle, 2000. Tangborn, W.V., A mass-balance model that uses low-altitude meterological observations and the altitude area of a glacier, Geograf. Ann., 81(A), 753-765, 1999.

  12. Columbia Glacier Terminus

    USGS Multimedia Gallery

    View of Columbia Glacier's terminus as it enters the waters of Prince William Sound. Columbia Glacier is one of Alaska's many tidewater glaciers, and it has been the focus of numerous studies due to its unusually high rate of retreat. The glacier has retreated nearly 20 km (12.43 mi) since 1980. In ...

  13. Alaska: Glaciers of Kenai Fjords National Park and Katmai National Park and Preserve

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Giffens, Bruce A.; Hall, Dorothy K.; Chien, Janet Y. L.

    2014-01-01

    There are hundreds of glaciers in Kenai Fjords National Park (KEFJ) and Katmai National Park and Preserve (KATM) covering over 2,276 sq km of park land (ca. 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 from2000. 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 (from19861987 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,TM, or ETM sensors. Similar glacier mapping efforts in western Canada estimate mapping errors of 34. Measurements were also collected from a suite of glaciers in KEFJ and KATM detailing terminus positions and rates of recession using datasets including 15 min USGS quadrangle maps(19501951), Landsat imagery (19861987, 2000,2006), and 2005 IKONOS imagery (KEFJ only).

  14. Alaska: Glaciers of Kenai Fjords National Park and Katmai and Lake Clark National Parks and Preserve

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Giffen, bruce A.; Hall, Dorothy K.; Chien, Janet Y. L.

    2011-01-01

    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).

  15. Early retreat of the Alaska Peninsula Glacier Complex and the implications for coastal migrations of First Americans

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Misarti, Nicole; Finney, Bruce P.; Jordan, James W.; Maschner, Herbert D. G.; Addison, Jason A.; Shapley, Mark D.; Krumhardt, Andrea; Beget, James E.

    2012-08-01

    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.

  16. McCall Glacier record of Arctic climate change: Interpreting a northern Alaska ice core with regional water isotopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Klein, E. S.; Nolan, M.; McConnell, J.; Sigl, M.; Cherry, J.; Young, J.; Welker, J. M.

    2016-01-01

    We explored modern precipitation and ice core isotope ratios to better understand both modern and paleo climate in the Arctic. Paleoclimate reconstructions require an understanding of how modern synoptic climate influences proxies used in those reconstructions, such as water isotopes. Therefore we measured periodic precipitation samples at Toolik Lake Field Station (Toolik) in the northern foothills of the Brooks Range in the Alaskan Arctic to determine δ18O and δ2H. We applied this multi-decadal local precipitation δ18O/temperature regression to ∼65 years of McCall Glacier (also in the Brooks Range) ice core isotope measurements and found an increase in reconstructed temperatures over the late-20th and early-21st centuries. We also show that the McCall Glacier δ18O isotope record is negatively correlated with the winter bidecadal North Pacific Index (NPI) climate oscillation. McCall Glacier deuterium excess (d-excess, δ2H - 8*δ18O) values display a bidecadal periodicity coherent with the NPI and suggest shifts from more southwestern Bering Sea moisture sources with less sea ice (lower d-excess values) to more northern Arctic Ocean moisture sources with more sea ice (higher d-excess values). Northern ice covered Arctic Ocean McCall Glacier moisture sources are associated with weak Aleutian Low (AL) circulation patterns and the southern moisture sources with strong AL patterns. Ice core d-excess values significantly decrease over the record, coincident with warmer temperatures and a significant reduction in Alaska sea ice concentration, which suggests that ice free northern ocean waters are increasingly serving as terrestrial precipitation moisture sources; a concept recently proposed by modeling studies and also present in Greenland ice core d-excess values during previous transitions to warm periods. This study also shows the efficacy and importance of using ice cores from Arctic valley glaciers in paleoclimate reconstructions.

  17. Mendenhall Glacier (Juneau, Alaska) icequake seismicity and its relationship to the 2012 outburst flood and other environmental forcing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morgan, P. M.; Walter, J. I.; Peng, Z.; Amundson, J. M.; Meng, X.

    2013-12-01

    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.

  18. Gulkana Glacier, Alaska-Mass balance, meteorology, and water measurements, 1997-2001

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    March, Rod S.; O'Neel, Shad

    2011-01-01

    The measured winter snow, maximum winter snow, net, and annual balances for 1997-2001 in the Gulkana Glacier basin are determined at specific points and over the entire glacier area using the meteorological, hydrological, and glaciological data. We provide descriptions of glacier geometry to aid in estimation of conventional and reference surface mass balances and descriptions of ice motion to aid in the understanding of the glacier's response to its changing geometry. These data provide annual estimates for area altitude distribution, equilibrium line altitude, and accumulation area ratio during the study interval. New determinations of historical area altitude distributions are given for 1900 and annually from 1966 to 2001. As original weather instrumentation is nearing the end of its deployment lifespan, we provide new estimates of overlap comparisons and precipitation catch efficiency. During 1997-2001, Gulkana Glacier showed a continued and accelerated negative mass balance trend, especially below the equilibrium line altitude where thinning was pronounced. Ice motion also slowed, which combined with the negative mass balance, resulted in glacier retreat under a warming climate. Average annual runoff augmentation by glacier shrinkage for 1997-2001 was 25 percent compared to the previous average of 13 percent, in accordance with the measured glacier volume reductions.

  19. Lithofacies and seismic-reflection interpretation of temperate glacimarine sedimentation in Tarr Inlet, Glacier Bay, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cai, J.; Powell, R.D.; Cowan, E.A.; Carlson, P.R.

    1997-01-01

    High-resolution seismic-reflection profiles of sediment fill within Tart 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 associations, and fjord-floor morphology allow us to divide the fjord into three sedimentary environments: ice-proximal, iceberg-zone and ice-distal. The ice-proximal environment, characterized by a morainal-bank depositional system, can be subdivided into bank-back, bank-core and bank-front subenvironments, each of which is characterized by a different depositional subsystem. A bank-back subsystem shows chaotic seismic facies with a mounded surface, which we infer consists mainly of unsorted diamicton and poorly sorted coarse-grained sediments. A bank-core depositional subsystem is a mixture of diamicton, rubble, gravel, sand and mud. Seismic-reflection records of this subsystem are characterized by chaotic seismic facies with abundant hyperbolic diffractions and a hummocky surface. A bank-front depositional subsystem consists of mainly stratified and massive sand, and is characterized by internal hummocky facies on seismic-reflection records with significant surface relief and sediment gravity flow channels. The depositional system formed in the iceberg-zone environment consists of rhythmically laminated mud interbedded with thin beds of weakly stratified diamicton and stratified or massive sand and silt. On seismic-reflection profiles, this depositional system is characterized by discontinuously stratified facies with multiple channels on the surface in the proximal zone and a single channel on the largely flat sediment surface in the distal zone. The depositional system formed in the ice-distal environment consists of interbedded homogeneous or laminated mud and massive or stratified sand and coarse silt. This depositional system shows continuously stratified seismic facies with smooth and flat surfaces on minisparker records, and continuously stratified seismic facies which are interlayered with thin weakly stratified facies on Huntec records.

  20. The potential of lidar imaging for ecosystem mapping in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kidd, Chris; Klaar, Megan; Larsen, Chris; Malone, Edward; Milner, Alexander

    2014-05-01

    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.

  1. ASTER and Ground Observations of Vegetation Primary Succession and Habitat Development near Retreating Glaciers in Alaska and Nepal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kargel, J. S.; Leonard, G. J.; Furfaro, R.

    2011-12-01

    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.

  2. Evaluate ERTS imagery for mapping and detection of changes of snowcover on land and on glaciers. [Washington, Alaska, British Columbia, and U.S.S.R.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Meier, M. F. (principal investigator)

    1973-01-01

    The author has identified the following significant results. The standard error of measurement of snow covered areas in major drainage basins in the Cascade Range, Washington, using single measurements of ERTS-1 images, was found to range from 11% to 7% during a typical melt season, but was as high as 32% in midwinter. Many dangerous glacier situations in Alaska, Yukon, and British Columbia were observed on ERTS-1 imagery. Glacier dammed lakes in Alaska are being monitored by ERTS-1. Embayments in tidal glaciers show changes detectable by ERTS-1. Surges of Russell and Tweedsmuir Glaciers, now in progress, are clearly visible. The Tweedsmuir surge is likely to dam the large Alsek River by mid-November, producing major floods down-river next summer. An ERTS-1 image of the Pamir Mountains, Tadjik S.S.R., shows the surging Medvezhii (Bear) Glacier just after its surge of early summer which dammed the Abdukagor Valley creating a huge lake and later a flood in the populous Vanch River Valley. A map was compiled from an ERTS-1 image of the Lowell Glacier after its recent surge, compared with an earlier map compiled from pain-stakingly compiled from a mosaic of many aerial photographs, in a total elapsed time of 1.5 hours. This demonstrates the value of ERTS-1 for rapid mapping of large features.

  3. Tracking seasonal subglacial drainage evolution of alpine glaciers using radiogenic Nd and Sr isotope systematics: Lemon Creek Glacier, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clinger, A. E.; Aciego, S.; Stevenson, E. I.; Arendt, C. A.

    2014-12-01

    The transport pathways of water beneath a glacier are subject to change as melt seasons progress due to variability in the balance between basal water pressure and water flux. Subglacial hydrology has been well studied, but the understanding of spatial distribution is less well constrained. Whereas radiogenic isotopic tracers have been traditionally used as proxies to track spatial variability and weathering rates in fluvial and riverine systems, these techniques have yet to be applied extensively to the subglacial environment and may help resolve ambiguity in subglacial hydrology. Research has shown the 143Nd/144Nd values can reflect variation in source provenance processes due to variations in the age of the continental crust. Correlating the 143Nd/144Nd with other radiogenic isotope systematics such as strontium (87Sr/86Sr) provides important constraints on the role of congruent and incongruent weathering processes. Our study presents the application of Nd and Sr systematics using isotopic ratios to the suspended load of subglacial meltwater collected over a single melt season at Lemon Creek Glacier, USA (LCG). The time-series data show an average ɛNd ~ -6.83, indicating a young bedrock (~60 MYA). Isotopic variation helps track the seasonal expansion of the subglacial meltwater channels and subsequent return to early season conditions due to the parabolic trend towards less radiogenic Nd in June and towards more radiogenic Nd beginning in mid-August. However, the high variability in July and early August may reflect a mixture of source as the channels diverge and derive sediment from differently aged lithologies. We find a poor correlation between 143Nd/144Nd and 87Sr/86Sr (R2= 0.38) along with a slight trend towards more radiogenic 87Sr/86Sr values with time ((R2= 0.49). This may indicate that, even as the residence time decreases over the melt season, the LCG subglacial system is relatively stable and that the bedrock is congruently weathered. Our study suggests that the 143Nd/144Nd is a useful tool for tracking sediment source and hydrological dynamics in the subglacial environment.

  4. In situ and satellite-derived ablation season temperature and surface characteristics of clean and debris-covered ice at Matanuska glacier, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Casey, K.

    2012-12-01

    Outside of the ice sheets and the Himalayas, Alaska contains one of the largest masses of ice on Earth. The rapid loss of ice in Alaska in recent decades is the subject of intense investigation (Berthier et al., 2010). An under quantified factor in the understanding of ice mass loss is the role in which different surface glacier dust and debris types and thicknesses play on the ablation process. Ground-based measurements of surface temperature of several glacier debris types were collected in July 2012 at Matanuska glacier in Alaska. Wet, dry, moderately covered and cleaner ice sites were observed over a two week period. Temperatures were recorded every 20 minutes. Significant diurnal and debris type temperature variability were observed. Satellite-based shortwave and thermal infrared analysis of debris covered ice is used to estimate surface debris mineralogy. Thermal satellite data is further used to derive entire glacier surface temperatures. Terminal glacier in situ temperature observations are compared with satellite derived surface temperatures. In situ measurements are also evaluated with respect to Foster et al. (2012) physically based method for estimating surface glacier debris thickness. E. Berthier, E. Schiefer, G.K.C. Clarke, B. Menounos, F. Rmy, 2010, Contribution of Alaskan glaciers to sea-level rise derived from satellite imagery, Nature Geoscience, 3, 92-95. L.A. Foster, B.W. Brock, M.E.J. Cutler, F. Diotri, 2012, Instruments and Methods: A physically based method for estimating supraglacial debris thickness from thermal band remote-sensing data, Journal of Glaciology, 58, 210, 677-691.

  5. An integrated geospatial approach to monitoring the Bering Glacier system, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Josberger, E.G.; Payne, J.; Savage, S.; Shuchman, R.; Meadows, G.

    2004-01-01

    The Bering Glacier 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 surge of the Bering Glacier occurred in 1993-1995, since then, the glacier has undergone constant and significant retreat thereby expanding the boundaries of Vitus Lake and creating a highly dynamic system, both ecologically and hydrologically. This study utilized GIS to integrate remote sensing observations, with detailed bathymetric, hydrographic and in situ water quality measurements of the rapidly expanding Vitus Lake. Vitus Lake has nearly doubled in surface area from 58.4 km2 to 108.8 km2, with a corresponding increase in water volume from 6.1 km3 to 10.5 km3 over the same period. The remote sensing observations were used to direct a systematic bathymetric, hydrographic and water quality measurement survey in Vitus Lake which revealed a complex three dimensional structure that is the result of sea water inflow, convection generated by ice melting and the injection of fresh water from beneath the glacier.

  6. Glacier Destruction and Lahar Generation during the 2009 Eruption of Redoubt Volcano, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Waythomas, C. F.

    2010-12-01

    Two large lahars with volumes of 0.4-0.6 km3 and several smaller lahars with volumes of 0.05-0.1 km3 inundated the Drift River valley on the north flank of Redoubt Volcano during its 2009 eruption. Significant lahars were produced on March 22-23 during the initial explosive phase of the eruption following about 8 months of precursory unrest that included increased fumarolic melting of glacier ice and snow in the summit crater and upper Drift glacier. From the beginning of unrest in late July 2008 through March 20, 2009 about 3-7 x 106 m3 of glacier ice and snow were lost from upper Drift glacier as a result of fumarolic emissions and associated melting. Water and debris outflow during this period was minor and posed no downstream flow hazard beyond the base of the volcano. On March 22-23, explosive eruptions from a summit crater vent destroyed a significant amount of ice in upper Drift glacier and produced a funnel-shaped explosion crater within the larger summit crater. Glacier ice, 50-100 m thick, in the gorge below the vent was stripped to bedrock by pyroclastic flows and melt water. By the next available clear views of the volcano on March 26, about 0.5-1.0 x 108 m3 of ice had been removed from upper Drift glacier including part of the ice field in the summit crater. Melt water liberated by eruptive activity on March 22-23 also eroded or removed most of the river ice and snowpack present in the Drift River valley which may have added an additional 0.1-0.2 km3 of water to the lahars produced during that time. Additional explosions from March 26-April 4 caused further melting of Drift glacier and produced small lahars, but the extent of ice loss and lahar inundation during this period could not be determined because clouds obscured the volcano and much of the Drift River valley. The final explosive event and lahar of the eruption occurred on April 4 when pyroclastic flows produced by lava dome collapse swept over upper Drift glacier and a portion of its piedmont lobe. This event removed about 0.5-1.0 x 108 m3 of glacier ice and initiated a lahar, just slightly larger than the March 22-23 lahar, that inundated an area of about 125 km2 in the Drift River valley from the piedmont lobe to the Cook Inlet coastline about 35 km distant. Pre-eruptive Drift glacier ice volume was about 1 km3 and the total ice removed by the 2009 eruption was 0.1-0.2 km3 or about 10-20% of the total. The total amount of Drift glacier ice removed during the 1989-90 eruption was about 0.1 km3, roughly half of that removed during the 2009 eruption. The largest and most energetic event of the 1989-90 Redoubt eruption on January 2, 1990 removed about 0.25 x 108 m3 of ice from Drift glacier and initiated a lahar of about 0.2 km3, the largest of that eruption. Both the March 22-23 and April 4, 2009 events resulted in greater ice loss and larger lahars than did the January 2, 1990 event. The upper part of Drift glacier is narrow and confined by steep valley walls that restrict the lateral spreading of pyroclastic debris generated by lava dome collapse. This enhances the efficiency of ice melt by funneling pyroclastic flows over the glacier and mechanical erosion and thermal interaction leads to the production of large volumes of melt water and correspondingly large lahars downstream.

  7. Southern Alaska as an Example of the Long-Term Consequences of Mountain Building Under the Influence of Glaciers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Meigs, Andrew; Sauber, Jeanne

    2000-01-01

    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.

  8. Hubbard Glacier, Alaska: growing and advancing in spite of global climate change and the 1986 and 2002 Russell Lake outburst floods

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Trabant, Dennis C.; March, Rod S.; Thomas, Donald S.

    2003-01-01

    Hubbard Glacier, the largest calving glacier on the North American Continent (25 percent larger than Rhode Island), advanced across the entrance to 35-mile-long Russell Fiord during June 2002, temporarily turning it into a lake. Hubbard Glacier has been advancing for more than 100 years and has twice closed the entrance to Russell Fiord during the last 16 years by squeezing and pushing submarine glacial sediments across the mouth of the fiord. Water flowing into the cutoff fiord from mountain streams and glacier melt causes the level of Russell Lake to rise. However, both the 1986 and 2002 dams failed before the lake altitude rose enough for water to spill over a low pass at the far end of the fiord and enter the Situk River drainage, a world-class sport and commercial fishery near Yakutat, Alaska.

  9. Characteristics of seismic and acoustic signals produced by calving, Bering Glacier, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Richardson, Joshua P.; Waite, Gregory P.; FitzGerald, Katelyn A.; Pennington, Wayne D.

    2010-02-01

    We recorded 126 calving and iceberg breakup events from the terminus of the Bering Glacier during five days in August 2008 using seismometers and three small-aperture arrays of infrasound sensors. The seismic signals were typically emergent, narrow-band, and lower-frequency, similar to records at other glaciers. The acoustic records were characterized by shorter-duration, higher-frequency signals with more impulsive onsets. We demonstrate that triangular infrasound arrays permit improved locations of calving events over seismic arrivals that rely on a relatively complicated, poorly known, velocity model. Twenty-six of 35 well-located events occurred on icebergs in Vitus Lake, rather than the glacier face. While our data do not permit a complete description of the source process, the distinctive frequency contents and durations in the seismic and infrasound data suggest that the two data types record different aspects of the same process.

  10. Role of lake regulation on glacier-fed rivers in enhancing salmon productivity: the Cook Inlet watershed, south-central Alaska, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dorava, Joseph M.; Milner, Alexander M.

    2000-10-01

    Rivers fed by glaciers constitute a major part of the freshwater runoff into the Cook Inlet basin of south-central Alaska. This basin is very important to the economy of the State of Alaska because it is home to more than half of the population and it supports multi-million dollar commercial, subsistence and sport fisheries. Hence an understanding of how glacial runoff influences biological productivity is important for managing rivers that drain into Cook Inlet. This paper examines the ways in which the regulation of glacier-fed rivers by proglacial lakes affects salmon productivity, with particular reference to the Kenai River. Salmon escapement per unit channel length on the Kenai River is between two and ten times that found for rain-and-snowmelt dominated rivers and glacier-fed rivers lacking lake regulation.Lakes are shown to influence biological processes in glacier-fed rivers by attenuating peak flows, sustaining high flows throughout the summer, supplementing winter low flows, settling suspended sediment, and increasing river temperatures. Downstream from large lakes, glacier-fed rivers are less disturbed, channels are relatively stable and have well-developed salmonid habitats. The positive influences are indicated by the high diversity and abundances of benthic macroinvertebrates, which are important food resources for juvenile salmonids. High summer flows allow access for up-river salmon runs and lakes also provide both overwintering and rearing habitat.

  11. Streamflow changes in Alaska between the cool phase (1947-1976) and the warm phase (1977-2006) of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The influence of glaciers

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hodgkins, Glenn A.

    2009-01-01

    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.

  12. Radar Determination of Fiord Morphology, Bed Depths, and Ice Thickness - Bering Glacier, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Molnia, B. F.; Snyder, L. E.

    2013-12-01

    Details of fiord morphology and ice thickness determined from a 1991 USGS ice-surface, ice-penetrating radar (radio-echo sounding) survey of Bering Glacier's eastern piedmont lobe were confirmed and expanded by the addition of airborne monopod radar data, collected by NASA in 2008. The 1991 ice-penetrating radar measurements were made at 37 locations using a miniature high-power impulse transmitter, similar to one developed by Narod and Clarke (1994). The 1991 survey, reported by Molnia and Post (1995), determined: that a deep, sub-sea-level channel extended along the eastern side of the glacier, that parts of Bering Glacier's bed reached depths of at least 320 m below sea level, and that a sub-sea-level basin extended more than 50 km up-glacier from the terminus. Individual ice thickness measurements ranged from 195 m to 921 m. Bed depths ranged from 388 m above sea level to 320 m below sea level. Addition of the 2008 NASA data confirmed that at least two channels extended more than 300 m below sea level, underlying the terminus and parts of the eastern Bering Lobe. These include the eastern channel, located adjacent to the Grindle Hills, identified from the 1991 data, with maximum depths between 320 m and 347 m below sea level. A western channel, located adjacent to the Central Medial Moraine Band (CMMB), with maximum depths reaching between 361 m and 388 m below sea level was also located. At least two other channels reached 200 m or more below sea level. Intervening topographic highs extended above sea level. Limited data suggested that at least one channel extended under the CMMB and that at least two channels were located under the central part of the Steller Lobe, the western part of Bering Glacier's piedmont lobe, with a maximum measured depth of 369 m below sea level. The maximum ice thickness measured was 1024 m.

  13. Application of a 1-Dimensional Viscoelastic Bending Beam Model to the Buoyant Terminus of Lake-Calving Mendenhall Glacier, Southeast Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boyce, E.; Motyka, R. J.; Bueler, E.

    2005-12-01

    Mendenhall Glacier is a lake-calving glacier in southeastern Alaska that is experiencing substantial thinning and increasingly rapid recession. The recent retreat of the terminus has been controlled mainly by calving dynamics, and therefore may not be directly driven by climatic trends. Lake-terminating glaciers form a population distinct from both tidewater glaciers and polar ice tongues, with some similarities to both groups. Unlike polar ice tongues, it is generally thought that temperate tidewater glaciers are unable to maintain a floating front. Studies of Mendenhall Glacier and other temperate lake-calving glaciers suggest that partial terminus floatation may not be uncommon, and may play a role in calving. At Mendenhall, we observed upward displacement of the calving front during a two-year period, which culminated in large-scale calving and terminus collapse during summer 2004. Rapid thinning and simultaneous retreat into a deeper basin led to floatation conditions along approximately 50 % of the calving front. This unstable terminus geometry lasted for ~ 2 years. We used a simple 1-dimensional model to investigate the transient response of a floating glacier tongue to buoyant forcing. The basic equations we used to model a viscoelastic bending beam of ice were developed by Reeh et al. (2003) We solve the model numerically using a Chebyshev spectral method. Rather than look at deflections along a transverse profile, we apply the appropriate boundary conditions for a grounding line and floating front. The model results may be compared to the measured glacier upwarping. Temperatures in Mendenhall Lake adjacent to the calving face show a cooling trend (4 to 2 C) over the summer melt season and a stable thermal stratification, suggesting little or no convection along the calving front. Although melting of a submerged ice cliff may be an important mechanism for ice loss at tidewater glaciers, lack of convection and low water temperatures indicate it is much less so for lake-calving glaciers. Reeh, N., E. L. Christensen, C. Mayer, O. B. Olesen, 2003. Tidal bending of glaciers: a linear viscoelastic approach. Annals of Glaciology 37(1), 83-89.

  14. Accumulation Rate Variability and Winter Mass Balance Estimates using High Frequency Ground-Penetrating Radar and Snow Pit Stratigraphy on the Juneau Icefield, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Braddock, S. S.; Boucher, A. L.; Sandler, H. C.; McNeil, C.; Campbell, S. W.; Kreutz, K. J.

    2012-12-01

    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.

  15. Use of the Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS) for Geological Studies in Glacier Bay, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cochrane, G. R.; Hodson, T. O.; Allee, R.; Cicchetti, G.; Finkbeiner, M.; Goodin, K.; Handley, L.; Madden, C.; Mayer, G.; Shumchenia, E.

    2012-12-01

    The U S Geological Survey (USGS) is one of four primary organizations (along with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the Evironmental Protection Agency, and NatureServe) responsible for the development of the Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS) over the past decade. In June 2012 the Federal Geographic Data Committee approved CMECS as the first-ever comprehensive federal standard for classifying and describing coastal and marine ecosystems. The USGS has pioneered the application of CMECS in Glacier Bay, Alaska as part of its Seafloor Mapping and Benthic Habitat Studies Project. This presentation briefly describes the standard and its application as part of geological survey studies in the Western Arm of Glacier Bay. CMECS offers a simple, standard framework and common terminology for describing natural and human influenced ecosystems from the upper tidal reaches of estuaries to the deepest portions of the ocean. The framework is organized into two settings, biogeographic and aquatic, and four components, water column, geoform, substrate, and biotic. Each describes a separate aspect of the environment and biota. Settings and components can be used in combination or independently to describe ecosystem features. The hierarchical arrangement of units of the settings and components allows users to apply CMECS to the scale and specificity that best suits their needs. Modifiers allow users to customize the classification to meet specific needs. Biotopes can be described when there is a need for more detailed information on the biota and their environment. USGS efforts focused primarily on the substrate and geoform components. Previous research has demonstrated three classes of bottom type that can be derived from multibeam data that in part determine the distribution of benthic organisms: soft, flat bottom, mixed bottom including coarse sediment and low-relief rock with low to moderate rugosity, and rugose, hard bottom. The West Arm of Glacier Bay has all of these habitats, with the greatest abundance being soft, flat bottom. In Glacier Bay, species associated with soft, flat bottom habitats include gastropods, algae, flatfish, Tanner crabs, shrimp, sea pen, and other crustaceans; soft corals and sponge dominate areas of boulder and rock substrate. Video observations in the West Arm suggest that geological-biological associations found in central Glacier Bay to be at least partially analogous to associations in the West Arm. Given that soft, mud substrate is the most prevalent habitat in the West Arm, it is expected that the species associated with a soft bottom in the bay proper are the most abundant types of species within the West Arm. While mud is the dominant substrate throughout the fjord, the upper and lower West Arm are potentially very different environments due to the spatially and temporally heterogeneous influence of glaciation and associated effects on fjord hydrologic and oceanographic conditions. Therefore, we expect variations in the distribution of species and the development of biotopes for Glacier Bay will require data applicable to the full spectrum of CMECS components.

  16. 20th-century glacial-marine sedimentation in Vitus Lake, Bering Glacier, Alaska, U.S.A.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Molnia, B.F.; Post, A.; Carlson, P.R.

    1996-01-01

    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.

  17. Spatial Pattern Analysis of Cruise Ship-Humpback Whale Interactions in and Near Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harris, Karin; Gende, Scott M.; Logsdon, Miles G.; Klinger, Terrie

    2012-01-01

    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.

  18. Spatial pattern analysis of cruise ship-humpback whale interactions in and near Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska.

    PubMed

    Harris, Karin; Gende, Scott M; Logsdon, Miles G; Klinger, Terrie

    2012-01-01

    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 1km 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

  19. Evolving force balance at Columbia Glacier, Alaska, during its rapid retreat

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    O'Neel, S.; Pfeffer, W.T.; Krimmel, R.; Meier, M.

    2005-01-01

    Changes in driving and resistive stresses play an essential role in governing the buoyancy forces that are important controls on the speed and irreversibility of tidewater glacier retreats. We describe changes in geometry, velocity, and strain rate and present a top-down force balance analysis performed over the lower reach of Columbia Glacier. Our analysis uses new measurements and estimates of basal topography and photogrammetric surface velocity measurements made between 1977 and 2001, while assuming depth-independent strain. Sensitivity tests show that the method is robust and insensitive to small changes in the calculation parameters. Spatial distributions of ice speed show little correspondence with driving stress. Instead, spatial patterns of ice speed exhibit a nonlinear correspondence with basal drag. Primary resistance to flow comes from basal drag, but lateral drag becomes increasingly more important throughout the retreat, which may account for observed increases in speed. Maximum basal drag is always located in a prominent constriction located ???12 km upstream from the preretreat terminus. Once the terminus retreated into deep water off the terminal moraine marking the modern maximum extent, the upstream location of this maximum basal drag helped to promote thinning and decrease effective pressure in the lower region by limiting replenishing ice flow from upstream. An increase in both ice velocity and calving resulted, initiating what appears to be an irreversible retreat. Copyright 2005 by the American Geophysical Union.

  20. Ice-proximal sediment dynamics and their effect on the stability of Muir Glacier, Alaska: A case study of non-climatic glacier response

    SciTech Connect

    Hunter, L.E.; Powell, R.D. . Dept. of Geology)

    1992-01-01

    Recent studies have shown that water depth at tidewater termini affect calving rates and, therefore, glacier mass balance and terminus stability. Grounding-line water depths are themselves governed by glacial and marine processes that interact during the formation of morainal bank depocenters. These morainal banks can fluctuate 10s of meters in height within an interval of a few weeks. Recent investigations in Glacier Bay have focused on quantitatively assessing sediment budgets in the ice-proximal environment. The monitoring of morainal banks in upper Muir Inlet has included repeated bathymetric mapping, sediment trap studies, bottom grab sampling, glacier and iceberg sampling, and submersible ROV investigations within 1 km of the terminus. Such relationships are important in interpreting recent changes in the dynamics of Muir Glacier where a century of retreat has been succeeded by quasi stability. The new glacier regime has accompanied basin infilling from approximately 100 m depth to a maximum of 52 m at the grounding line. Two large grounding-line fans have aggraded to deltas and reduced the length of the calving margin from 900 m to 290 m wide. These effects have reduced the ice flow velocities by 45%. Annual morainal bank growth ranged from 10[sup 6] to 10[sup 7] m[sup 3] and is the result of glacifluvial dumping, suspension settling from turbid overflow plumes, debris dumping from ice-cliff and iceberg melting, glacier squeezing and pushing of morainal bank sediment, and sediment gravity flow processes. Each of these processes are an integral facet of the morainal bank dynamics and glacier response. These studies of Muir Glacier indicate that glacier response to sediment dynamics need to be addresses before climatic implications are made.

  1. Gagiwdul.at: Brought Forth To Reconfirm. The Legacy of a Taku River Tlingit Clan.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Nyman, Elizabeth; Leer, Jeff

    The six legends told here, in Tlingit on the left page and in English on the right page, are told by Elizabeth Nyman, a Tlingit elder of the Taku River clan. The narratives represent a portion of the clan's oral history. Introductory sections provide some historical background concerning the clan, the story teller, and the traditions with which

  2. Gagiwdul.at: Brought Forth To Reconfirm. The Legacy of a Taku River Tlingit Clan.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Nyman, Elizabeth; Leer, Jeff

    The six legends told here, in Tlingit on the left page and in English on the right page, are told by Elizabeth Nyman, a Tlingit elder of the Taku River clan. The narratives represent a portion of the clan's oral history. Introductory sections provide some historical background concerning the clan, the story teller, and the traditions with which…

  3. A 30-year record of surface mass balance (1966-95) and motion and surface altitude (1975-95) at Wolverine Glacier, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mayo, Lawrence R.; Trabant, Dennis C.; March, Rod S.

    2004-01-01

    Scientific measurements at Wolverine Glacier, on the Kenai Peninsula in south-central Alaska, began in April 1966. At three long-term sites in the research basin, the measurements included snow depth, snow density, heights of the glacier surface and stratigraphic summer surfaces on stakes, and identification of the surface materials. Calculations of the mass balance of the surface strata-snow, new firn, superimposed ice, and old firn and ice mass at each site were based on these measurements. Calculations of fixed-date annual mass balances for each hydrologic year (October 1 to September 30), as well as net balances and the dates of minimum net balance measured between time-transgressive summer surfaces on the glacier, were made on the basis of the strata balances augmented by air temperature and precipitation recorded in the basin. From 1966 through 1995, the average annual balance at site A (590 meters altitude) was -4.06 meters water equivalent; at site B (1,070 meters altitude), was -0.90 meters water equivalent; and at site C (1,290 meters altitude), was +1.45 meters water equivalent. Geodetic determination of displacements of the mass balance stake, and glacier surface altitudes was added to the data set in 1975 to detect the glacier motion responses to variable climate and mass balance conditions. The average surface speed from 1975 to 1996 was 50.0 meters per year at site A, 83.7 meters per year at site B, and 37.2 meters per year at site C. The average surface altitudes were 594 meters at site A, 1,069 meters at site B, and 1,293 meters at site C; the glacier surface altitudes rose and fell over a range of 19.4 meters at site A, 14.1 meters at site B, and 13.2 meters at site C.

  4. Contributions of sub-debris melt and ice face retreat to the rapid deflation of the debris-covered Kennicott Glacier Terminus, Wrangell Mountains, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anderson, L. S.; Anderson, R. S.

    2011-12-01

    Debris covered glaciers are common in tectonically active or highly erodible ranges such as the Himalaya, Tien Shan, Alps, Southern Alps, and the Wrangell Mountains. Debris cover has a variable effect on the mass balance profile depending on its thermal conductivity, albedo, and thickness. Although debris cover generally reduces melt, melt within debris covered zones is complicated by the presence of bare ice faces which retreat at high rates relative to melt beneath debris. As the need to extrapolate individual glacier mass balance into regional trends grows under a changing climate and rising sea level, it is imperative that we develop a full understanding of the factors that alter glacier mass balance, in this case: debris-cover and ice face retreat. In order to understand the influence of debris-cover on the retreat and deflation of glaciers, we completed a field campaign on the 43km long Kennicott Glacier in south-central Alaska from June to mid-August 2011. This valley glacier supports a 26km2 debris-covered terminus with a high concentration of exposed ice faces relative to other debris covered glaciers. The debris covered zone exhibits extensive thermokarst and the distribution of ice cliffs is influenced by the presence of large sinuous supraglacial streams. Previous laser altimetry research on Kennicott glacier reveals that surface elevations have decreased in the debris-covered terminus at a rate of 0.34m/yr (1957-2000), and Precipitation-Temperature Area Altitude modeling shows monotonic ice loss from 1957-2008. Rapid deflation in the debris-covered terminus is likely the result of reduced ice advection from up glacier or increased melt in the debris-covered portion of the glacier over the last half century. As a first step to understanding this rapid surface elevation reduction, we document melt beneath debris of variable thickness at 60 locations using ablation stakes, the horizontal retreat of 62 ice faces, and debris depth and surface temperature at 200 sites in the debris covered zone. We collected air temperature at three locations and temperature profiles through the debris at eight locations. We will document the orientation and concentration of ice faces using IKONOS imagery and then use a positive degree melt method with these temperature measurements to determine the contributions of melt beneath debris and ice face retreat to the total melt at the terminus. Debris surface temperature data will be used to validate 30m resolution Landsat infrared data for the Kennicott Glacier and provide a necessary check on the infrared imagery often used in debris-covered glacier research. Thermal conductivity, derived from our profiles of temperature through the debris, in conjunction with our debris thickness data will be used to model the melt produced under the debris covered terminus of the glacier and be compared to our empirical results. In further research, we will employ the feature tracking method to reveal spatial and temporal changes in advection and its effect on the elevation and extent of the debris-covered terminus of the Kennicott Glacier.

  5. Effects of Bedrock Lithology and Subglacial Till on the Motion of Ruth Glacier, Alaska, Deduced from Five Pulses from 1973-2012

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Turrin, J.; Forster, R.; Sauber, Jeanne; Hall, Dorothy K.; Bruhn, R.

    2013-01-01

    A pulse is a type of unstable glacier flow intermediate between normal flow and surging. Using Landsat MSS, TM, and ETM+ imagery and feature tracking software, a time-series of mostly annual velocity maps from 1973 to 2012 was produced that reveals five pulses of Ruth Glacier, Alaska. Peaks in ice velocity were found in the 1981, 1989, 1997, 2003, and 2010; approximately every 7 years. During these peak years the ice velocity increased 300%, from approximately 40 m/yr to 160 m/yr, and occurred in an area of the glacier underlain by sedimentary bedrock. Based on the spatio-temporal behavior of Ruth Glacier during the pulse cycles, we suggest the pulses are due to enhanced basal motion via deformation of a subglacial till. The cyclical nature of the pulses is theorized to be due to a thin till, with low permeability, that causes incomplete drainage of the till between the pulses, followed by eventual recharge and dilation of the till. These findings suggest care is needed when attempting to correlate changes in regional climate with decadal-scale changes in velocity, because in some instances basal conditions may have a greater influence on ice dynamics than climate.

  6. Stratigraphic evidence for rate of sedimentation in an ice-contact, proglacial lake, Bering Glacier, Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Fleisher, P.J. . Dept. of Earth Sciences); Bailey, P.K. )

    1993-03-01

    A semi-continuous aerial photo record documents retreat positions of the eastern Bering Glacier and the development of a shallow embayment of ice-contact Tsiu Lake during the summer of 1986. An observed break out in August, 1989, abruptly dropped lake level 17 m and exposed lake sediments containing three annual couplets 54 cm thick. This continuous record of accumulation during a documented 3-year period yields an average annual accumulation rate of 18 cm/year. The lower portion of each annual couplet averages 11.5 cm in thickness and consists of fine, gray silt laminae, each approximately 0.7 mm thick. These grade upward into interlaminated light and dark gray silt and tan, very fine sand beds, each about 0.5 cm thick, with an average cumulative thickness of 6.5 cm. The sand is commonly cross bedded and contains subtle graded bedding. Because the uppermost interlaminated unit was the last to be deposited prior to the break out, it must represent summer-season sediments. This interpretation is consistent with intermittent higher summer discharge and associated currents that periodically introduce sand and hold silt in suspension. Lower energy conditions beneath frozen lakes during winter months favor quieter water and yield a thicker accumulation of uniform silt. Measurements of contemporary summer accumulation were made using cylinder sediment traps. Resulting data indicate that rates of sediment accumulation are directly related to length of collection column, trap depth, duration of sample period and turbidity, and may be an order of magnitude greater than that represented by the measured stratigraphic record. These field studies shed light on specific conditions of deposition and the glaciolacustrine environment during Laurentide retreat from central New York State.

  7. Subglacial source of meltwater discharge in an emerging ice-marginal channel, Bering Glacier, Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Priscott, G.; Fleisher, P.J. . Dept. of Earth Sciences)

    1993-03-01

    The retreating eastern margin of Bering Piedmont Glacier terminates in two ice-contact lakes separated by an island that has been uncovered in the last decade. A semi-continuous aerial photo record (1978--1991) and field observations (1992) confirms a newly-developed ice-marginal channel linking these two lakes that is fed by a persistent subglacial conduit system. This investigation documents channel characteristic, discharge, turbidity, water temperature and the location of the present ice margin. Bathymetry along the channel reveals a highly irregular profile consisting of low-gradient reaches 3--5 m deep interrupted by shallow sills (< 1 m) of grounded, subaqueous ice and a 40 m basin among ice islands. Channel dimensions measured in 5 cross section reveal abrupt, small-scale changes typical of sub-bottom ice. Discharge varies from 72.24 cms near a node of upwelling to 40.38 cms 2 km down stream, then back up to 42.25 cms within 0.4 km, where the channel enters a lake. Turbidity values between 1.67 g/l and 4.20 g/l, of 10 water samples vary irregularly along the channel and with depth at-a-station. Early July water temperatures from 7 widely-spaced locations indicate the thermocline occurs at depths from 1 to 3 m and separates surface water at +1.1 C from supercooled water at [minus]1.0 C. Clusters of in situ platy frazil ice crystals several centimeters in diameter were observed on floating ice in the area of upwelling supercooled water. The presence of upwelling, highly-turbid, supercooled water indicates that the primary meltwater source is a subglacial conduit network at the ice margin, from which flow separates and discharges through a leaky channel into both lakes.

  8. The Border Ranges shear zone, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska: An example of an ancient brittle-ductile transition zone

    SciTech Connect

    Smart, K.J. . Dept. of Geological Sciences)

    1992-01-01

    The Border Ranges fault system in southern Alaska forms the tectonic boundary between the Peninsular-Alexander-Wrangellia (PAW) composite terrane and the Chugach terrane. In Glacier Bay National Park, the Border Ranges fault system is a north-northwest trending, 10 kilometer wide zone of ductile shear zones and brittle faults hereafter referred to as the Border Ranges shear zone. Three-dimensional strain analyses of plagioclase lathes in the foliated calc-alkaline plutons reveals a strong flattening fabric with the plane of maximum flattening (XY-plane) oriented northwest-southeast and dipping steeply to the southwest. The distribution and shapes of sub-elliptical mafic enclaves in the calc-alkaline plutons show a similarly oriented flattening fabric. Coeval brittle and ductile deformational processes are indicated by: (1) ductile shear zones narrowing to brittle faults at the outcrop scale; and (2) undulose quartz with subgrain development, kinked biotite, twinned and undulose feldspar, and fractured and twinned hornblende often within a single thin-section. Amphibole geobarometry indicates that two of the calc-alkaline plutons deformed by the shear zone crystallized at pressures of approximately 3 kilobars equivalent to 10 to 12 kilometers depth. Metamorphic mineral assemblages within the mylonites indicate deformation under lower greenschist facies conditions (300--400 C). The shear zone may represent a snapshot of the brittle-ductile transition of an ancient convergent-transform plate boundary. As such, this unique exposure may be an ancient analogue for the brittle-ductile transition of the present day San Andreas fault system.

  9. Columbia Glacier Calving

    USGS Multimedia Gallery

    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...

  10. Photographer Overlooking Columbia Glacier

    USGS Multimedia Gallery

    Photographer Tad Pfeffer capturing images of Columbia Glacier in Prince William Sound, Alaska. He is looking down-glacier towards the ice front, which faces open water in the fjord. This open water is extremely rare, and has not happened again since 2005. The fjord is typically covered with iceberg ...

  11. Diurnal discharge fluctuations and streambed ablation in a supraglacial stream on the Vaughan-Lewis and Gilkey glaciers, Juneau Icefield, Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Stock, J.W.; Pinchak, A.C.

    1995-12-31

    The study reported here focuses on the dynamics of two supraglacial streams on the Juneau Icefield in southeast Alaska. Data on streambed ablation (melting) rates, stream discharge, radiation, and air temperature and humidity were collected in August 1990 and 1991. Radiation had the greatest effect on stream discharge. Daily peak discharges occurred only 30 minutes after peak radiation, but two hours after peak temperature. Factors influencing variation in discharge of the streams were velocity, stream depth, and stream width, in decreasing order of importance. Streambed ablation due to radiation was greater than glacier surface ablation due to radiation. Streambed ablation due to frictional heating was very small.

  12. Object-Based Image Classification of Floating Ice Used as Habitat for Harbor Seals in a Tidewater Glacier Fjord in Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McNabb, R. W.; Womble, J. N.; Prakash, A.; Gens, R.; Ver Hoef, J.

    2014-12-01

    Tidewater glaciers play an important role in many landscape and ecosystem processes in fjords, terminating in the sea and calving icebergs and discharging meltwater directly into the ocean. Tidewater glaciers provide floating ice for use as habitat for harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardii) for resting, pupping, nursing, molting, and avoiding predators. Tidewater glaciers are found in high concentrations in Southeast and Southcentral Alaska; currently, many of these glaciers are retreating or have stabilized in a retracted state, raising questions about the future availability of ice in these fjords as habitat for seals. Our primary objective is to investigate the relationship between harbor seal distribution and ice availability at an advancing tidewater glacier in Johns Hopkins Inlet, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska. To this end, we use a combination of visible and infrared aerial photographs, object-based image analysis (OBIA), and statistical modeling techniques. We have developed a workflow to automate the processing of the imagery and the classification of the fjordscape (e.g., individual icebergs, brash ice, and open water), providing quantitative information on ice coverage as well as properties not typically found in traditional pixel-based classification techniques, such as block angularity and seal density across the fjord. Reflectance variation in the red channel of the optical images has proven to be the most important first-level criterion to separate open water from floating ice. This first-level criterion works well in areas without dense brash ice, but tends to misclassify dense brash ice as single icebergs. Isolating these large misclassified regions and applying a higher reflectance threshold as a second-level criterion helps to isolate individual ice blocks surrounded by dense brash ice. We present classification results from surveys taken during June and August, 2007-2013, as well as preliminary results from statistical modeling of the spatio-temporal distribution of seals and ice. OBIA is a powerful method of habitat classification and offers an effective approach to compare the spatio-temporal distribution and availability of glacial ice habitats for harbor seals in tidewater glacial fjords.

  13. Mass balance, meteorology, area altitude distribution, glacier-surface altitude, ice motion, terminus position, and runoff at Gulkana Glacier, Alaska, 1996 balance year

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    March, Rod S.

    2003-01-01

    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.

  14. Disruption of Drift glacier and origin of floods during the 1989-1990 eruptions of Redoubt Volcano, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Trabant, D.C.; Waitt, R.B.; Major, J.J.

    1994-01-01

    Melting of snow and glacier ice during the 1989-1990 eruption of Redoubt Volcano caused winter flooding of the Drift River. Drift glacier was beheaded when 113 to 121 ?? 106 m3 of perennial snow and ice were mechanically entrained in hot-rock avalanches and pyroclastic flows initiated by the four largest eruptions between 14 December 1989 and 14 March 1990. The disruption of Drift glacier was dominated by mechanical disaggregation and entrainment of snow and glacier ice. Hot-rock avalanches, debris flows, and pyroclastic flows incised deep canyons in the glacier ice thereby maintaining a large ice-surface area available for scour by subsequent flows. Downvalley flow rheologies were transformed by the melting of snow and ice entrained along the upper and middle reaches of the glacier and by seasonal snowpack incorporated from the surface of the lower glacier and from the river valley. The seasonal snowpack in the Drift River valley contributed to lahars and floods a cumulative volume equivalent to about 35 ?? 106 m3 of water, which amounts to nearly 30% of the cumulative flow volume 22 km downstream from the volcano. The absence of high-water marks in depressions and of ice-collapse features in the glacier indicated that no large quantities of meltwater that could potentially generate lahars were stored on or under the glacier; the water that generated the lahars that swept Drift River valley was produced from the proximal, eruption-induced volcaniclastic flows by melting of snow and ice. ?? 1994.

  15. Distribution of Ground-Nesting Marine Birds Along Shorelines in Glacier Bay, Southeastern Alaska: An Assessment Related to Potential Disturbance by Back-Country Users

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Arimitsu, M.L.; Piatt, J.F.; Romano, Marc D.

    2007-01-01

    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.

  16. Evaluate ERTS imagery for mapping and detection of changes of snowcover on land and on glaciers. [North Cascades, Washington and Tweedsmuir Glacier, Alaska

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Meier, M. F. (Principal Investigator)

    1974-01-01

    The author has identified the following significant results. Snowlines on a small (6 sq km) drainage basin were accurately measured without use of digital processing, and snow patches as small as 150 m (maximum dimension) were correctly identified, proving that the resolution of ERTS is ample for snow mapping needs. The area of snow cover on 10 individual drainage basins in the North Cascades, Washington, has been determined at 12 different times; these data can be used for more accurate forecasts of streamflow. Progress has been made in distinguishing snow in trees using multispectral analysis. Motion of the surging Tweedsmuir Glacier was measured. Velocities ranged from 2 to 88 m per day; a zone of intense crevassing also appeared to spread up and down the glacier (at about 200 m per day upglacier). This tentative result may be of great importance to an understanding of surging glacier dynamics. ERTS images also show that the most recent debris flow (20-21 August 1973) from Mount Baker can be clearly discerned and mapped, in order to monitor this potential hazard.

  17. UNIT, ALASKA.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Louisiana Arts and Science Center, Baton Rouge.

    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…

  18. Evaluate ERTS imagery for mapping and detection of changes of snowcover on land and on glaciers. [Alaska and Washington

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Meier, M. F. (Principal Investigator)

    1973-01-01

    The author has identified the following significant results. A new procedure to determine snowcovered areas has been devised. Aside from problems in heavily forested areas this method shows promise in predicting snowmelt runoff from mountain areas and will also assist in energy balance modeling of large snowfields. Snowcover results compare favorably with measurements made by high altitude aircraft photography. Changes in snowcover in areas as small as 3 x 5 km can be determined from ERTS-1 images by both optical and electronic methods. Snowcover changes determined by these two methods in the experimental South Cascade Glacier Basin were verified by field mapping. Image enahancement techniques on ERTS-1 images of large Alaskan glaciers (the Hubbard, Yentna, and Kahiltna) have given new insights into the large-scale structures and flow dynamics of these potentially hazardous glaciers. The Hubbard Glacier, in particular, is one which poses a threat to man and should be monitored for future changes.

  19. Glacier microseismicity

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    West, Michael E.; Larsen, Christopher F.; Truffer, Martin; O'Neel, Shad; LeBlanc, Laura

    2010-01-01

    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.

  20. Glacier Ecosystems of Himalaya

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kohshima, S.; Yoshimura, Y.; Takeuchi, N.; Segawa, T.; Uetake, J.

    2012-12-01

    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.

  1. Assessing streamflow sensitivity to variations in glacier mass balance

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    O'Neel, Shad; Hood, Eran; Arendt, Anthony; Sass, Louis

    2014-01-01

    The purpose of this paper is to evaluate relationships among seasonal and annual glacier mass balances, glacier runoff and streamflow in two glacierized basins in different climate settings. We use long-term glacier mass balance and streamflow datasets from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Alaska Benchmark Glacier Program to compare and contrast glacier-streamflow interactions in a maritime climate (Wolverine Glacier) with those in a continental climate (Gulkana Glacier). Our overall goal is to improve our understanding of how glacier mass balance processes impact streamflow, ultimately improving our conceptual understanding of the future evolution of glacier runoff in continental and maritime climates.

  2. The Border Ranges fault system in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska: Evidence for major early Cenozoic dextral strike-slip motion

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Smart, K.J.; Pavlis, T.L.; Sisson, V.B.; Roeske, S.M.; Snee, L.W.

    1996-01-01

    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.

  3. Dramatic increase in the relative abundance of large male dungeness crabs Cancer magister following closure of commercial fishing in Glacier Bay, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Taggart, S.J.; Shirley, T.C.; O'Clair, C. E.; Mondragon, J.

    2004-01-01

    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.

  4. Mercury and water-quality data from Rink Creek, Salmon River, and Good River, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska, November 2009-October 2011

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nagorski, Sonia A.; Neal, Edward G.; Brabets, Timothy P.

    2013-01-01

    Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve (GBNPP), Alaska, like many pristine high latitude areas, is exposed to atmospherically deposited contaminants such as mercury (Hg). Although the harmful effects of Hg are well established, information on this contaminant in southeast Alaska is scarce. Here, we assess the level of this contaminant in several aquatic components (water, sediments, and biological tissue) in three adjacent, small streams in GBNPP that drain contrasting landscapes but receive similar atmospheric inputs: Rink Creek, Salmon River, and Good River. Twenty water samples were collected from 2009 to 2011 and processed and analyzed for total mercury and methylmercury (filtered and particulate), and dissolved organic carbon quantity and quality. Ancillary stream water parameters (discharge, pH, dissolved oxygen, specific conductance, and temperature) were measured at the time of sampling. Major cations, anions, and nutrients were measured four times. In addition, total mercury was analyzed in streambed sediment in 2010 and in juvenile coho salmon and several taxa of benthic macroinvertebrates in the early summer of 2010 and 2011.

  5. Imaging Evidence for Hubbard Glacier Advances and Retreats since the Last Glacial Maximum in Disenchantment and Yakutat Bays, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zurbuchen, J.; Gulick, S. P.; Levoir, M. A.; Goff, J. A.; Haeussler, P. J.

    2013-12-01

    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.

  6. Muir Glacier and Muir Inlet 1980

    USGS Multimedia Gallery

    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....

  7. Delineation of landform and lithologic units for Ecological Landtype-Association analysis in Glacier Bay National Park, Southeast Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Brew, David A.

    2008-01-01

    In this study, landforms were classified-by using topographic maps and personal experience-into eight categories similar to those used by the U.S. Forest Service. The 90 bedrock-lithologic units on the current Glacier Bay geologic map were classified into 13 generalized lithologic units corresponding exactly to those used by the U.S. Forest Service. Incomplete storm-track, storm-intensity, and limited climatic information have also been compiled.

  8. The Significance of Shifts in Precipitation Patterns: Modelling the Impacts of Climate Change and Glacier Retreat on Extreme Flood Events in Denali National Park, Alaska

    PubMed Central

    Crossman, Jill; Futter, Martyn N.; Whitehead, Paul G.

    2013-01-01

    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. PMID:24023925

  9. The significance of shifts in precipitation patterns: modelling the impacts of climate change and glacier retreat on extreme flood events in Denali National Park, Alaska.

    PubMed

    Crossman, Jill; Futter, Martyn N; Whitehead, Paul G

    2013-01-01

    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 24 m per year to 68.5m per year, with associated increases in ablation zone ice loss. GCM projections indicate that over the 21(st) 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 21(st) 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. PMID:24023925

  10. Apogean-perigean signals encoded in tidal flats at the fluvio-estuarine transition of Glacier Creek, Turnagain Arm, Alaska; implications for ancient tidal rhythmites

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Greb, S.F.; Archer, A.W.; Deboer, D.G.

    2011-01-01

    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.

  11. Alaska

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    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.

  12. Geochronology of plutonic rocks and their tectonic terranes in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, southeast Alaska: Chapter E in Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska, 2008-2009

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Brew, David A.; Tellier, Kathleen E.; Lanphere, Marvin A.; Nielsen, Diane C.; Smith, James G.; Sonnevil, Ronald A.

    2014-01-01

    We have identified six major belts and two nonbelt occurrences of plutonic rocks in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve and characterized them on the basis of geologic mapping, igneous petrology, geochemistry, and isotopic dating. The six plutonic belts and two other occurrences are, from oldest to youngest: (1) Jurassic (201.6145.5 Ma) diorite and gabbro of the Lituya belt; (2) Late Jurassic (161.0145.5 Ma) leucotonalite in Johns Hopkins Inlet; (3) Early Cretaceous (145.599.6 Ma) granodiorite and tonalite of the Muir-Chichagof belt; (4) Paleocene tonalite in Johns Hopkins Inlet (65.555.8 Ma); (5) Eocene granodiorite of the Sanak-Baranof belt; (6) Eocene and Oligocene (55.823.0 Ma) granodiorite, quartz diorite, and granite of the Muir-Fairweather felsic-intermediate belt; (7) Eocene and Oligocene (55.823.0 Ma) layered gabbros of the Crillon-La Perouse mafic belt; and (8) Oligocene (33.923.0 Ma) quartz monzonite and quartz syenite of the Tkope belt. The rocks are further classified into 17 different combination age-compositional units; some younger belts are superimposed on older ones. Almost all these plutonic rocks are related to Cretaceous and Tertiary subduction events. The six major plutonic belts intrude the three southeast Alaska geographic subregions in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, from west to east: (1) the Coastal Islands, (2) the Tarr Inlet Suture Zone (which contains the Border Ranges Fault Zone), and (3) the Central Alexander Archipelago. Each subregion includes rocks assigned to one or more tectonic terranes. The various plutonic belts intrude different terranes in different subregions. In general, the Early Cretaceous plutons intrude rocks of the Alexander and Wrangellia terranes in the Central Alexander Archipelago subregion, and the Paleogene plutons intrude rocks of the Chugach, Alexander, and Wrangellia terranes in the Coastal Islands, Tarr Inlet Suture Zone, and Central Alexander Archipelago subregions.

  13. Marine benthic habitat mapping of Muir Inlet, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska, with an evaluation of the Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard III

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Trusel, Luke D.; Cochrane, Guy R.; Etherington, Lisa L.; Powell, Ross D.; Mayer, Larry A.

    2010-01-01

    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.

  14. Black and Brown Bear Activity at Selected Coastal Sites in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska: A Preliminary Assessment Using Noninvasive Procedures

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Partridge, Steve; Smith, Tom; Lewis, Tania

    2009-01-01

    A number of efforts in recent years have sought to predict bear activity in various habitats to minimize human disturbance and bear/human conflicts. Alaskan coastal areas provide important foraging areas for bears (Ursus americanus and U. arctos), particularly following den emergence when there may be no snow-free foraging alternatives. Additionally, coastal areas provide important food items for bears throughout the year. Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve (GLBA) in southeastern Alaska has extensive coastal habitats, and the National Park Service (NPS) has been long interested in learning more about the use of these coastal habitats by bears because these same habitats receive extensive human use by park visitors, especially kayaking recreationists. This study provides insight regarding the nature and intensity of bear activity at selected coastal sites within GLBA. We achieved a clearer understanding of bear/habitat relationships within GLBA by analyzing bear activity data collected with remote cameras, bear sign mapping, scat collections, and genetic analysis of bear hair. Although we could not quantify actual levels of bear activity at study sites, agreement among measures of activity (for example, sign counts, DNA analysis, and video record) lends support to our qualitative site assessments. This work suggests that habitat evaluation, bear sign mapping, and periodic scat counts can provide a useful index of bear activity for sites of interest.

  15. The length of the glaciers in the world - a straightforward method for the automated calculation of glacier center lines

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Machguth, H.; Huss, M.

    2014-05-01

    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.

  16. Bivachnyy Glacier

    USGS Multimedia Gallery

    Photograph of Bivachnyy Glacier, a surging valley glacier in the central Pamir Mountains. The glacier has a thick debris cover derived from adjacent mountains. Photograph courtesy of V.M. Kotlyakov, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow....

  17. Seasonal variabilty of surface velocities and ice discharge of Columbia Glacier, Alaska using high-resolution TanDEM-X satellite time series and NASA IceBridge data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vijay, Saurabh; Braun, Matthias

    2014-05-01

    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.

  18. Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Chapin, F. Stuart, III; Trainor, Sarah F.; Cochran, Patricia; Huntington, Henry; Markon, Carl J.; McCammon, Molly; McGuire, A. David; Serreze, Mark

    2014-01-01

    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.

  19. Factors Affecting Haul-Out Behavior of Harbor Seals (Phoca vitulina) in Tidewater Glacier Inlets in Alaska: Can Tourism Vessels and Seals Coexist?

    PubMed

    Blundell, Gail M; Pendleton, Grey W

    2015-01-01

    Large numbers of harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) use habitat in tidewater glaciers in Alaska for pupping, breeding, and molting. Glacial fjords are also popular tourist destinations; however, visitation by numerous vessels can result in disturbance of seals during critical life-history phases. We explored factors affecting haul-out behavior of harbor seals at a glacial site frequented by tourism vessels. In 2008-10, we deployed VHF transmitters on 107 seals in Endicott Arm, Alaska. We remotely monitored presence and haul-out behavior of tagged seals and documented vessel presence with time-lapse cameras. We evaluated the influence of environmental and physical factors on the probability of being hauled out, duration of haul-out bouts, and as factors associated with the start and end of a haulout. Location, season, hour, and interactions of location by year, season, hour, and sex significantly influenced haul-out probability, as did ice, weather, and vessels. Seals were more likely to be hauled out with greater ice availability during the middle of the day, and less likely to be hauled out if vessels were present. Cruise ships had the strongest negative effect; however, most vessel types negatively affected haul-out probability. Haul-out duration was longest in association with starting on incoming tides, clear skies, no precipitation, occurring in the middle of the day, and ending in the late afternoon or evening. End of haulouts was associated with increasing cloud cover, low ice availability, and vessel presence; large-sized tourism vessels or all-vessel-types combined were significant predictors of ending a haul-out bout. Probability of being hauled out was highest in June, during pupping season. Potential disturbances of harbor seals could be reduced, enabling longer resting times for seals and fewer interruptions for nursing pups, if vessels focused the majority of visits to glacial habitat to before or after the hours of 08:00-17:00 or, less optimally, 09:00-16:00. PMID:26017404

  20. Deglaciation and latest Pleistocene and early Holocene glacier readvances on the Alaska Peninsula: Records of rapid climate change due to transient changes in solar intensity and atmospheric CO sub 2 content

    SciTech Connect

    Pinney, D.S.; Beget, J.E.

    1992-03-01

    Geologic mapping near Windy Creek, Katmai National Park, identified two sets of glacial deposits postdating late-Wisconsin Iliuk moraines and separated from them by volcaniclastic deposits laid down under ice-free conditions. Radiocarbon dating of organic material incorporated in the younger Katolinat till and in adjacent peat and lake sediments suggests that alpine glaciers on the northern Alaska Peninsula briefly expanded between ca. 8500 and 10,000 years B.P. Stratigraphic relationships and radiocarbon dates suggest an age for the older Ukak drift near the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary between ca. 10,000 and 12,000 years B.P. The authors suggest that rapid deglaciation following deposition of the Iliuk drift occurred ca. 13,000-12,000 years B.P. in response to large increases in global atmospheric greenhouse gas content, including C02. Short-term decreases in these concentrations, as recorded in polar ice cores, may be linked with brief periods of glacier expansion during the latest Pleistocene and early Holocene. A transient episode of low solar intensity may also have occurred during parts of the early Holocene. Rapid environmental changes and glacial fluctuations on the Alaska Peninsula may have been in response to transient changes in the concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases and solar intensity.

  1. Characteristics of Glacier Ecosystem and Glaciological Importance of Glacier Microorganisms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kohshima, S.; Yoshimura, Y.; Takeuchi, N.; Segawa, T.; Uetake, J.

    2004-12-01

    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.

  2. The length of the world's glaciers - a new approach for the global calculation of center lines

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Machguth, H.; Huss, M.

    2014-09-01

    Glacier length is an important measure of glacier geometry. Nevertheless, 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 an automated method that relies 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 East Greenland as well as for Alaska and eventually applied to all ~ 200 000 glaciers around the globe. The evaluation highlights accurately calculated glacier length where digital elevation model (DEM) quality is high (East Greenland) and limited accuracy 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 the output of our algorithm 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 key parameter to global glacier inventories. Global and regional scaling laws might prove beneficial in conceptual glacier models.

  3. Alexander Archipelago, Southeastern Alaska

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    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

  4. Intrusive rocks and plutonic belts of southeastern Alaska, U.S.A.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Brew, David A.; Morrell, Robert P.

    1983-01-01

    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 major post-Triassic suture.

  5. Ice loss and sea level rise contribution from Alaskan glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Berthier, E.; Schiefer, E.; Clarke, G. K.; Menounos, B.; Rmy, F.; Cazenave, A. A.

    2009-12-01

    Over the last 50 years, retreating glaciers and ice caps (GIC) contributed 0.5 mm/yr to SLR, and one third is believed to originate from ice masses bordering the Gulf of Alaska. However, these estimates of ice wastage in Alaska are based on methods that directly measure mass changes from a limited number of glaciers and extrapolate the results to estimate ice loss for the many thousands of others. Here, using a new glacier inventory with elevation changes derived from sequential digital elevation models (DEMs), we found that, between 1962 and 2006, Alaskan glaciers lost 41.9 8.6 km**3/yr water equivalent (w.e.) and contributed 0.12 0.02 mm/yr to SLR. Our ice loss is 34% lower than previous estimates. Reasons for our lower values include the higher spatial resolution of the glacier inventory used in our study and the complex pattern of ice elevation changes at the scale of individual glaciers and mountain ranges which was not resolved in earlier work. Our ice elevation changes reveal that glacier dynamics (surges, phase of the tidewater cycle, etc...) have a profound effect on the wastage of Alaska glaciers. 3D satellite view of Columbia glacier, Chugach Mountains, Alaska. (Copyright CNES 2007, Distribution Spot Image, processing E. Berthier CNRS)

  6. Alaska: A frontier divided

    SciTech Connect

    O'Dell, R. )

    1986-09-01

    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 holds the greatest percentage of protected wilderness per capita in the world. The expanse of some Alaskan glaciers dwarfs entire countries. Like the periodic advance and retreat of its glaciers, Alaska appears with some regularity on the national US agenda. It last achieved prominence when President Jimmy Carter signed the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act in 1980. Since then the conflict between environmental protection and economic development has been played out throughout the state, and Congress is expected to turn to Alaskan issues again in its next sessions.

  7. International Symposium on Fast Glacier Flow

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lingle, Craig S.

    1990-01-01

    Cryospheric Sciences Program "International Symposium on Fast Glacier Flow" (PI, C. Lingle) provided partial support for publication of Annals of Glaciology 36 by the International Glaciological Society. Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed journal. Annals 36, which was published in 2003, contains 39 peer-reviewed and edited papers from the International Symposium on Fast Glacier Flow, which was held in Yakutat, Alaska, 10-14 June 2002.

  8. Determining Crevasse Sequences in Surging Glaciers using Neural Network Classification from Remotely Sensed Images of Bering Glacier, AK

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bobeck, J.; Herzfeld, U. C.; Goetz-Weiss, L.; Hale, G.

    2014-12-01

    Bering Glacier in Alaska is a surging glacier; one of the most understudied glacier classes in the cryospheric sciences. By using a neural network created with a new method for extracting crevasse patterns, and remotely sensed images acquired from World View 1, it is possible to not only to classify crevasses formed during Bering's surges, but also to determine whether glacier crevasses form in pattern sequences. In order to understand the relationship between the geographic location of the crevasse types and the geophysical formation of those crevasses, an analysis of glacier flow, velocity, and the dependency on the type of force acting upon the glacier, will be used over a time sequence of Wold View 1 images. The importance of this study will allow for better understanding of the geophysical processes that occurs on surging glaciers, along with allowing for future prediction of crevasse formation which will be useful in determining hazardous regions of Bering glacier, ultimately allowing for higher safety for researchers.

  9. Western Glacier Stonefly

    USGS Multimedia Gallery

     The rare western glacier stonefly (Zapada glacier) is native to Glacier National Park and is seeking habitat at higher elevations due to warming stream temperature and glacier loss due to climate warming. ...

  10. Western Glacier Stonefly

    USGS Multimedia Gallery

    The rare western glacier stonefly (Zapada glacier) is native to Glacier National Park and is seeking habitat at higher elevations due to warming stream temperature and glacier loss due to climate warming. ...

  11. 36 CFR 13.1116 - Do I need a camping permit in Glacier Bay?

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-07-01

    ... Glacier Bay? 13.1116 Section 13.1116 Parks, Forests, and Public Property NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM UNITS IN ALASKA Special Regulations-Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve General Provisions 13.1116 Do I need a camping permit in Glacier Bay? From May...

  12. 36 CFR 13.1116 - Do I need a camping permit in Glacier Bay?

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... Glacier Bay? 13.1116 Section 13.1116 Parks, Forests, and Public Property NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM UNITS IN ALASKA Special Regulations-Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve General Provisions 13.1116 Do I need a camping permit in Glacier Bay? From May...

  13. 36 CFR 13.1109 - Off-road vehicle use in Glacier Bay National Preserve.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-07-01

    ... Glacier Bay National Preserve. 13.1109 Section 13.1109 Parks, Forests, and Public Property NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM UNITS IN ALASKA Special Regulations-Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Administrative Provisions 13.1109 Off-road vehicle use in Glacier Bay...

  14. 36 CFR 13.1150 - Is a permit required for a vessel in Glacier Bay?

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-07-01

    ... vessel in Glacier Bay? 13.1150 Section 13.1150 Parks, Forests, and Public Property NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM UNITS IN ALASKA Special Regulations-Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Vessel Permits 13.1150 Is a permit required for a vessel in Glacier Bay? A permit...

  15. 36 CFR 13.1150 - Is a permit required for a vessel in Glacier Bay?

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... vessel in Glacier Bay? 13.1150 Section 13.1150 Parks, Forests, and Public Property NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM UNITS IN ALASKA Special Regulations-Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Vessel Permits 13.1150 Is a permit required for a vessel in Glacier Bay? A permit...

  16. 36 CFR 13.1109 - Off-road vehicle use in Glacier Bay National Preserve.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-07-01

    ... Glacier Bay National Preserve. 13.1109 Section 13.1109 Parks, Forests, and Public Property NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM UNITS IN ALASKA Special Regulations-Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Administrative Provisions 13.1109 Off-road vehicle use in Glacier Bay...

  17. 36 CFR 13.1109 - Off-road vehicle use in Glacier Bay National Preserve.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-07-01

    ... Glacier Bay National Preserve. 13.1109 Section 13.1109 Parks, Forests, and Public Property NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM UNITS IN ALASKA Special Regulations-Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Administrative Provisions 13.1109 Off-road vehicle use in Glacier Bay...

  18. 36 CFR 13.1109 - Off-road vehicle use in Glacier Bay National Preserve.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... Glacier Bay National Preserve. 13.1109 Section 13.1109 Parks, Forests, and Public Property NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM UNITS IN ALASKA Special Regulations-Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Administrative Provisions 13.1109 Off-road vehicle use in Glacier Bay...

  19. 36 CFR 13.1150 - Is a permit required for a vessel in Glacier Bay?

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-07-01

    ... vessel in Glacier Bay? 13.1150 Section 13.1150 Parks, Forests, and Public Property NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM UNITS IN ALASKA Special Regulations-Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Vessel Permits 13.1150 Is a permit required for a vessel in Glacier Bay? A permit...

  20. 36 CFR 13.1150 - Is a permit required for a vessel in Glacier Bay?

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-07-01

    ... vessel in Glacier Bay? 13.1150 Section 13.1150 Parks, Forests, and Public Property NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM UNITS IN ALASKA Special Regulations-Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Vessel Permits 13.1150 Is a permit required for a vessel in Glacier Bay? A permit...

  1. 36 CFR 13.1116 - Do I need a camping permit in Glacier Bay?

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-07-01

    ... Glacier Bay? 13.1116 Section 13.1116 Parks, Forests, and Public Property NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM UNITS IN ALASKA Special Regulations-Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve General Provisions 13.1116 Do I need a camping permit in Glacier Bay? From May...

  2. 36 CFR 13.1116 - Do I need a camping permit in Glacier Bay?

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... Glacier Bay? 13.1116 Section 13.1116 Parks, Forests, and Public Property NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM UNITS IN ALASKA Special Regulations-Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve General Provisions § 13.1116 Do I need a camping permit in Glacier Bay? From May...

  3. 36 CFR 13.1150 - Is a permit required for a vessel in Glacier Bay?

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... vessel in Glacier Bay? 13.1150 Section 13.1150 Parks, Forests, and Public Property NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM UNITS IN ALASKA Special Regulations-Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Vessel Permits § 13.1150 Is a permit required for a vessel in Glacier Bay? A permit...

  4. Alaska marine ice atlas

    SciTech Connect

    LaBelle, J.C.; Wise, J.L.; Voelker, R.P.; Schulze, R.H.; Wohl, G.M.

    1982-01-01

    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)

  5. Flow instabilities of Alaskan glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Turrin, James Bradley

    Over 300 of the largest glaciers in southern Alaska have been identified as either surge-type or pulse-type, making glaciers with flow instabilities the norm among large glaciers in that region. Consequently, the bulk of mass loss due to climate change will come from these unstable glaciers in the future, yet their response to future climate warming is unknown because their dynamics are still poorly understood. To help broaden our understanding of unstable glacier flow, the decadal-scale ice dynamics of 1 surging and 9 pulsing glaciers are investigated. Bering Glacier had a kinematic wave moving down its ablation zone at 4.4 +/- 2.0 km/yr from 2002 to 2009, which then accelerated to 13.9 +/- 2.0 km/yr as it traversed the piedmont lobe. The wave first appeared in 2001 near the confluence with Bagley Ice Valley and it took 10 years to travel ~64 km. A surge was triggered in 2008 after the wave activated an ice reservoir in the midablation zone, and it climaxed in 2011 while the terminus advanced several km into Vitus Lake. Ruth Glacier pulsed five times between 1973 and 2012, with peak velocities in 1981, 1989, 1997, 2003, and 2010; approximately every 7 years. A typical pulse increased ice velocity 300%, from roughly 40 m/yr to 160 m/yr in the midablation zone, and involved acceleration and deceleration of the ice en masse; no kinematic wave was evident. The pulses are theorized to be due to deformation of a subglacial till causing enhanced basal motion. Eight additional pulsing glaciers are identified based on the spatiotemporal pattern of their velocity fields. These glaciers pulsed where they were either constricted laterally or joined by a tributary, and their surface slopes are 1-2. These traits are consistent with an overdeepening. This observation leads to a theory of ice motion in overdeepenings that explains the cyclical behavior of pulsing glaciers. It is based on the concept of glaciohydraulic supercooling, and includes sediment transport and erosion along an adverse slope, ice thickening, and ablation of the ice surface such that the ratio of the angle of the adverse slope to ice surface slope oscillates around the supercooling threshold.

  6. A semi-automatic method to create central glacier flow lines: A pilot study with Alaskan glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Le Bris, R.; Paul, F.

    2012-04-01

    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.

  7. An Initial AUV Investigation of the Morainal Bank and Ice-Proximal Submarine Processes of the Advancing Hubbard Glacier, Southeast Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lawson, D. E.; Gulick, S. P. S.; Goff, J. A.; O'Halloran, W.

    2014-12-01

    The movement of an advancing tidewater glacier occurs in concert with the morainal bank that underlies its terminus. The mechanics of motion and sedimentological processes responsible for this advance of the morainal bank with the calving terminus are not well-defined and based largely on inferences from geophysical analyses of remnant morainal banks on fjord floors. There is a general absence of in situ or direct observation of the submarine margin because it is nearly impossible to access the immediate area of the ice face by boat safely. In order to obtain such data, in June 2014 we tested the ability of a Bluefin 9M AUV (autonomous underwater vehicle) to acquire high resolution swath bathymetry and sidescan backscatter across a ~2 km long section of the ice face of Hubbard Glacier (see also Goff et al., this meeting). Additionally onboard oceanographic measurements were taken that can be compared with surface cast CTD profiles obtained during AUV deployment, including locations with subglacial discharges. The AUV test provides details on the geometry of the morainal bank and nature of the fjord wall surfaces. The decimeter-scale imagery of the seabed reveals numerous erosional and depositional bedforms and gravitational features on the morainal bank's proximal slope. Closer to the ice face, the morainal bank surface appears much coarser, with textural patterns of unknown origin, and gravel lags including boulder fields. Comparing the water depth from the AUV survey with that of NOAA bathymetric data from 2004/2006 shows the morainal bank continued to advance in pace with ice advance into fjord waters over 200m deep, water depths shoaling up to 100m near the present ice margin. The glimpse of the morainal bank afforded by the AUV test clearly demonstrated the value of this technology to ice marginal submarine investigations.

  8. The Bay in Place of a Glacier.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Howell, Wayne

    1997-01-01

    The cultural resource specialist at Glacier Bay National Park (Alaska) explains the collaborative efforts of park staff and the Hoonah Tlingit to overcome language and cultural barriers in documenting park place names and clan oral history and traditions. The new park-community relationship, which follows decades of conflict, includes training

  9. The Bay in Place of a Glacier.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Howell, Wayne

    1997-01-01

    The cultural resource specialist at Glacier Bay National Park (Alaska) explains the collaborative efforts of park staff and the Hoonah Tlingit to overcome language and cultural barriers in documenting park place names and clan oral history and traditions. The new park-community relationship, which follows decades of conflict, includes training…

  10. Glaciers and Global Climate

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hall, Dorothy K.

    1999-01-01

    Glaciers are important indicators of global climate. Glacier recession, as observed from space and in the field, has been occurring for about 100 years. The present extent of glaciers and glaciers in the last Ice Age will be discussed. I will show slides of field work on glaciers and show instruments used to measure ice and snow. I will discuss reasons for studying glaciers and why remote sensing is important for glacier studies.

  11. Jakobshavn Glacier

    Atmospheric Science Data Center

    2013-04-17

    ... gives rise to the green color of the water; and blue-colored melt ponds are visible in the bright white ice. A scattering of small icebergs in Disco Bay adds a touch of glittery ... Glacier location: Greenland Arctic Ocean thumbnail: ...

  12. Alpine Glaciers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2003-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site]

    Released 27 August 2003

    This image shows part of the western flank of Arsia Mons, the southernmost of the three great Tharsis Montes. The surface shows parallel ridges more reminiscent of a Zen garden than any typical geological feature. These ridges are not typical of lava flow fronts, so a different explanation has been proposed by Mars scientists. These ridges may instead be ancient signs of previously existing glaciers that formed high on the volcano's flank. As glaciers retreat with the seasons and shifting climate, they leave behind a mound of debris along their receding edge. Successive retreats can produce a series of parallel ridges similar to those seen here.

    Image information: VIS instrument. Latitude -6.9, Longitude 230.5 East (129.5 West). 19 meter/pixel resolution.

  13. Measured Climate Induced Volume Changes of Three Glaciers and Current Glacier-Climate Response Prediction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Trabant, D. C.; March, R. S.; Cox, L. H.; Josberger, E. G.

    2003-12-01

    Small but hydrologically significant shifts in climate have affected the rates of glacier volume change at the three U.S. Geological Survey Benchmark glaciers. Rate changes are detected as inflections in the cumulative conventional and reference-surface mass-balances of Wolverine and Gulkana Glaciers in Alaska and South Cascade Glacier in Washington. The cumulative mass balances are robust and have recently been corroborated by geodetic determinations of glacier volume change. Furthermore, the four-decade length of record is unique for the western hemisphere. Balance trends at South Cascade Glacier in Washington are generally in the opposite sense compared with Wolverine Glacier in Alaska; NCEP correlation of winter balance with local winter temperatures is positive at 0.59 for Wolverine and -0.64 for South Cascade Glacier. At Wolverine Glacier, the negative trend of cumulative mass balances, since measurements began in 1965, was replaced by a growth trend \\(positive mass balances\\) during the late 1970s and 1980s. The positive mass-balance trend was driven by increased precipitation during the 1976/77 to 1989 period. At Gulkana Glacier, the cumulative mass-balance trend has been negative throughout its measurement history, but with rate-change inflection points that coincide with the interdecadal climate-regime shifts in the North Pacific indices. At South Cascade Glacier, the mass-loss trend, observed since measurements began in 1953, was replaced by a positive trend between 1970 and 1976 then became strongly and continuously negative until 1997 when the rate of loss generally decreased. Since 1989, the trends of the glaciers in Alaska have also been strongly negative. These loss rates are the highest rates in the entire record. The strongly negative trends during the 1990s agree with climate studies that suggest that the period since the 1989 regime shift has been unusual. Volume response time and reference surface balance are the current suggested methods for analyzing the response of glaciers to climate. Volume response times are relatively simple to determine and can be used to evaluate the temporal, areal, and volumetric affects of a climate change. However, the quasi-decadal period between the recent climate-regime shifts is several times less than the theoretical volume readjustment response times for the benchmark glaciers. If hydrologically significant climate shifts recur at quasi-decadal intervals and if most glaciers' volume-response times are several times longer \\(true for all but a few small, steep glaciers\\), most medium and large glaciers are responding to the current climate and a fading series of regime shifts which, themselves, vary in magnitude. This confused history of driver trends prevent conventional balances from being simply correlated with climate. Reference-surface balances remove the dynamic response of glaciers from the balance trend by holding the surface area distribution constant. This effectively makes the reference surface balances directly correlated with the current climatic forcing. The challenging problem of predicting how a glacier will respond to real changes in climate may require a combination of the volume response time and reference surface mass balances applied to a long time-series of measured values that contain hydrologically significant variations.

  14. Shepard Glacier, Glacier National Park, Montana - 2005

    USGS Multimedia Gallery

    The thick, crevassed, ice flows of historic Shepard Glacier have been diminished to less than 0.1 square kilometer in area by 2005. According to the criteria set by the USGS Repeat Photography Project, Shepard Glacier is now considered to be too small to be defined as a glacier. (Blase Reardon)...

  15. Columbia Glacier in 1986; 800 meters retreat

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Krimmel, R.M.

    1987-01-01

    Columbia Glacier, in Prince William Sound, Alaska, continued its rapid retreat in 1986, with a retreat of 800 m. Average velocity of the lower portion of the glacier, 10 September 1986 to 26 January 1987, was three km/yr, or about one-half of the velocity during similar periods for the previous three years. This reduced velocity is a new development in the progression of the retreat, and if the calving rate follows the pattern of previous years, will result in continued retreat. (Author 's abstract)

  16. Reanalysis of the USGS Alaskan benchmark glacier dataset

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Beusekom, A. E.; O'Neel, S.; March, R. S.; Sass, L. C.

    2010-12-01

    Resolving the relationship between glacier surface-forcing (climate) and glacier geometry changes is accomplished through mass-balance estimates which can be made with remote sensing methods or field-based observations. The small scale of Alaskan glaciers has prevented remote sensing methods until recently, and field data are essential for validating new techniques. Field data provide the only long duration record that can be studied with respect to climate. The United States Geological Survey has maintained a 44-year mass-balance program at Alaskas Gulkana Glacier and Wolverine Glacier. We have reanalyzed the Alaskan benchmark glaciers mass balance time series so that all data are treated similarly and systematically. Both glaciers are undergoing sustained mass loss with an increasing rate in recent years. However, the magnitude of the calculated loss depends on the number and location of the data collection sites. We explore the sensitivity of the glacier-wide balance estimates to the method of integration used on the necessarily point data. The robustness of the balance is strengthened with use of independent photogrammetric measurements.

  17. Assessing streamflow sensitivity to variations in glacier mass balance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oneel, S.; Hood, E. W.; Arendt, A. A.; Sass, L. C.; March, R. S.

    2013-12-01

    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.

  18. Southeastern Alaska tectonostratigraphic terranes revisited

    SciTech Connect

    Brew, D.A.; Ford, A.B.

    1985-04-01

    The presence of only three major tectonostratigraphic terranes (TSTs) in southeastern Alaska and northwestern British Columbia (Chugach, Wrangell, and Alexander) is indicated by critical analysis of available age, stratigraphic, and structural data. A possible fourth TST (Stikine) is probably an equivalent of part or all of the Alexander. The Yakutat block belongs to the Chugach TST, and both are closely linked to the Wrangell and Alexander(-Stikine) TSTs; the Gravina TST is an overlap assemblage. THe Alexander(-Stikine) TSTs is subdivided on the basis of age and facies. The subterranes within it share common substrates and represent large-scale facies changes in a long-lived island-arc environment. The Taku TSTs is the metamorphic equivalent of the upper part (Permian and Upper Triassic) of the Alexander(-Stikine) TSTs with some fossil evidence preserved that indicates the age of protoliths. Similarly, the Tracy Arm TST is the metamorphic equivalent of (1) the lower (Ordovician to Carboniferous) Alexander TST without any such fossil evidence and (2) the upper (Permian to Triassic) Alexander(-Stikine) with some newly discovered fossil evidence. Evidence for the ages of juxtaposition of the TSTs is limited. The Chugach TST deformed against the Wrangell and Alexander TSTs in late Cretaceous. Gravina rocks were deformed at the time and also earlier. The Wrangell TST was stitched to the Alexander(-Stikine) by middle Cretaceous plutons but may have arrived before its Late Jurassic plutons were emplaced. The Alexander(-Stikine) and Cache Creek TSTs were juxtaposed before Late Triassic.

  19. Muir Glacier Retreats

    USGS Multimedia Gallery

    Muir Glacier has retreated out of the field of view and is now nearly 5 miles to the northwest. Riggs Glacier has retreated as much as 2000 ft and thinned by more than 800 feet. Note the dense vegetation that has developed. Also note the correlation between Muir Glaciers 1941 thickness and th...

  20. Principles of Glacier Mechanics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Waddington, Edwin D.

    Glaciers are awesome in size and move at a majestic pace, and they frequently occupy spectacular mountainous terrain. Naturally, many Earth scientists are attracted to glaciers. Some of us are even fortunate enough to make a career of studying glacier flow. Many others work on the large, flat polar ice sheets where there is no scenery. As a leader of one of the foremost research projects now studying the flow of mountain glaciers (Storglaciaren, Norway), Roger Hooke is well qualified to describe the principles of glacier mechanics. Principles of Glacier Mechanics is written for upper-level undergraduate students and graduate students with an interest in glaciers and the landforms that glaciers produce. While most of the examples in the text are drawn from valley glacier studies, much of the material is also relevant to glacier flatland on the polar ice sheets.

  1. Assessment Of Errors In Long-Term Mass Balance Records From Alaska, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    March, R. S.; van Beusekom, A. E.; O'Neel, S.

    2009-12-01

    The USGS maintains a long-term glacier mass balance monitoring program at Gulkana and Wolverine glaciers in Alaska. The records produced by this program are a major component of the worlds mountain glacier balance inventory due to the scarcity of such long-term measurements. Recent data that show rapid glacier volume loss in Alaska further emphasize the importance of these records. An integral part of the long-term mass balance program is repeated assessment of the validity of the methods because bias errors in mass balance data are cumulative. Long-term glacier mass balance records in Alaska have previously been shown to be in good agreement with geodetically determined volume changes despite a minimal network of mass balance stakes. Because the rates of negative mass balance and change in glacier geometry have recently increased, this work reassess whether or not the existing stake networks and method of determining glacier-average balance are still working adequately.

  2. 36 CFR 13.1116 - Do I need a camping permit in Glacier Bay?

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-07-01

    ... 36 Parks, Forests, and Public Property 1 2014-07-01 2014-07-01 false Do I need a camping permit in Glacier Bay? 13.1116 Section 13.1116 Parks, Forests, and Public Property NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM UNITS IN ALASKA Special Regulations-Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve General Provisions §...

  3. 36 CFR 13.1109 - Off-road vehicle use in Glacier Bay National Preserve.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... 36 Parks, Forests, and Public Property 1 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Off-road vehicle use in Glacier Bay National Preserve. 13.1109 Section 13.1109 Parks, Forests, and Public Property NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM UNITS IN ALASKA Special Regulations-Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve...

  4. Glaciers: A water resource

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Meier, Mark; Post, Austin

    1995-01-01

    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?

  5. USGS collects ice core through Alpine glacier

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Naftz, David L.; Miller, Kirk A.

    1992-01-01

    On August 24, 1991, a U.S. Geological Survey study team from Wyoming completed a core hole to bedrock underlying Upper Fremont Glacier in the Wind River Range of central Wyoming. During the month of core drilling, the team collected a 160-m ice core from the glacier at an elevation of 4000 m above sea level using a solar-powered thermal drill (See photo). The drill was constructed and operated by personnel from the Polar Ice Coring Office (PICO) in Fairbanks, Alaska.The 1991 drilling project is part of ongoing research conducted by the USGS since 1988 on temperate glaciers in the Wind River Range of Wyoming. The objective of the project is to use variations in concentrations of chemical and isotopic constituents in samples of ice cores to reconstruct records of the chemical quality of atmospheric deposition and to extend long-term climatic records. A maximum of 300-500 years of record is estimated to be available in upper accumulation zones of the Wind River Range glaciers. The proximity of the Wind River Range glaciers to atmospheric pollution sources in the western United States makes them unique environmental records. Cooperating in the project were the Shoshone and Arapaho Indian tribes, Wyoming Water Development Commission, PICO, Wyoming State Engineer, and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

  6. Improving Mass Balance Modeling of Benchmark Glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Beusekom, A. E.; March, R. S.; O'Neel, S.

    2009-12-01

    The USGS monitors long-term glacier mass balance at three benchmark glaciers in different climate regimes. The coastal and continental glaciers are represented by Wolverine and Gulkana Glaciers in Alaska, respectively. Field measurements began in 1966 and continue. We have reanalyzed the published balance time series with more modern methods and recomputed reference surface and conventional balances. Addition of the most recent data shows a continuing trend of mass loss. We compare the updated balances to the previously accepted balances and discuss differences. Not all balance quantities can be determined from the field measurements. For surface processes, we model missing information with an improved degree-day model. Degree-day models predict ablation from the sum of daily mean temperatures and an empirical degree-day factor. We modernize the traditional degree-day model as well as derive new degree-day factors in an effort to closer match the balance time series and thus better predict the future state of the benchmark glaciers. For subsurface processes, we model the refreezing of meltwater for internal accumulation. We examine the sensitivity of the balance time series to the subsurface process of internal accumulation, with the goal of determining the best way to include internal accumulation into balance estimates.

  7. Widespread decadal-scale decrease of glacier speed revealed using repeat optical satellite images

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heid, T.; Kb, A.

    2012-04-01

    Matching of repeat optical satellite images to derive glacier velocities is an approach that is much used within glaciology. Lately, focus has been put into developing, improving, automating and comparing different image matching methods. This makes it now possible to investigate glacier dynamics within large regions of the world and also between regions to improve knowledge about glacier dynamics in space and time. In this study we investigate whether the negative glacier mass balance seen over large parts of the world has caused the glaciers to change their speeds. The studied regions are Pamir, Caucasus, Penny Ice Cap, Alaska Range and Patagonia. In addition we derive speed changes for Karakoram, a region assumed to have positive mass balance and that contains many surge-type glaciers. We find that the mapped glaciers in the five regions with negative mass balance have decreased their speeds over the last decades, Pamir by 43 % in average per decade, Caucasus by 8 % in average per decade, Penny Ice Cap by 25 % in average per decade, Alaska Range by 11 % in average per decade and Patagonia by 20 % in average per decade. Glaciers in Karakoram have generally increased their speeds, but surging glaciers and glaciers with flow instabilities are most prominent in this area.

  8. Worldwide widespread decadal-scale decrease of glacier speed revealed using repeat optical satellite images

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heid, T.; Kb, A.

    2011-10-01

    Matching of repeat optical satellite images to derive glacier velocities is an approach that is much used within glaciology. Lately, focus has been put into developing, improving, automating and comparing different image matching methods. This makes it now possible to investigate glacier dynamics within large regions of the world and also between regions to improve knowledge about glacier dynamics in space and time. In this study we investigate whether the negative glacier mass balance seen over large parts of the world has caused the glaciers to change their speeds. The studied regions are Pamir, Caucasus, Penny Ice Cap, Alaska Range and Patagonia. In addition we derive speed changes for Karakoram, a region assumed to have positive mass balance and that contains many surge-type glaciers. We find that the mapped glaciers in the five regions with negative mass balance have decreased their speeds over the last decades, Pamir by 43 % in average per decade, Caucasus by 8 % in average per decade, Penny Ice Cap by 25 % in average per decade, Alaska Range by 11 % in average per decade and Patagonia by 20 % in average per decade. Glaciers in Karakoram have generally increased their speeds, but surging glaciers and glaciers with flow instabilities are most prominent in this area.

  9. Holocene glaciation of Alaska (and Adjoining YUKON Territory, Canada)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Calkin, Parker E.

    Holocene glacial fluctuations between Arctic, central interior, and southern maritime Alaska are broadly synchronous. This synchrony is evident from a review of work in 11 study areas with varying numbers of glaciers (3-100), glacier types (subpolar cirque, temperate valley, tidewater, surging), and dating methodologies. The pattern is temporally and spatially consistent with vegetation data, and generally with climatic deteriorations culminating in the Little Ice Age. Early Holocene glacial advances are confirmed for 7.6-5.8 lichen ka BP at 4 of 97 glaciers in the Brooks Range; advances also occurred by 5.85 and 5.7 ka BP at separate glacier tongues in the northern Alaska Range, at least by 6-5 ka BP in Lituya Bay, and possibly also in the Malaspina and Aleutian Islands areas. A sharp increase in glacier activity began by 4.4 ka BP in the Arctic and Glacier Bay areas, and by about 3 ka BP major glacier advances probably were initiated or well underway throughout Alaska. During Holocene glacial maxima, ice filled Glacier and Lituya Bays as well as fjords of Prince William Sound, and massive moraines buried forests in the northeastern St. Elias Mountains area. Minor recession is recorded directly or implied in most of Alaska about 2 ka BP or locally through the following millennium. Subsequently, distinct but locally weak advances occurred by about 1.2 ka BP in most areas, again followed by intervals of glacier recession. Most pervasive and ubiquitous were the Little Ice Age advances initiated about 700 BP. These generally culminated in two major advances between about 400 and 50 BP. In the Arctic, those of A.D. 1600 dominated those of the late 1800s; in the Gulf of Alaska, those of the middle 1700s or late 1800s dominated. Large scale, asynchronous advances and retreats of calving tidewater glaciers have been recorded during the twentieth century but most such movements are only indirectly related to climate.

  10. Columbia Glacier stake location, mass balance, glacier surface altitude, and ice radar data, 1978 measurement year

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mayo, L.R.; Trabant, D.C.; March, Rod; Haeberli, Wilfried

    1979-01-01

    A 1 year data-collection program on Columbia Glacier, Alaska has produced a data set consisting of near-surface ice kinematics, mass balance, and altitude change at 57 points and 34 ice radar soundings. These data presented in two tables, are part of the basic data required for glacier dynamic analysis, computer models, and predictions of the number and size of icebergs which Columbia Glacier will calve into shipping lanes of eastern Prince William Sound. A metric, sea-level coordinate system was developed for use in surveying throughout the basin. Its use is explained and monument coordinates listed. A series of seven integrated programs for calculators were used in both the field and office to reduce the surveying data. These programs are thoroughly documented and explained in the report. (Kosco-USGS)

  11. GeoFORCE Alaska, A Successful Summer Exploring Alaska's Geology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wartes, D.

    2012-12-01

    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.

  12. Columbia Bay, Alaska: an 'upside down' estuary

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Walters, R.A.; Josberger, E.G.; Driedger, C.L.

    1988-01-01

    Circulation and water properties within Columbia Bay, Alaska, are dominated by the effects of Columbia Glacier at the head of the Bay. The basin between the glacier terminus and the terminal moraine (sill depth of about 22 m) responds as an 'upside down' estuary with the subglacial discharge of freshwater entering at the bottom of the basin. The intense vertical mixing caused by the bouyant plume of freshwater creates a homogeneous water mass that exchanges with the far-field water through either a two- or a three-layer flow. In general, the glacier acts as a large heat sink and creates a water mass which is cooler than that in fjords without tidewater glaciers. The predicted retreat of Columbia Glacier would create a 40 km long fjord that has characteristics in common with other fjords in Prince William Sound. ?? 1988.

  13. Unusually loud ambient noise in tidewater glacier fjords: a signal of ice melt

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pettit, Erin C.; Lee, Kevin M.; Brann, Joel P.; Nystuen, Jeffrey A.; Wilson, Preston S.; O'Neel, Shad

    2015-01-01

    In glacierized fjords, the ice-ocean boundary is a physically and biologically dynamic environment that is sensitive to both glacier flow and ocean circulation. Ocean ambient noise offers insight into processes and change at the ice-ocean boundary. Here we characterize fjord ambient noise and show that the average noise levels are louder than nearly all measured natural oceanic environments (significantly louder than sea ice and non-glacierized fjords). Icy Bay, Alaska has an annual average sound pressure level of 120 dB (re 1 μPa) with a broad peak between 1000 and 3000 Hz. Bubble formation in the water column as glacier ice melts is the noise source, with variability driven by fjord circulation patterns. Measurements from two additional fjords, in Alaska and Antarctica, support that this unusually loud ambient noise in Icy Bay is representative of glacierized fjords. These high noise levels likely alter the behavior of marine mammals.

  14. 36 CFR 13.1134 - Who is eligible for a Glacier Bay commercial fishing lifetime access permit?

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-07-01

    ... Property NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM UNITS IN ALASKA Special... holder or crewmember for at least 2 years during the period 1992-1998. (2) For the Glacier Bay salmon...

  15. 36 CFR 13.1134 - Who is eligible for a Glacier Bay commercial fishing lifetime access permit?

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... Property NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM UNITS IN ALASKA Special... holder or crewmember for at least 2 years during the period 1992-1998. (2) For the Glacier Bay salmon...

  16. 36 CFR 13.1134 - Who is eligible for a Glacier Bay commercial fishing lifetime access permit?

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-07-01

    ... Property NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM UNITS IN ALASKA Special... holder or crewmember for at least 2 years during the period 1992-1998. (2) For the Glacier Bay salmon...

  17. 36 CFR 13.1134 - Who is eligible for a Glacier Bay commercial fishing lifetime access permit?

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-07-01

    ... Property NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM UNITS IN ALASKA Special... holder or crewmember for at least 2 years during the period 1992-1998. (2) For the Glacier Bay salmon...

  18. Comparative metagenome analysis of an Alaskan glacier.

    PubMed

    Choudhari, Sulbha; Lohia, Ruchi; Grigoriev, Andrey

    2014-04-01

    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

  19. Repeat optical satellite images reveal widespread and long term decrease in land-terminating glacier speeds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heid, T.; Kb, A.

    2012-04-01

    By matching of repeat optical satellite images it is now possible to investigate glacier dynamics within large regions of the world and also between regions to improve knowledge about glacier dynamics in space and time. In this study we investigate whether the negative glacier mass balance seen over large parts of the world has caused the glaciers to change their speeds. The studied regions are Pamir, Caucasus, Penny Ice Cap, Alaska Range and Patagonia. In addition we derive speed changes for Karakoram, a region assumed to have positive mass balance and that contains many surge-type glaciers. We find that the mapped glaciers in the five regions with negative mass balance have over the last decades decreased their velocity at an average rate per decade of: 43 % in the Pamir, 8 % in the Caucasus, 25 % on Penny Ice Cap, 11 % in the Alaska Range and 20 % in Patagonia. Glaciers in Karakoram have generally increased their speeds, but surging glaciers and glaciers with flow instabilities are most prominent in this area. Therefore the calculated average speed change is not representative for this area.

  20. Glacier-terminus fluctuations in the Wrangell and Chugach mountains resulting from non-climate controls

    SciTech Connect

    Sturm, M.; Hall, D.K.; Benson, C.S.; Field, W.O.

    1992-03-01

    Non-climatically controlled fluctuations of glacier termini were studied in two regions in Alaska. In the Wrangell Mountains, eight glaciers on Mt. Wrangell, an active volcano, have been monitored over the past 30 years using terrestrial surveys, aerial photogrammetry and digitally registered satellite images. Results, which are consistent between different methods of measurement, indicate that the termini of most glaciers were stationary or had retreated slightly. However, the termini of the 30-km-long Ahtna Glacier and the smaller Center and South MacKeith glaciers began to advance in the early 1960s and have advanced steadily at rates between 5 and 18 m yr-1 since then. These three glaciers flow from the summit caldera of ML Wrangell near the active North Crater, where increased volcanic heating since 1964 has melted over 7 x 107 M3 of ice. The authors suspect that volcanic meltwater has changed the basal conditions for the glaciers, resulting in their advance. In College Fjord, Prince William Sound, the terminus fluctuations of two tidewater glaciers have been monitored since 1931 by terrestrial surveying, photogrammetry, and most recently, from satellite imagery. Harvard Glacier, a 40-kmlong tidewater glacier, has been advancing steadily at nearly 20 m yr-1 since 1931, while the adjacent Yale Glacier has retreated at approximately 50 m yr-1 during the same period, though for short periods, both rates have been much higher.

  1. The thermophysics of glaciers

    SciTech Connect

    Zotikov, I.A.

    1986-01-01

    This volume presents the results of experimental and theoretical work on the thermodynamics of ice sheets and glaciers. The author has carried out extensive field work in both the Soviet Union and Antarctica over the last 25 years and has contributed to the understanding of the thermophysics of glaciers. The topics covered in this volume embrace heat flow measurement and temperature distributions in glaciers, the thermal drilling of glaciers, the melting and freezing of ice sheets, and other thermophysical problems. Also included are topics of relevance to glacial engineering.

  2. Late nineteenth to early twenty-first century behavior of Alaskan glaciers as indicators of changing regional climate

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Molnia, B.F.

    2007-01-01

    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. Weather station temperature data document that air temperatures throughout Alaska have been increasing for many decades. Since the mid-20th century, the average change is an increase of ?????2.0????C. In order to determine the magnitude and pattern of response of glaciers to this regional climate change, a comprehensive analysis was made of the recent behavior of hundreds of glaciers located in the eleven Alaskan mountain ranges and three island areas that currently support glaciers. Data analyzed included maps, historical observations, thousands of ground-and-aerial photographs and satellite images, and vegetation proxy data. Results were synthesized to determine changes in length and area of individual glaciers. Alaskan ground photography dates from 1883, aerial photography dates from 1926, and satellite photography and imagery dates from the early 1960s. Unfortunately, very few Alaskan glaciers have any mass balance observations. In most areas analyzed, every glacier that descends below an elevation of ?????1500??m is currently thinning and/or retreating. Many glaciers have an uninterrupted history of continuous post-Little-Ice-Age retreat that spans more than 250??years. Others are characterized by multiple late 19th to early 21st century fluctuations. Today, retreating and/or thinning glaciers represent more than 98% of the glaciers examined. However, in the Coast Mountains, St. Elias Mountains, Chugach Mountains, and the Aleutian Range more than a dozen glaciers are currently advancing and thickening. Many currently advancing glaciers are or were formerly tidewater glaciers. Some of these glaciers have been expanding for more than two centuries. This presentation documents the post-Little-Ice-Age behavior and variability of the response of many Alaskan glaciers to changing regional climate. ?? 2006.

  3. Remote sensing of global snowpack energy and mass balance: In-situ measurements on the snow of interior and Arctic Alaska

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Benson, Carl S.

    1994-01-01

    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.

  4. Denali Fault: Susitna Glacier

    USGS Multimedia Gallery

    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...

  5. Satellite Observations of Surface Flow Variations at Southeast Alaskan Glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Elliott, J.; Melkonian, A. K.; Pritchard, M. E.; Willis, M. J.

    2013-12-01

    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.

  6. 2. HORSESHOE CURVE IN GLACIER POINT ROAD NEAR GLACIER POINT. ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    2. HORSESHOE CURVE IN GLACIER POINT ROAD NEAR GLACIER POINT. HALF DOME AT CENTER REAR. LOOKING NNE. GIS N-37 43 44.3 / W-119 34 14.1 - Glacier Point Road, Between Chinquapin Flat & Glacier Point, Yosemite Village, Mariposa County, CA

  7. HORSESHOE CURVE IN GLACIER POINT ROAD NEAR GLACIER POINT. HALF ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    HORSESHOE CURVE IN GLACIER POINT ROAD NEAR GLACIER POINT. HALF DOME AT CENTER REAR. SAME VIEW AT CA-157-2. LOOKING NNE. GIS: N-37' 43 44.3 / W-119 34 14.1 - Glacier Point Road, Between Chinquapin Flat & Glacier Point, Yosemite Village, Mariposa County, CA

  8. Contribution of Alaskan glaciers to sea-level rise derived from satellite imagery

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Berthier, E.; Schiefer, E.; Clarke, G. K. C.; Menounos, B.; Rmy, F.

    2010-02-01

    Over the past 50 years, retreating glaciers and ice caps contributed 0.5mmyr-1 to sea-level rise, and one third of this contribution is believed to come from ice masses bordering the Gulf of Alaska. However, these estimates of ice loss in Alaska are based on measurements of a limited number of glaciers that are extrapolated to constrain ice wastage in the many thousands of others. Uncertainties in these estimates arise, for example, from the complex pattern of decadal elevation changes at the scale of individual glaciers and mountain ranges. Here we combine a comprehensive glacier inventory with elevation changes derived from sequential digital elevation models. We find that between 1962 and 2006, Alaskan glaciers lost 41.9+/-8.6km3yr-1 of water, and contributed 0.12+/-0.02mm yr-1 to sea-level rise, 34% less than estimated earlier. Reasons for our lower values include the higher spatial resolution of our glacier inventory as well as the reduction of ice thinning underneath debris and at the glacier margins, which were not resolved in earlier work. We suggest that estimates of mass loss from glaciers and ice caps in other mountain regions could be subject to similar revisions.

  9. Seismic Monitoring of Ice Generated Events at the Bering Glacier

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fitzgerald, K.; Richardson, J.; Pennington, W.

    2008-12-01

    The Bering Glacier, located in southeast Alaska, is the largest glacier in North America with a surface area of approximately 5,175 square kilometers. It extends from its source in the Bagley Icefield to its terminus in tidal Vitus Lake, which drains into the Gulf of Alaska. It is known that the glacier progresses downhill through the mechanisms of plastic crystal deformation and basal sliding. However, the basal processes which take place tens to hundreds of meters below the surface are not well understood, except through the study of sub- glacial landforms and passive seismology. Additionally, the sub-glacial processes enabling the surges, which occur approximately every two decades, are poorly understood. Two summer field campaigns in 2007 and 2008 were designed to investigate this process near the terminus of the glacier. During the summer of 2007, a field experiment at the Bering Glacier was conducted using a sparse array of L-22 short period sensors to monitor ice-related events. The array was in place for slightly over a week in August and consisted of five stations centered about the final turn of the glacier west of the Grindle Hills. Many events were observed, but due to the large distance between stations and the highly attenuating surface ice, few events were large enough to be recorded on sufficient stations to be accurately located and described. During August 2008, six stations were deployed for a similar length of time, but with a closer spacing. With this improved array, events were located and described more accurately, leading to additional conclusions about the surface, interior, and sub-glacial ice processes producing seismic signals. While the glacier was not surging during the experiment, this study may provide information on the non-surging, sub-glacial base level activity. It is generally expected that another surge will take place within a few years, and baseline studies such as this may assist in understanding the nature of surges.

  10. Discriminating glacier thermal and dynamic regimes in the sedimentary record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hambrey, Michael J.; Glasser, Neil F.

    2012-04-01

    This paper provides a description and evaluation of the sedimentary facies and environments associated with a range of glacier thermal and dynamic regimes, with additional consideration given to the tectonic context. New and previously published data are evaluated together, and are presented from modern terrestrial and marine glacial sedimentary environments in order to identify a set of criteria that can be used to discriminate between different glacier thermal regimes and dynamic styles in the sedimentary record. Sedimentological data are presented from a total of 28 glaciers in 11 geographical areas that represent a wide range of contemporary thermal, dynamic and topographic regimes. In the context of "landsystems", representatives from terrestrial environments include temperate glaciers in the European Alps, Patagonia, New Zealand, the Cordillera Blanca (Peru), cold glaciers in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula region, and polythermal valley glaciers in Svalbard, northern Sweden, the Yukon and the Khumbu Himal (Nepal). The glaciomarine environment is illustrated by data from cold and polythermal glacier margins on the East Antarctic continental shelf, and from a polythermal tidewater glacier in Svalbard, along with general observations from temperate glaciers in Alaska. These data show that temperate glacial systems, particularly in high-relief areas, are dominated by rockfall and avalanche processes, although sediments are largely reworked by glaciofluvial processes. Debris in polythermal glaciers is both thermally and topographically influenced. In areas of moderate relief, debris is mainly of basal glacial origin, and the resulting facies association is dominated by diamicton. In high-relief areas such as the Himalaya, the debris load in polythermal glaciers is dominated by rockfall and avalanche inputs, resulting in extensive accumulations of sandy boulder-gravel. Cold glaciers are dominated by basal debris-entrainment, but sediments are little modified from the source materials, which are typically sandy boulder-gravel from older till, and sand (from glaciofluvial, glaciolacustrine and aeolian sources). Similar facies associations, but with different facies geometry and thickness occur in equivalent glaciomarine settings. Application of these concepts can aid the interpretation of glacier thermal regime (and hence palaeoclimate) in Quaternary and ancient glacial systems.

  11. Unusually loud ambient noise in tidewater glacier fjords: A signal of ice melt

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pettit, Erin Christine; Lee, Kevin Michael; Brann, Joel Palmer; Nystuen, Jeffrey Aaron; Wilson, Preston Scot; O'Neel, Shad

    2015-04-01

    In glacierized fjords, the ice-ocean boundary is a physically and biologically dynamic environment that is sensitive to both glacier flow and ocean circulation. Ocean ambient noise offers insight into processes and change at the ice-ocean boundary. Here we characterize fjord ambient noise and show that the average noise levels are louder than nearly all measured natural oceanic environments (significantly louder than sea ice and nonglacierized fjords). Icy Bay, Alaska, has an annual average sound pressure level of 120 dB (referenced to 1 ?Pa) with a broad peak between 1000 and 3000 Hz. Bubble formation in the water column as glacier ice melts is the noise source, with variability driven by fjord circulation patterns. Measurements from two additional fjords, in Alaska and Antarctica, support that this unusually loud ambient noise in Icy Bay is representative of glacierized fjords. These high noise levels likely alter the behavior of marine mammals.

  12. Dendrochronology to the Beat of a Different Drummer: Lakes Dammed by a Tidewater Glacier Out of Phase with Climate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Capps, D.; Wiles, G.; Clague, J.

    2009-04-01

    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 jkulhlaups 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. Jkulhlaups 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.

  13. Ablation of Martian glaciers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Moore, Henry J.; Davis, Philip A.

    1987-01-01

    Glacier like landforms are observed in the fretted terrain of Mars in the latitude belts near + or - 42 deg. It was suggested that sublimation or accumulation-ablation rates could be estimated for these glaciers if their shapes were known. To this end, photoclinometric profiles were obtained of a number of these landforms. On the basis of analyses of these profiles, it was concluded that ice is chiefly ablating from these landforms that either are inactive rock-glaciers or have materials within them that are moving exceedingly slowly at this time. These conclusions are consistent with other geologic information. The analyses were performed using a two-dimensional model of an isothermal glacier.

  14. Bruggen Glacier, Chile

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    The Expedition 3 crew of the International Space Station caught a rare glimpse of the massive ice fields and glaciers of Patagonia early in the afternoon on September 25, 2001. This part of the South American coast sees frequent storms and is often obscured from view by cloud cover. Bruggen Glacier in southern Chile is the largest western outflow from the Southern Patagonian Ice Field and, unlike most glaciers worldwide, advanced significantly since 1945. From 1945 to 1976, Bruggen surged 5 km across the Eyre Fjord, reaching the western shore by 1962 and cutting off Lake Greve from the sea. The glacier continued advancing both northward and southward in the fjord to near its present position before stabilizing. The growth covers a distance of more than 10 km north to south, adding nearly 60 square km of ice. Additional information on this and other Patagonian glaciers may be found at the following link: USGS - Historic Fluctuations of Outlet Glaciers from the Patagonian Ice Fields. Image ISS003-E-6061 was provided by the Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory at Johnson Space Center. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA-JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.

  15. A strategy for monitoring glaciers

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fountain, Andrew G.; Krimmel, Robert M.; Trabant, Dennis C.

    1997-01-01

    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.

  16. Associations between accelerated glacier mass wastage and increased summer temperature in coastal regions

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dyurgerov, M.; McCabe, G.J.

    2006-01-01

    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.

  17. Characterizing Rayleigh Wave Velocity and Amplitude Anisotropy in an Alpine Glacier

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eilar, C. A.; Mikesell, D.; Malcolm, A. E.; Bradford, J. H.

    2014-12-01

    Regular patterns of fractures in solid materials induce seismic velocity anisotropy. These fracture patterns can also create azimuthally dependent attenuation in seismic amplitudes due to a preferential scattering direction. A parallel set of surface (or bed) crevasses in a glacier is an example of one such fracture pattern. These patterns are caused by the local strains within the glacier. In this study we analyze an active source 3D seismic survey recorded at Bench Glacier, Alaska, USA. We compare the Rayleigh group wave velocity as a function of azimuth and estimate that the mean velocity is 1672 m/s and 1% velocity anisotropy exists. We present an interpretation for the observed anisotropy by comparing our results with satellite imagery of the glacier in the survey area. Finally, we present the results of ongoing analysis of the Rayleigh wave amplitudes and compare with existing studies of glacier attenuation that do not take into account scattering attenuation when estimating the ice temperature from attenuation.

  18. Alaska volcanoes guidebook for teachers

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Adleman, Jennifer N.

    2011-01-01

    Alaskas 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, Alaskas 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 612. 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.

  19. The seismic signature of glacier outburst floods (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walter, J. I.; Amundson, J. M.; Peng, Z.; Prejean, S. G.; Morgan, P.

    2013-12-01

    Glacier outburst floods discharge large volumes of water from ice-dammed lakes, moraine-dammed lakes, subglacial cavities, or other reservoirs of liquid water. Breaching of moraine- or ice-dammed lakes represent significant hazards for communities adjacent to mountainous regions and a better understanding of the phenomena is warranted. Identifying a unique seismic signature may aid in development of an early warning system and provide the ability to 'remotely' detect when areas are undergoing flooding. We focus efforts on examining seismic data from two distinct regions in Alaska. First, we recorded an outburst flood from a glacier-dammed lake adjacent to Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau, using an array of short- and broadband-period seismometers installed in ice boreholes. We manually pick icequakes and then use the template waveforms in a waveform matching technique that allows us to identify missed events during very active or otherwise noisy time periods. Second, we observe glacier-related seismicity at the Alaska Volcano Observatory network installed on the flanks of Mt Spurr, a relatively active Aleutian arc volcano 130 km west of Anchorage. The activity is plausibly a repeat of a glacier outburst flood that occurred during 1992. During the 1992 flood, an outburst flood exited from beneath a glacier that flows down the southern slope of Mt. Spurr. In both cases, the observed seismicity indicates long, emergent periods (hours to days) of continuous high frequency energy (>10 Hz) at stations closest to the outlet, during vigorous flooding. Secondly, after flooding peaks, distinct short-duration (seconds) icequake events are observed, likely due to collapse of subglacial drainages. No distinct precursors appear in the seismic record, though this may be due to aseismic small-scale failures or ice floatation that lead to the breach.

  20. Continuous Monitoring of Greenland Outlet Glaciers Using an Autonomous Terrestrial LiDAR Scanning System: Design, Development and Testing at Helheim Glacier

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    LeWinter, A. L.; Finnegan, D. C.; Hamilton, G. S.; Stearns, L. A.; Gadomski, P. J.

    2014-12-01

    Greenland's fast-flowing tidewater outlet glaciers play a critical role in modulating the ice sheet's contribution to sea level rise. Increasing evidence points to the importance of ocean forcing at the marine margins as a control on outlet glacier behavior, but a process-based understanding of glacier-ocean interactions remains elusive in part because our current capabilities for observing and quantifying system behavior at the appropriate spatial and temporal scales are limited. A recent international workshop on Greenland's marine terminating glaciers (US CLIVAR, Beverly, MA, June 2013) recommended the establishment of a comprehensive monitoring network covering Greenland's largest outlet glacier-fjord systems to collect long-term time series of critical in situ glaciological, oceanographic and atmospheric parameters needed to understand evolving relationships between different climate forcings and glacier flow. Given the remote locations and harsh environments of Greenland's glacial fjords, the development of robust autonomous instrumentation is a key step in making the observing networks a reality. This presentation discusses the design and development of a fully-autonomous ground-based Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) system for monitoring outlet glacier behavior. Initial deployment of the system is planned for spring 2015 at Helheim Glacier in southeast Greenland. The instrument will acquire multi-dimensional point-cloud measurements of the mélange, terminus, and lower-reaches of the glacier. The heart of the system is a long-range, 1064 nm wavelength Terrestrial Laser Scanner (TLS) that we have previously used in campaign-style surveys at Helheim Glacier and at Hubbard Glacier in Alaska. We draw on this experience to design and fabricate the power and enclosure components of the new system, and use previously acquired data from the instrument, collected August 2013 and July 2014 at Helheim, to optimize our data collection strategy and design the data processing and telemetry subsystems to ensure year-round data collection.

  1. The GLIMS Glacier Database

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Raup, B. H.; Khalsa, S. S.; Armstrong, R.

    2007-12-01

    The Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) project has built a geospatial and temporal database of glacier data, composed of glacier outlines and various scalar attributes. These data are being derived primarily from satellite imagery, such as from ASTER and Landsat. Each "snapshot" of a glacier is from a specific time, and the database is designed to store multiple snapshots representative of different times. We have implemented two web-based interfaces to the database; one enables exploration of the data via interactive maps (web map server), while the other allows searches based on text-field constraints. The web map server is an Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) compliant Web Map Server (WMS) and Web Feature Server (WFS). This means that other web sites can display glacier layers from our site over the Internet, or retrieve glacier features in vector format. All components of the system are implemented using Open Source software: Linux, PostgreSQL, PostGIS (geospatial extensions to the database), MapServer (WMS and WFS), and several supporting components such as Proj.4 (a geographic projection library) and PHP. These tools are robust and provide a flexible and powerful framework for web mapping applications. As a service to the GLIMS community, the database contains metadata on all ASTER imagery acquired over glacierized terrain. Reduced-resolution of the images (browse imagery) can be viewed either as a layer in the MapServer application, or overlaid on the virtual globe within Google Earth. The interactive map application allows the user to constrain by time what data appear on the map. For example, ASTER or glacier outlines from 2002 only, or from Autumn in any year, can be displayed. The system allows users to download their selected glacier data in a choice of formats. The results of a query based on spatial selection (using a mouse) or text-field constraints can be downloaded in any of these formats: ESRI shapefiles, KML (Google Earth), MapInfo, GML (Geography Markup Language) and GMT (Generic Mapping Tools). This "clip-and-ship" function allows users to download only the data they are interested in. Our flexible web interfaces to the database, which includes various support layers (e.g. a layer to help collaborators identify satellite imagery over their region of expertise) will facilitate enhanced analysis to be undertaken on glacier systems, their distribution, and their impacts on other Earth systems.

  2. Debris-Free Plateau Glacier

    USGS Multimedia Gallery

    Small debris-free plateau glacier with glacier lakes at Gangrinchemzoe Pass at 5,200 m, south of the main Himalayan divide, Bhutan. Image courtesy of Shuji Iwata, Tokyo Metropolitan University, Japan....

  3. The mysterious case of the vanishing permafrost - Gruben Rock Glacier, Switzerland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Whalley, B.

    2011-12-01

    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.

  4. Karakoram glacier surge dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Quincey, D. J.; Braun, M.; Glasser, N. F.; Bishop, M. P.; Hewitt, K.; Luckman, A.

    2011-09-01

    We examine the surges of five glaciers in the Pakistan Karakoram using satellite remote sensing to investigate the dynamic nature of surges in this region and how they may be affected by climate. Surface velocity maps derived by feature-tracking quantify the surge development spatially in relation to the terminus position, and temporally with reference to seasonal weather. We find that the season of surge initiation varies, that each surge develops gradually over several years, and that maximum velocities are recorded within the lowermost 10 km of the glacier. Measured peak surge velocities are between one and two orders of magnitude greater than during quiescence. We also note that two of the glaciers are of a type not previously reported to surge. The evidence points towards recent Karakoram surges being controlled by thermal rather than hydrological conditions, coinciding with high-altitude warming from long-term precipitation and accumulation patterns.

  5. Glaciers of Greenland

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Williams, Richard S., Jr.; Ferrigno, Jane G.

    1995-01-01

    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.

  6. Denali Fault: Black Rapids Glacier

    USGS Multimedia Gallery

    View eastward along Black Rapids Glacier. 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...

  7. Greenland Glacier Albedo Variability

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    The program for Arctic Regional Climate Assessment (PARCA) is a NASA-funded project with the prime goal of addressing the mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet. Since the formal initiation of the program in 1995, there has been a significant improvement in the estimates of the mass balance of the ice sheet. Results from this program reveal that the high-elevation regions of the ice sheet are approximately in balance, but the margins are thinning. Laser surveys reveal significant thinning along 70 percent of the ice sheet periphery below 2000 m elevations, and in at least one outlet glacier, Kangerdlugssuaq in southeast Greenland, thinning has been as much as 10 m/yr. This study examines the albedo variability in four outlet glaciers to help separate out the relative contributions of surface melting versus ice dynamics to the recent mass balance changes. Analysis of AVHRR Polar Pathfinder albedo shows that at the Petermann and Jakobshavn glaciers, there has been a negative trend in albedo at the glacier terminus from 1981 to 2000, whereas the Stor+strommen and Kangerdlugssuaq glaciers show slightly positive trends in albedo. These findings are consistent with recent observations of melt extent from passive microwave data which show more melt on the western side of Greenland and slightly less on the eastern side. Significance of albedo trends will depend on where and when the albedo changes occur. Since the majority of surface melt occurs in the shallow sloping western margin of the ice sheet where the shortwave radiation dominates the energy balance in summer (e.g. Jakobshavn region) this region will be more sensitive to changes in albedo than in regions where this is not the case. Near the Jakobshavn glacier, even larger changes in albedo have been observed, with decreases as much as 20 percent per decade.

  8. Svalbard surging glacier landsystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lovell, Harold; Benn, Douglas; Lukas, Sven; Flink, Anne

    2014-05-01

    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.

  9. Ice speed of a calving glacier modulated by small fluctuations in basal water pressure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sugiyama, Shin; Skvarca, Pedro; Naito, Nozomu; Enomoto, Hiroyuki; Tsutaki, Shun; Tone, Kenta; Marinsek, Sebastin; Aniya, Masamu

    2011-09-01

    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 understanding. Here we present high-frequency measurements of ice speed and basal water pressures from Glaciar Perito Moreno, a fast-flowing calving glacier in Patagonia. We measured water pressure in boreholes drilled at a site where the glacier is 515+/-5m thick, and where more than 60% of the ice is below the level of proglacial lakes. We found that the mean basal water pressure was about 95% of the pressure imposed by the weight of the overlying ice. Moreover, changes in basal water pressure by a few per cent drove nearly 40% of the variations in ice flow speed. The ice speed was strongly correlated to air temperature, suggesting that glacier motion was modulated by water pressure changes as meltwater entered the system. We conclude that basal water pressure in calving glaciers is important for glacier dynamics, and closely connected to climate conditions.

  10. Mechanical and hydrologic basis for the rapid motion of a large tidewater glacier. 1: Observations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Meier, Mark; Lundstrom, Scott; Stone, Dan; Kamb, Barclay; Engelhardt, Hermann; Humphrey, Neil; Dunlap, William W.; Fahnestock, Mark; Krimmel, Robert M.; Walters, Roy

    1994-01-01

    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.

  11. Alaska Permafrost

    USGS Multimedia Gallery

    General view of a 35-meter-high riverbank exposure of the ice-rich syngenetic permafrost (yedoma) containing large ice wedges along the Itkillik River in northern Alaska. Copyright-free photo courtesy of Mikhail Kanevskiy; University of Alaska Fairbanks, Institute of Northern Engineering....

  12. Pine Island Glacier

    Atmospheric Science Data Center

    2013-04-16

    ... this representation, clouds show up as light purple. Blue to orange gradations on the surface indicate a transition in ice texture from smooth to rough. For example, the bright orange "carrot-like" features are rough crevasses on the glacier's tongue. In ...

  13. Glacier generated floods

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Walder, J.S.; Fountain, A.G.

    1997-01-01

    Destructive floods result from drainage of glacier-dammed lakes and sudden release of water stored within glaciers. There is a good basis - both empirical and theoretical - for predicting the magnitude of floods from ice-dammed lakes, although some aspects of flood initiation need to be better understood. In contrast, an understanding of floods resulting from release of internally stored water remains elusive, owing to lack of knowledge of how and where water is stored and to inadequate understanding of the complex physics of the temporally and spatially variable subglacial drainage system.Destructive floods result from drainage of glacier-dammed lakes and sudden release of water stored within glaciers. There is a good basis - both empirical and theoretical - for predicting the magnitude of floods from ice-dammed lakes, although some aspects of flood initiation need to be better understood. In contrast, an understanding of floods resulting from release of internally stored water remains elusive, owing to lack of knowledge of how and where water is stored and to inadequate understanding of the complex physics of the temporally and spatially variable subglacial drainage system.

  14. The Mass Balance of Circum-Arctic Glaciers and Recent Climate Change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dowdeswell, Julian A.; Hagen, Jon Ove; Bjrnsson, Helgi; Glazovsky, Andrey F.; Harrison, William D.; Holmlund, Per; Jania, Jacek; Koerner, Roy M.; Lefauconnier, Bernard; Ommanney, C. Simon L.; Thomas, Robert H.

    1997-07-01

    The sum of winter accumulation and summer losses of mass from glaciers and ice sheets (net surface mass balance) varies with changing climate. In the Arctic, glaciers and ice caps, excluding the Greenland Ice Sheet, cover about 275,000 km 2of both the widely glacierized archipelagos of the Canadian, Norwegian, and Russian High Arctic and the area north of about 60N in Alaska, Iceland, and Scandinavia. Since the 1940s, surface mass balance time-series of varying length have been acquired from more than 40 Arctic ice caps and glaciers. Most Arctic glaciers have experienced predominantly negative net surface mass balance over the past few decades. There is no uniform recent trend in mass balance for the entire Arctic, although some regional trends occur. Examples are the increasingly negative mass balances for northern Alaska, due to higher summer temperatures, and increasingly positive mass balances for maritime Scandinavia and Iceland, due to increased winter precipitation. The negative mass balance of most Arctic glaciers may be a response to a step-like warming in the early twentieth century at the termination of the cold Little Ice Age. Arctic ice masses outside Greenland are at present contributing about 0.13 mm yr -1to global sea-level rise.

  15. Ice loss and sea level rise contribution from Alaskan glaciers derived from satellite imagery

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Berthier, Etienne; Schiefer, Erik; Clarke, Garry; Menounos, Brian; Rmy, Frdrique

    2010-05-01

    Over the last 50 years, retreating glaciers and ice caps (GIC) contributed 0.5 mm/yr to SLR, and one third is believed to originate from ice masses bordering the Gulf of Alaska. However, these estimates of ice wastage in Alaska are based on methods that directly measure mass changes from a limited number of glaciers and extrapolate the results to estimate ice loss for the many thousands of others. Here, using a new glacier inventory with elevation changes derived from sequential digital elevation models, we found that, between 1962 and 2006, Alaskan glaciers lost 41.9 8.6 km**3/yr water equivalent (w.e.) and contributed 0.12 0.02 mm/yr to SLR. Our ice loss is 34% lower than previous estimates. Reasons for our lower values include the higher spatial resolution of the glacier inventory used in our study and the complex pattern of ice elevation changes at the scale of individual glaciers and mountain ranges which was not resolved in earlier work. Estimates of mass loss from GIC in other mountain regions could be subject to similar revisions.

  16. The Natural Variability of Glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roe, G.

    2012-04-01

    Glaciers respond to both the natural variability that is intrinsic to a constant climate and also to the trends and shifts that constitute actual climate change. Over the last ten years a series of studies has shown, for a variety of climatic and glacier settings, that the standard deviation (1 sigma) of natural glacier-length fluctuations may range from 300 to 600 m. By definition of the standard deviation, a glacier will spend approximately 5% of its time outside 2? (and 1% of its time outside of 3?). Thus, fluctuations of several kilometers can be expected to occur every few centuries, even without any climate change. Because these magnitudes rival those commonly interpreted as reflecting Holocene climate changes, it is vital to improve our understanding of these natural glacier fluctuations. The physical basis for this behavior is presented. The magnitude and duration of natural glacier fluctuations depends straightforwardly on the geometry and average climate of the glacier setting, and the probability distribution of interannual climate variability. Such dependence can be demonstrated in a simple linear glacier model. The analyses are supplemented by detailed dynamical flowline modeling of glaciers around Mt. Baker in Washington State, and Franz Josef glacier in New Zealand.

  17. Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2001-01-01

    This pair of MISR images of the Pine Island Glacier in western Antarctica was acquired on December 12, 2000 during Terra orbit 5246. At left is a conventional, true-color image from the downward-looking (nadir) camera. The false-color image at right is a composite of red band data taken by the MISR forward 60-degree, nadir, and aftward 60-degree cameras, displayed in red, green, and blue colors, respectively. Color variations in the left (true-color) image highlight spectral differences. In the multi-angle composite, on the other hand, color variations act as a proxy for differences in the angular reflectance properties of the scene. In this representation, clouds show up as light purple. Blue to orange gradations on the surface indicate a transition in ice texture from smooth to rough. For example, the bright orange 'carrot-like' features are rough crevasses on the glacier's tongue. In the conventional nadir view, the blue ice labeled 'rough crevasses' and 'smooth blue ice' exhibit similar coloration, but the multi-angle composite reveals their different textures, with the smoother ice appearing dark purple instead of orange. This could be an indicator of different mechanisms by which this ice is exposed. The multi-angle view also reveals subtle roughness variations on the frozen sea ice between the glacier and the open water in Pine Island Bay.

    To the left of the 'icebergs' label are chunks of floating ice. Additionally, smaller icebergs embedded in the frozen sea ice are visible below and to the right of the label. These small icebergs are associated with dark streaks. Analysis of the illumination geometry suggests that these streaks are surface features, not shadows. Wind-driven motion and thinning of the sea ice in the vicinity of the icebergs is one possible explanation.

    Recently, Robert Bindschadler, a glaciologist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center discovered in Landsat 7 imagery a newly-formed crack traversing the Pine Island Glacier. This crack is visible as an off-vertical dark line in the MISR nadir view. In the multi-angle composite, the crack and other stress fractures show up very clearly in bright orange. Radar observations of Pine Island Glacier in the 1990's showed the glacier to be shrinking, and the newly discovered crack is expected to eventually lead to the calving of a major iceberg.

    MISR was built and is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, for NASA's Office of Earth Science, Washington, DC. The Terra satellite is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology.

  18. Erosion rates during rapid deglaciation in Icy Bay, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koppes, MichèLe; Hallet, Bernard

    2006-06-01

    Contemporary glacial erosion rates based on sediment yields in southeast Alaska merit considerable attention because they are unsurpassed worldwide, and they significantly exceed long-term exhumation rates in the region. Two issues are likely to contribute to these high rates: contemporary sediment yields in fjords (1) have generally been overestimated by failing to account for the considerable input of subaerially derived material and (2) are exceptionally high because tidewater glaciers in southeast Alaska have been anomalously dynamic and erosive during the past century of rapid retreat. To investigate these influences and to quantify the rate at which Tyndall Glacier erodes its basin we present seismic data defining the volume of sediments in Taan Fjord, Icy Bay. We subtract the contribution of subaerially derived sediments from the fjord sediment package to determine the sediment yield directly from Tyndall Glacier during the most recent period of retreat: 1962-1999. Using a numerical model of proglacial glacimarine sedimentation, we then calculate the annual sediment yield from, and the corresponding erosion rate of, Tyndall Glacier during this period, which averages 28 ± 5 mma-1. A strong correlation emerges between glacial retreat rates and glacial sediment yields, implying that most contemporary sediment yield data from retreating tidewater glaciers may correspond to contemporary erosion rates that are a factor of 3.5 ± 1.5 higher than in the long term. Hence we estimate the long-term erosion rate for Tyndall Glacier to be 9 ± 2 mma-1.

  19. Effects of lava-dome emplacement on the Mount St. Helens crater glacier

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walder, J. S.; Schilling, S. P.; Denlinger, R. P.; Vallance, J. W.

    2004-12-01

    Since the end of the 1981-1986 episode of lava-dome growth at Mount St. Helens, an unusual glacier has grown rapidly within the crater of the volcano. The glacier, which is fed primarily by avalanching from the crater walls, contains about 30% rock debris by volume, has a maximum thickness of about 220 m and a volume of about 120 million cubic m, and forms a crescent that wraps around the old lava dome on both east and west sides. The new (October 2004) lava dome in the south of the crater began to grow centered roughly on the contact between the old lava dome and the glacier, in the process uplifting both ice and old dome rock. As the new dome is spreading to the south, the adjacent glacier is bulging upward. Firn layers on the outer flank of the glacier bulge have been warped upward almost vertically. In contrast, ice adjacent to the new dome has been thoroughly fractured. The overall style of deformation is reminiscent of that associated with salt-dome intrusion. Drawing an analogy to sand-box experiments, we suggest that the glacier is being deformed by high-angle reverse faults propagating upward from depth. Comparison of Lidar images of the glacier from September 2003 and October 2004 reveals not only the volcanogenic bulge but also elevated domains associated with the passage of kinematic waves, which are caused by glacier-mass-balance perturbations and have nothing to do with volcanic activity. As of 25 October 2004, growth of the new lava dome has had negligible hydrological consequences. Ice-surface cauldrons are common consequences of intense melting caused by either subglacial eruptions (as in Iceland) or subglacial venting of hot gases (as presently taking place at Mount Spurr, Alaska). However, there has been a notable absence of ice-surface cauldrons in the Mount St. Helens crater glacier, aside from a short-lived pond formed where the 1 October eruption pierced the glacier. We suggest that heat transfer to the glacier base is inefficient because cooling of the largely degassed magma is limited by conduction through the chilled margin, and because the bulged-up glacier is separated from magma by water-saturated rubble and pumice that accumulated before glacier formation. Minor amounts of tephra deposited on the glacier surface have caused almost no observable runoff. Diverse phenomena such as lahars triggered by avalanches of hot rock onto the glacier surface remain of concern from the perspective of hazards assessment, which is undergoing continual revision as the eruptive episode proceeds.

  20. Mt. Kilimanjaro's Receding Glaciers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    Mt. Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), the highest point in all Africa, was photographed by the crew of Space Shuttle mission STS-97 on December 2, 2000 (STS097-701-17). Kilimanjaro (Kilima Njaro or 'shining mountain' in Swahili) is capped by glaciers on its southern and southwestern flanks. The glaciers and snow cap covered a far greater area ten years prior to the view above. Compare the photograph above with a photograph of Kilimanjaro taken in November 1990 by the Space Shuttle mission STS-38 crew. Shuttle photograph provided by the Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. Additional photographs taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed via the NASA - JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.

  1. Implications for the dynamic health of a glacier from comparison of conventional and reference-surface balances

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Harrison, W.D.; Cox, L.H.; Hock, R.; March, R.S.; Pettit, E.C.

    2009-01-01

    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.

  2. Extent and Timing of the Last Glacial Maximum in Southwestern Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mann, Daniel H.; Peteet, Dorothy M.

    1994-09-01

    A glacier complex composed of confluent alpine glaciers, island ice caps, and piedmont lobes covered much of the Alaska Peninsula and Kodiak Island during the last glacial maximum (LGM). Because this glacier complex formed the southeastern border of Beringia, its dynamics may have been important in the timing and feasibility of the northwest coast route for human migration into lower-latitude North America. Radiocarbon dates from stratigraphic sections on Kodiak Island and in the Bristol Bay lowlands bracket the LGM in southwestern Alaska between 23,000 and 14,700 yr B.P. Reconstruction of ice thickness based on glacier trimlines, moraines, and calculations of basal-shear stress depict the Alaska Peninsula Glacier Complex flowing to the outer edge of the continental shelf in the Gulf of Alaska. Equilibrium-line altitudes (ELAs) were 300 to 700 m lower than today and approached sea level on the southwestern Alaska Peninsula. In northeastern areas where ELAs were higher, bedrock topography largely controlled ice flow except where ice saddles bridged straits and inlets.

  3. Icefall on the Lambert Glacier

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    The Lambert Glacier in Antarctica is the world's largest glacier. The focal point of this image is an icefall that feeds into the Lambert glacier from the vast ice sheet covering the polar plateau. Ice flows like water, albeit much more slowly. Cracks can be seen in this icefall as it bends and twists on its slow-motion descent 1300 feet (400 meters) to the glacier below. This image was acquired by Landsat 7's Enhanced Thematic Mapper plus (ETM+) sensor on December 2, 2000. This is a false-color composite image made using infrared, red, and green wavelengths. The image has also been sharpened using the sensor's panchromatic band.

  4. Muir Glacier in Glacier Bay National Monument 2004

    USGS Multimedia Gallery

    This August 2004 photo further documents the significant changes that have occurred during the 63 years between photographs A and C, and during the 54 years between photographs B and C. Muir Glacier has retreated out of the field of view and is now nearly 5 miles to the northwest. Riggs Glacier has ...

  5. Getting the Shot, Grinnell Glacier, Glacier National Park.

    USGS Multimedia Gallery

    USGS scientist shoots a repeat photograph of Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park to illustrate glacial recession due to impacts of climate change.  *note – logo on scientists hat is logo from USGS Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center, not private....

  6. Getting the Shot, Grinnell Glacier, Glacier National Park.

    USGS Multimedia Gallery

    USGS scientist shoots a repeat photograph of Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park to illustrate glacial recession due to impacts of climate change. *note – logo on scientists hat is logo from USGS Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center, not private. ...

  7. Ongoing calving-frontal dynamics of glaciers in the Northern Patagonia Icefield, Chile

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bown, F.; Rivera, A.; Burger, F.; Carrin, D.; Cisternas, S.; Gacita, G.; Pena, M.; Oberreuter, J.; Silva, R.; Uribe, J. A.; Wendt, A.; Zamora, R.

    2013-05-01

    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.;

  8. Holocene glacier activity in the British Columbia Coast Mountains, Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mood, Bryan J.; Smith, Dan J.

    2015-11-01

    The Coast Mountains flank the Pacific Ocean in western British Columbia, Canada. Subdivided into the southern Pacific Ranges, central Kitimat Ranges and northern Boundary Ranges, the majority of large glaciers and icefields are located in the Boundary and Pacific ranges. Prior descriptions of the Holocene glacial history of this region indicate the Holocene was characterized by repeated episodes of ice expansion and retreat. Recent site-specific investigations augment our understanding of the regional character and duration of these events. In this paper, previously reported and new radiocarbon evidence is integrated to provide an updated regional assessment. The earliest evidence of glacier expansion in the Coast Mountains comes from the Boundary Ranges at 8.9 and 7.8 ka and in the Pacific Ranges at 8.5-8.2 ka, with the latter advance corresponding to an interval of rapid, global climate deterioration. Although generally warm and dry climates from 7.3 to 5.3 ka likely limited the size of glaciers in the region, there is radiocarbon evidence for advances over the interval from 7.3 to 6.0 and at 5.4-5.3 ka in the Pacific Ranges. Following these advances, glaciers in the Pacific Ranges expanded down valley at 4.8-4.6, 4.4-4.0, 3.5-2.6, 1.4-1.2, and 0.8-0.4 ka, while glaciers in Boundary Ranges were advancing at 4.1-4.0, 3.7-3.4, 3.1-2.8, 2.3, 1.7-1.1, and 0.8-0.4 ka. After 0.4 ka, it appears that most glaciers in the Coast Mountains continued to expand to attain their maximum Holocene extents by the early 18th to late 19th centuries. This enhanced record of Holocene glacier activity highlights the temporal synchrony in the Coast Mountains. Individual expansion events in the mid-to late Holocene broadly correspond to intervals of regional glacier activity reported in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, in Alaska, and on high-elevation volcanic peaks in Washington State.

  9. 2011 Updates on the Long-term Glacier Monitoring Program in Denali National Park and Preserve

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burrows, R. A.; Adema, G. W.; Herreid, S. J.; Arendt, A. A.; Larsen, C. F.

    2011-12-01

    The area of Denali National Park and Preserve (DENA) dominated by ice is vast, with glaciers covering 3,780 km^2, approximately one sixth of the park's area. They are integral components of the region's hydrologic, ecologic, and geologic systems - with changes to the glacier systems driving the dependent ecosystems. The National Park Service (NPS) conducts long term monitoring of glaciers in Denali with a variety of methods at a range of spatial and temporal scales. This includes seasonal mass balance and surface movement data collection, annual searches for surging glaciers, and decadal areal extent mapping and volume change estimates of all glaciers in the park. If a glacier surge is detected, the event is documented via photography and surface measurements, when possible. In addition, more intensive ground-based GPS surveys of termini and ice surface elevations are conducted on ten study glaciers every 5-10 years, on a rotating basis. Many of the glaciers are located in designated Wilderness, hence the use of mechanized transport is reduced as much as possible. Monitoring objectives are accomplished by park staff and with cooperative agreements with other agencies and universities. Research to understand the context of the long term data is encouraged and supported as much as possible by the NPS and has recently yielded significant results. The year 2011 marks the 20th anniversary of glacier mass balance monitoring on Kahiltna and Traleika Glaciers, located on the south and north sides of Mt. McKinley respectively. A single "index" site near the ELA of each glacier provides an index of winter, summer, and net balances each year as well as flow velocities and changes in surface elevation. Long-term net balance trends are positive from 1991-2003, and negative since 2003, including the 2009-2010 balance year. The average flow velocity at the Kahiltna index site is 200 +/- 21 m/year with a neutral to slightly negative trend, while on Traleika average velocity is 67 +/- 29 m/year with a positive trend. Monitoring glacier behavior and trends using a variety of techniques provides insight to the complexity of glacier change and increases our ability to distinguish local effects from regional and global trends. Parkwide analysis of glacier extent change since the 1950's shows a consistent trend of retreat, except for glaciers that have surged. Longitudinal surface elevation profiling and comparative photography shows relative stability in larger glaciers, but dramatic long-term mass loss on small, relatively low elevation, valley glaciers characteristic of the eastern portion of DENA. These patterns of ice loss are somewhat unique to the Alaska Range and contrast with big losses of ice mass from large glaciers that border the Gulf of Alaska.

  10. Chernobyl fallout on Alpine glaciers

    SciTech Connect

    Ambach, W.; Rehwald, W.; Blumthaler, M.; Eisner, H.; Brunner, P.

    1989-01-01

    Measurements of the gross beta activity of snow samples from four Alpine glaciers contaminated by radioactive fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear accident and a gamma-spectrum analysis of selected samples are reported. The results are discussed with respect to possible risks to the population from using meltwater from these glaciers as drinking water.

  11. ASTER Image of Gangotri Glacier

    USGS Multimedia Gallery

    Sept 9, 2001 ASTER image showing the position of the terminus of Gangotri Glacier, India, between 1780 and 2001. Image from Jesse Allen, NASA's Earth Observatory. Glacier retreat boundaries courtesy of the U.S. Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center...

  12. Patagonia Glacier, Chile

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2000-01-01

    This ASTER images was acquired on May 2, 2000 over the North Patagonia Ice Sheet, Chile near latitude 47 degrees south, longitude 73 degrees west. The image covers 36 x 30 km. The false color composite displays vegetation in red. The image dramatically shows a single large glacier, covered with crevasses. A semi-circular terminal moraine indicates that the glacier was once more extensive than at present. ASTER data are being acquired over hundreds of glaciers worldwide to measure their changes over time. Since glaciers are sensitive indicators of warming or cooling, this program can provide global data set critical to understand climate change.

    This image is located at 46.5 degrees south latitude and 73.9 degrees west longitude.

    Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (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 International 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; Moshe Pniel of JPL is the project manager. ASTER is the only high resolution imaging sensor on Terra. The primary goal of the ASTER mission is to obtain high-resolution image data in 14 channels over the entire land surface, as well as black and white stereo images. With revisit time of between 4 and 16 days, ASTER will provide the capability for repeat coverage of changing areas on Earth's surface.

    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.

  13. Ancient soil organic carbon in glaciers supports downstream metabolism in the European Alps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fasching, C.; Singer, G.; Steier, P.; Niggemann, J.; Dittmar, T.; Battin, T. J.

    2012-04-01

    Mountain glaciers and ice caps shrink at unprecedented pace with major implications for macroscale runoff patterns and sea-level rise. Building evidence suggests that glaciers, beside their prominent role in the hydrological cycle, are place for microbial and biogeochemical processes. In the Gulf of Alaska, glacial runoff was shown to be a quantitatively important source of ancient and labile organic carbon to marine ecosystems. However, both origin and chemical composition of glacial organic carbon nurturing downstream ecosystems remain elusive. This makes it difficult to understand the role of glaciers in carbon cycling. Here we present first evidence from 26 Alpine glaciers that glacial dissolved organic carbon (DOC), although very low in concentration (13896 ?g C L-1), contributes to carbon cycling in pro-glacial streams. We found that the bioavailability of glacial DOC (25 to 86 % labile) for microbial heterotrophs increased with its proteinaceous content and with age. Black carbon did not explain the variation in DOC age (600 to 8500 years), suggesting that ancient organic carbon other than black carbon contributes to DOC bioavailability. Proteinaceous moieties from glacial DOC were rapidly removed in the pro-glacial stream, where DOC bioavailability rather than physical processes drove excess pCO2 (EpCO2) in the streamwater as a proxy for in situ metabolism. Using mass loss data and carbon use efficiency (19.47.2 %) data from glacial ice, we estimate that glaciers in the European Alps deliver 340 tons C yr-1, of which 162 tons C are potentially respired as CO2 to the atmosphere. These fluxes are small compared to those from high-mass-loss glaciers, such in Alaska, but they are unexpected biogeochemical links between low-DOC glaciers and the smallest of the headwaters in alpine fluvial networks.

  14. Identification, definition and mapping of terrestrial ecosystems in interior Alaska. [vegetation, land use, glaciology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Anderson, J. H. (Principal Investigator)

    1973-01-01

    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.

  15. Insights into physical and biological controls on the export of organic matter and nutrients from glacier ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hood, E. W.; Scott, D.; Vermilyea, A.; Spencer, R. G.; Stubbins, A.; Raymond, P.

    2012-12-01

    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.

  16. Using Repeat Ground-Based, Airborne, and Space-Based Photography and Multispectral Imagery to Document the Post-Little Ice Age Behavior of Alaksan Glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Molnia, B. F.

    2008-12-01

    Alaska supports thousands of glaciers, situated on 11 mountain ranges, a large island (Kodiak), an island chain (Aleutian Islands), and an island archipelago (Alexander Archipelago). Glaciers cover about 75,000 km2 of Alaska. Individually and collectively documenting the post-Little Ice Age Behavior of these Alaskan glaciers is only possible through a comprehensive assessment of ground-based, airborne, and space-based photography, as well as space-based multispectral imagery. Alaskan glaciers have been repeatedly photographed from the ground (beginning in 1893), from the air (beginning in 1926), and from space (beginning in the early 1960s). Since 1972, all Alaskan glaciers have been sequentially imaged with space-based multispectral sensors. Analysis of this massive compellation of repeat photographs and images has been used to quantitatively and qualitatively determine the distribution, extent, and multiple decadal- scale behavior of glaciers throughout Alaska. These results have recently been published by the U.S. Geological Survey in Glaciers of Alaska, Chapter K of the Satellite Image Atlas of the Glaciers of the World, Professional Paper 1386-K. Because of the size of the area covered by glaciers in Alaska and the lack of large-scale maps of the glacierized areas, multiple-source photography and sequential satellite imagery are the only practical means of monitoring regional changes in the length, area, and volume of Alaskan glaciers in response to short- and long-term changes in the maritime and continental climates of the State. These data were coupled with a review of the literature to determine both the individual and the regional status of Alaskan glaciers and to characterize changes in thickness and terminus position of representative glaciers in each mountain range or island area. Additionally, three detailed test sites were identified where an extensive record of historic ground-based photographs provided an additional opportunity to assess sub-decadal to century-scale changes to glaciers and landscapes. These locations were Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve of the St. Elias Mountains, Kenai Fjords National Park of the Kenai Mountains, and the northwestern Prince William Sound area of the Chugach Mountains. In each, detailed assessments of this all-source data were performed for every fiord to document and understand fiord-specific glacier and landscape change and evolution. On a broad regional basis, the analysis determined that every mountain range and island area investigated can be characterized by significant glacier retreat, thinning, and (or) stagnation, especially those glaciers that end at lower elevations. Of more than 2,000 glaciers investigated, less than a dozen are currently thickening and advancing. At others, retreat that started as early as the 18th century has continued into the 21st century. At some locations, glaciers completely disappeared during the 20th century. On a local basis, variability proved to be far more complex, with adjacent fiords displaying significantly different behaviors.

  17. Eastern Alaska

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    In this SeaWiFS image of eastern Alaska, the Aleutian Islands, Kodiak Island, Yukon and Tanana rivers are clearly visible. Also visible, but slightly hidden beneath the clouds, is a bloom in Bristol Bay. Credit: Provided by the SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE

  18. Hubbard Glacier Update: Another Closure of Russell Fjord in the Making?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Motyka, R. J.; Lawson, D.; Finnegan, D.; Kalli, G.; Lingle, C.

    2007-12-01

    Hubbard Glacier is located near the community of Yakutat in southeastern Alaska. It is the largest non-polar temperate tidewater glacier in the world and has been advancing since 1890 AD, currently at a rate of 35 m a-1. Hubbard Glacier has twice closed off Russell Fjord creating enormous glacier dam lakes, once in 1986 and again 2002. Both dams failed catastrophically producing two of the largest outburst floods in historic times. Past closures were facilitated by the terminus pushing glaciomarine sediments above tidewater near Gilbert Point (where past dams have closed Russell Fjord), thus limiting calving losses and allowing the glacier to advance rapidly across the 200-300 m gap. A new push moraine is currently emerging in the same location as past dam forming events, causing concern that a new closure may be eminent, perhaps as early as this winter (2007-08). Such an occurrence is of concern to local inhabitants because sustained damming of Russell Fjord will cause the lake to overflow into the Situk River, dramatically changing the landscape, creating floods, destroying fish habitats, and threatening structures. In this poster we will present results of October 2007 field measurements and remote sensing investigations on the evolution of the glacier push moraine and provide updates on the potential for another closure of Russell Fjord.

  19. Shrinkage of selected southcentral Alaskan glaciers AD 1900-2010 - a spatio-temporal analysis using photogrammetric, GIS-based and historical techniques

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kienholz, Christian; Prakash, Anupma; Nussbaumer, Samuel; Zumbhl, Heinz

    2010-05-01

    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.

  20. Digital outlines and topography of the glaciers of the American West

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fountain, Andrew G.; Hoffman, Matthew; Jackson, Keith; Basagic, Hassan; Nylen, Thomas; Percy, David

    2007-01-01

    Alpine glaciers have generally receded during the past century (post-“Little Ice Age”) because of climate warming (Oerlemans and others, 1998; Mann and others, 1999; Dyurgerov and Meier, 2000; Grove, 2001). This general retreat has accelerated since the mid 1970s, when a shift in atmospheric circulation occurred (McCabe and Fountain, 1995; Dyurgerov and Meier, 2000). The loss in glacier cover has had several profound effects. First, the shrinkage of glaciers results in a net increase in stream flow, typically in late summer when water supplies are at the lowest levels (Fountain and Tangborn, 1985). This additional water is important to ecosystems (Hall and Fagre, 2003) and to human water needs (Tangborn, 1980). However, if shrinkage continues, the net contribution to stream flow will diminish, and the effect upon these benefactors will be adverse. Glacier shrinkage is also a significant factor in current sea level rise (Meier, 1984; Dyurgerov and Meier, 2000). Second, many of the glaciers in the West Coast States are located on stratovolcanoes, and continued recession will leave oversteepened river valleys. These valleys, once buttressed by ice are now subject to failure, creating conditions for lahars (Walder and Driedger, 1994; O’Connor and others, 2001). Finally, reduction or loss of glaciers reduce or eliminate glacial activity as an important geomorphic process on landscape evolution and alters erosion rates in high alpine areas (Hallet and others, 1996). Because of the importance of glaciers to studies of climate change, hazards, and landscape modification, glacier inventories have been published for Alaska (Manley, in press), China (http://wdcdgg.westgis.ac.cn/DATABASE/Glacier/Glacier.asp), Nepal (Mool and others, 2001), Switzerland (Paul and others, 2002), and the Tyrolian Alps of Austria (Paul, 2002), among other locales. To provide the necessary data for assessing the magnitude and rate of glacier change in the American West, exclusive of Alaska (fig. 1), we are constructing a geographic information system (GIS) database. The data on glacier location and change will be derived from maps, ground-based photographs, and aerial and satellite images. Our first step, reported here, is the compilation of a glacier inventory of the American West. The inventory is compiled from the 1:100,000 (100K) and 1:24,000 (24K)-scale topographic maps published by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS). The 24K-scale maps provide the most detailed mapping of perennial snow and ice features. This report informs users of the data about the challenges we faced in compiling the data and discusses its errors and uncertainties. We rely on the expertise of the original cartographers in distinguishing “permanent snow and ice” from seasonal snow, although we know, through personal experience, of cartographic misjudgments. Whether “permanent” means indefinite or resident for several years is impossible to determine within the scope of this study. We do not discriminate between “glacier,” defined as permanent snow or ice that moves (Paterson, 1994), and stagnant snow and ice features. Therefore, we leave to future users the final determination of seasonal versus permanent snow features and the discrimination between true glaciers and stagnant snow and ice bodies. We believe that future studies of more regional focus and knowledge can most accurately refine our initial inventory. For simplicity we refer to all snow and ice bodies in this report as glaciers, although we recognize that most probably do not strictly meet the requirements; many may be snow patches.

  1. A moderate resolution inventory of small glaciers and ice caps surrounding Greenland and the Antarctic peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, C.; Box, J. E.; Hock, R. M.; Cogley, J. G.

    2011-12-01

    Current estimates of global Mountain Glacier and Ice Caps (MG&IC) mass changes are subject to large uncertainties due to incomplete inventories and uncertainties in land surface classification. This presentation features mitigative efforts through the creation of a MODIS dependent land ice classification system and its application for glacier inventory. Estimates of total area of mountain glaciers [IPCC, 2007] and ice caps (including those in Greenland and Antarctica) vary 15%, that is, 680 - 785 10e3 sq. km. To date only an estimated 40% of glaciers (by area) is inventoried in the World Glacier Inventory (WGI) and made available through the World Glacier Monitoring System (WGMS) and the National Snow and Ice Data Center [NSIDC, 1999]. Cogley [2009] recently compiled a more complete version of WGI, called WGI-XF, containing records for just over 131,000 glaciers, covering approximately half of the estimated global MG&IC area. The glaciers isolated from the conterminous Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets remain incompletely inventoried in WGI-XF but have been estimated to contribute 35% to the MG&IC sea-level equivalent during 1961-2004 [Hock et al., 2009]. Together with Arctic Canada and Alaska these regions alone make up almost 90% of the area that is missing in the global WGI-XF inventory. Global mass balance projections tend to exclude ice masses in Greenland and Antarctica due to the paucity of data with respect to basic inventory base data such as area, number of glaciers or size distributions. We address the need for an accurate Greenland and Antarctic peninsula land surface classification with a novel glacier surface classification and inventory based on NASA Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data gridded at 250 m pixel resolution. The presentation includes a sensitivity analysis for surface mass balance as it depends on the land surface classification. Works Cited +Cogley, J. G. (2009), A more complete version of the World Glacier Inventory, Ann. Glaciol. 50(53). +Hock, R., M. de Woul, V. Radi and M. Dyurgerov, 2009. Mountain glaciers and ice caps around Antarctica make a large sea-level rise contribution. Geophys. Res. Lett. 36, L07501, doi:10.1029/2008GL037020. +IPCC, Climate Change 2007 The Physical Science Basis, 2007. Contribution of working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (eds. Solomon, S. et al.) Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

  2. Termini of calving glaciers as self-organized critical systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    strm, J. A.; Vallot, D.; Schfer, M.; Welty, E. Z.; O'Neel, S.; Bartholomaus, T. C.; Liu, Yan; Riikil, T. I.; Zwinger, T.; Timonen, J.; Moore, J. C.

    2014-12-01

    Over the next century, one of the largest contributions to sea level rise will come from ice sheets and glaciers calving ice into the ocean. Factors controlling the rapid and nonlinear variations in calving fluxes are poorly understood, and therefore difficult to include in prognostic climate-forced land-ice models. Here we analyse globally distributed calving data sets from Svalbard, Alaska (USA), Greenland and Antarctica in combination with simulations from a first-principles, particle-based numerical calving model to investigate the size and inter-event time of calving events. We find that calving events triggered by the brittle fracture of glacier ice are governed by the same power-law distributions as avalanches in the canonical Abelian sandpile model. This similarity suggests that calving termini behave as self-organized critical systems that readily flip between states of sub-critical advance and super-critical retreat in response to changes in climate and geometric conditions. Observations of sudden ice-shelf collapse and tidewater glacier retreat in response to gradual warming of their environment are consistent with a system fluctuating around its critical point in response to changing external forcing. We propose that self-organized criticality provides a yet unexplored framework for investigations into calving and projections of sea level rise.

  3. Inventory of marine and estuarine fishes in southeast and central Alaska National Parks

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Arimitsu, M.L.; Litzow, M.A.; Piatt, J.F.; Robards, M.D.; Abookire, A.A.; Drew, G.S.

    2003-01-01

    As part of a national inventory program funded by the National Park Service, we conducted an inventory of marine and estuarine fishes in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Sitka National Historical Park, and Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in 2001 and 2002. In addition, marine fish data from a previous project that focused on forage fishes and marine predators during 1999 and 2000 in Glacier Bay proper were compiled for this study. Sampling was conducted with modified herring and Isaacs-Kidd midwater trawls, a plumb staff beam trawl, and beach seines. Species lists of relative abundance were generated for nearshore fishes in all parks, and for demersal and pelagic fishes in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. With a total sampling effort of 531 sets, we captured 100 species in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, 31 species in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, 23 species in Sitka National Historical Park, and 11 species in Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. We estimated that between 59 and 85 percent of the total marine fish species present were sampled by us in the various habitat-park units. We also combined these data with historical records and prepared an annotated species list of 160 marine and estuarine fishes known to occur in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. Shannon-Wiener diversity index and catch per unit effort were used to assess the effects of depth and latitude (distance from tidewater glaciers) on marine fish community ecology in Glacier Bay proper. Our findings suggest that demersal fishes are more abundant and diverse with increased distance from tidewater glaciers, and that pelagic fishes sampled deeper than 50 m are more abundant in areas closer to tidewater glaciers. Fish, Marine, Estuarine, National Parks, Southeast Alaska, Central Alaska, Inventory, Monitoring, Diversity, Abundance, Glacier Bay

  4. Geophysical imaging of a temperate glacier's hydrologic system in 1, 2, and 3 dimensions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bradford, J. H.; Clement, W.; Nichols, J.; Brown, J.; Mikesell, D.; Harper, J.; Humphrey, N.; Tschetter, T.

    2007-12-01

    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 objectives, we have deployed georadar at frequencies ranging from 5 MHz to 1 GHz in 1D, 2D, and 3D single and multi-offset configurations. We have conducted time lapse georadar monitoring of the glacier at the annual, seasonal, daily, and minute time scales. We have employed state of the art data processing and analysis tools such as reflection tomography to produce accurate radar velocity profiles, and 3D coherence cube imaging to identify the 3D distribution of voids and fractures within the glacier. We have conducted passive seismic monitoring, 3D seismic reflection imaging, and shear wave seismic reflection surveying designed to both to image hydrologic structures and to provide a direct measure of the glaciers elastic properties. Here we provide an overview of the project and to present notable findings to date. These findings include 1) that there is lateral heterogeneity in the liquid water content of the snow and significant lateral flow within the snow pack, 2) that Bench Glacier is stratified with an upper layer containing few voids and little water, and a lower layer containing significantly greater water content and many voids, and 3) the void spaces in the lower layer appear to be comprised of both fractures and randomly distributed irregular void space. Video borehole measurements coupled with azimuthal anisotropy in the geophysical measurements indicate that the voids are primarily subvertically oriented, have a preferred azimuthal orientation that is oblique to the glacier flow direction, and are present at scales ranging from mm to 10s of m.

  5. Melt Undercutting and Calving from Tidewater Glaciers: Observations and Model Results

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Benn, D.; Cook, S.; strm, J. A.; Luckman, A. J.; Zwinger, T.

    2014-12-01

    Dynamic models incorporating crevasse-depth calving laws have enjoyed considerable success in simulating observed behavior of tidewater glaciers. Such models are based on the assumption that longitudinal strain rates exert a first-order control on calving, and that penetration of surface and basal crevasses provides the ultimate constraint on glacier extent. However, 'second-order' processes such as melt undercutting may significantly amplify calving rates, initiating seasonal and longer-term glacier retreats. We present high temporal and spatial resolution TerraSAR-X data from Svalbard that indicate a strong annual cycle in calving rates, peaking in September-October coincident with maximum fjord temperatures. This pattern is consistent for all studied glaciers irrespective of glacier activity (fast, slow, surging or quiescent), and we conclude that in Svalbard calving is paced by melt-undercutting followed by mechanical destabilization of the ice tongue. Although parameterizations of melt undercutting are included in many models employing the crevasse-depth calving criterion, amplification of calving by melt undercutting (the 'O'Leary Effect') has not been rigorously analyzed or tested against observations. We take a novel approach to this problem, and couple the finite element model Elmer-Ice with a discrete particle model (DPM) to explore in detail the links between melt undercutting and failure of the ice tongue. Employing glacier front geometries representative of Kronebreen (Svalbard), Columbia Glacier (Alaska) and Helheim Glacier (Greenland), we use Elmer-Ice to simulate progressive undercutting of the ice front by melting. At selected time steps, the model geometry was exported into the DPM, and runs conducted to study fracturing and calving behavior using different values of the fracture stress. We quantify the O'Leary Effect for different geometries, and propose a modified calving law incorporating the effects of melt-undercutting. The results highlight the importance of accounting for the impact of melt undercutting on calving losses in dynamic calving models.

  6. Spatial distribution of mercury in southeastern Alaskan streams influenced by glaciers, wetlands, and salmon.

    PubMed

    Nagorski, Sonia A; Engstrom, Daniel R; Hudson, John P; Krabbenhoft, David P; Hood, Eran; DeWild, John F; Aiken, George R

    2014-01-01

    Southeastern Alaska is a remote coastal-maritime ecosystem that is experiencing increased deposition of mercury (Hg) as well as rapid glacier loss. Here we present the results of the first reported survey of total and methyl Hg (MeHg) concentrations in regional streams and biota. Overall, streams draining large wetland areas had higher Hg concentrations in water, mayflies, and juvenile salmon than those from glacially-influenced or recently deglaciated watersheds. Filtered MeHg was positively correlated with wetland abundance. Aqueous Hg occurred predominantly in the particulate fraction of glacier streams but in the filtered fraction of wetland-rich streams. Colonization by anadromous salmon in both glacier and wetland-rich streams may be contributing additional marine-derived Hg. The spatial distribution of Hg in the range of streams presented here shows that watersheds are variably, yet fairly predictably, sensitive to atmospheric and marine inputs of Hg. PMID:24035911

  7. Climate variations and changes in mass of three glaciers in western North America

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hodge, S.M.; Trabant, D.C.; Krimmel, R.M.; Heinrichs, T.A.; March, R.S.; Josberger, E.G.

    1998-01-01

    Time series of net and seasonal mass balances for three glaciers in western North America, one in the Pacific Northwest and two in Alaska, show various relationships to Pacific hemisphere climate indexes. During the winter season the two coastal, maritime-regime glaciers, over 2000 km apart, are affected almost identically, albeit inversely, by atmospheric and oceanic conditions in both the tropical and North Pacific. The two Alaska glaciers, only 350 km apart, have almost no coherence. Lag correlations show that in winter the maritime glaciers are influenced by concurrent conditions in the North Pacific, but by conditions in the tropical Pacific in August-September of the prior northern summer. The winter balance variations contain interannual El Nino-Southern Oscillation variability superimposed on North Pacific interdecadal variability; the interdecadal 1976-77 climate regime shift is clearly evident. The summer balances and the continental-regime glacier have a general lack of correlations, with no clear, strong, consistent patterns, probably a result of being influenced more by local processes or by circulation patterns outside the Pacific Ocean basin. The results show the Pacific Northwest is strongly influenced by conditions in the tropical Pacific, but that this teleconnection has broken down in recent years, starting in 1989. During the seven years since then (1989-95), all three glaciers have shown, for the first time, coherent signals, which were net mass loss at the highest rate in the entire record. The authors' results agree with those of other recent studies that suggest these recent years are unusual and may be a signature of climate warming.

  8. Glacier Sensitivity Across the Andes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sagredo, E. A.; Lowell, T. V.; Rupper, S.

    2010-12-01

    Most of the research on causes driving former glacial fluctuations, and the climatic signals involved, has focused on the comparisons of sequences of glacial events in separate regions of the world and their temporal-phasing relationship with terrestrial or extraterrestrial climate-forcing mechanisms. Nevertheless the climatic signals related with these glacial advances are still under debate. This impossibility to resolve these questions satisfactorily have been generally attributed to the insufficiently precise chronologies and unevenly distributed records. However, behind these ideas lies the implicit assumption that glaciers situated in different climate regimes respond uniformly to similar climatic perturbations. This ongoing research is aimed to explore the climate-glacier relationship at regional scale, through the analysis of the spatial variability of glacier sensitivity to climatic change. By applying a Surface Energy Mass Balance model (SEMB) developed by Rupper and Roe (2008) to glaciers located in different climatic regimes, we analyzed the spatial variability of mass balance changes under different baseline conditions and under different scenarios of climatic change. For the sake of this research, the analysis is being focused on the Andes, which in its 9,000 km along the western margin of South America offers an unparalleled climatic diversity. Preliminary results suggest that above some threshold of climate change (a hypothetical uniform perturbation), all the glaciers across the Andes would respond in the same direction (advancing or retreating). Below that threshold, glaciers located in some climatic regimes may be insensitive to the specific perturbation. On the other hand, glaciers located in different climatic regimes may exhibit a different magnitude of change under a uniform climatic perturbation. Thus, glaciers located in the dry Andes of Per, Chile and Argentina are more sensitive to precipitation changes than variations in temperatures, while glaciers located in the wet Patagonian Andes seem to exhibit an opposite behavior. In an intermediate position are those glaciers located in the Tropical Andes, and Tierra del Fuego, which even though still more sensitive to temperature, they can be affected by temperature changes as well. With this regional approach towards the comprehension of climate-glacial dynamic interaction, we expect to contribute to the understanding the causes and mechanism driving former episodes of glacial fluctuations, and in turn, to the development of future scenarios of climate change.

  9. Remote sensing and modeling of sub-glacier geomorphology: the role geological structures play in controlling the geometry and dynamics of ice flow on the Malaspina Glacier, AK

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cotton, M. M.; Bruhn, R. L.; Sauber, J. M.; Burgess, E. W.

    2011-12-01

    Deformation and uplift of the Saint Elias Mountains of southern Alaska, due to the collision and accretion of the Yakutat mircoplate, coincided with the onset of glaciation in the Late Miocene. Several large alpine glaciers coalesce on the piedmont of the Saint Elias Mountains to form the Malaspina Glacier, the largest piedmont glacier in North America. We investigate the interaction of the young tectonic structures and glacier flow to better understand the roles these structures play in controlling the geometry and dynamics of the Malaspina Glacier. Specifically, we use feature tracking by cross-correlation of satellite images to map the velocity and strain-rate fields of the Malaspina Glacier to explore how the structural geology at the bed of the glacier affects the dynamics and structure of moving ice on the surface. Analog modeling of glacial ice is also used to physically model how the magnitude and direction of ice flow responds to underlying topographic features. Feature tracking was done over periods ranging from one month up to one to two years in duration depending upon the rate of ice flow and the ability to achieve satisfactory correlations between images acquired by the optical sensors on Landsat 5 TM and Landsat 7 ETM+ satellites. The ice surface velocity fields bear directly on the origin of ice falls that originate above thrust faults on the limbs of large folds, the origin of fast glacier flow along fault zones where rheology at the bed of the glacier is presumably impacted by rapid erosion and development of weak water saturated till, and the pattern of ice flow around the termination of a large strike-slip fault. The morphology and dynamics of the Malaspina piedmont lobes also provide insight into the strike-slip component of motion along the Esker Creek Fault that was activated during an M 8.1 earthquake in 1899. Feature tracking also provides a method to detect the presence and extent of sub-glacial lakes and distributary channels that feed outburst flooding at the terminus of glaciers.

  10. Aletsch Glacier, Switzerland

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    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

  11. Modelling Greenland Outlet Glaciers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    vanderVeen, Cornelis; Abdalati, Waleed (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    The objective of this project was to develop simple yet realistic models of Greenland outlet glaciers to better understand ongoing changes and to identify possible causes for these changes. Several approaches can be taken to evaluate the interaction between climate forcing and ice dynamics, and the consequent ice-sheet response, which may involve changes in flow style. To evaluate the icesheet response to mass-balance forcing, Van der Veen (Journal of Geophysical Research, in press) makes the assumption that this response can be considered a perturbation on the reference state and may be evaluated separately from how this reference state evolves over time. Mass-balance forcing has an immediate effect on the ice sheet. Initially, the rate of thickness change as compared to the reference state equals the perturbation in snowfall or ablation. If the forcing persists, the ice sheet responds dynamically, adjusting the rate at which ice is evacuated from the interior to the margins, to achieve a new equilibrium. For large ice sheets, this dynamic adjustment may last for thousands of years, with the magnitude of change decreasing steadily over time as a new equilibrium is approached. This response can be described using kinematic wave theory. This theory, modified to pertain to Greenland drainage basins, was used to evaluate possible ice-sheet responses to perturbations in surface mass balance. The reference state is defined based on measurements along the central flowline of Petermann Glacier in north-west Greenland, and perturbations on this state considered. The advantage of this approach is that the particulars of the dynamical flow regime need not be explicitly known but are incorporated through the parameterization of the reference ice flux or longitudinal velocity profile. The results of the kinematic wave model indicate that significant rates of thickness change can occur immediately after the prescribed change in surface mass balance but adjustments in flow rapidly diminish these rates to a few cm/yr at most. The time scale for adjustment is of the order of a thousand years or so.

  12. Alaska Resource Data File, Noatak Quadrangle, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grybeck, Donald J.; Dumoulin, Julie A.

    2006-01-01

    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.

  13. Biogeochemistry of glacial runoff along the Gulf of Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hood, E.; Scott, D.; Vermilyea, A.; Stubbins, A.; Raymond, P.; Spencer, R.

    2012-04-01

    Glaciers and ice sheets represent the second largest reservoir of water in the global hydrologic system and glacier ecosystems cover 10% of the Earth, however the biogeochemistry of glacier discharge has not been well characterized. Preliminary investigations have shown that runoff from glaciers can be an important contributor of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and macro- and micro- nutrients such as P and Fe to downstream aquatic ecosystems. There is also mounting evidence that glacier ecosystems may be a source of anthropogenically derived constituents such as fossil fuel combustion by-products and persistent organic pollutants that are deposited in precipitation and released in melting glacier ice. As a result, it is critical to develop our understanding of glacial biogeochemistry, particularly in near-shore marine ecosystems along glacially-dominated coastal margins that receive large volumes of glacial runoff. To examine the spatial and temporal variability in the biogeochemical properties of glacial runoff, we sampled snow, ice melt, and glacial runoff at the Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau, Alaska during the summer of 2012. 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. We also analyzed particulate and dissolved Hg in glacial runoff to quantify the export of Hg to downstream aquatic ecosystems. Preliminary results show that concentrations of dissolved organic carbon in snow, ice melt, and sub-glacial runoff were typically low (<0.5 mg C/L) and not well correlated with discharge. Recent research has shown that glacier-derived DOC represents a quantitatively significant energy subsidy of ancient, yet highly bioavailable carbon to downstream ecosystems. This runs counter to the standard perception of the age-reactivity relationship for DOC, in which the least reactive material withstands degradation the longest and is therefore the oldest. To investigate this phenomenon and determine the origin of glacially-derived DOC, we focused on characterizing the dissolved organic matter being exported from Mendenhall across the melt season. This talk will present results from a variety of organic matter characterization techniques including: carbon isotopes (13C and 14C), fluorescence spectrophotometry, and electrospray ionization coupled to FTICR-MS.

  14. Triggering of glacier seismicity (icequakes) by distant earthquakes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walter, J. I.; Peng, Z.; Tulaczyk, S. M.; Oneel, S.

    2013-05-01

    In the solid earth community, the discovery that distant earthquakes can trigger tectonic earthquakes and tremor is perhaps attributable to the widespread use of passive seismic instrumentation. Recent increases in passive seismic infrastructure in the Polar Regions provide a similar opportunity to investigate dynamic behavior of the cryosphere on increasing spatial and temporal scales. We examine triggering of various glacier behaviors, including calving and ice flow speed increases, due to passing seismic waves from distant, large earthquakes. We observe that repeating, bidaily slip events at the Whillans Ice Plain, West Antarctica, occur faster in their cycle than otherwise predicted, shortly after the arrival of surface waves from the 2010 Maule (Chile) and 2011 Tohoku earthquakes. At various Antarctic seismic stations, we observe high frequency icequakes coincident with the arrival of compressional P wave and the Rayleigh surface waves from the 2010 Maule earthquake, suggesting an icequake source related to volumetric strain changes, such as opening of fluid-filled cracks. Finally, we observe some evidence of triggering of calving events at Columbia Glacier, Alaska. Verification that surface waves trigger calving events is difficult due to active calving before and after seismic arrivals and the long duration of the calving seismic signal. Close examination of time-lapse photos suggests that calving may occur sometime between the hourly photographs, but the coarse sampling interval precludes definitive confirmation. A number of mechanisms are plausible for triggering glacier phenomena, including basal till pore pressure changes by arriving surface waves, increasing stresses parallel or perpendicular to the axes of crevasses, and dynamically increasing the driving stress. If triggering occurs where the glacier ice is critically stressed, such that small stress perturbations from distant seismic waves produce failure, then investigating triggering may lead to a better understanding of the stress state of those systems.

  15. Glacier discharge and climate variations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dominguez, M. Carmen; Rodriguez-Puebla, Concepcion; Encinas, Ascension H.; Visus, Isabel; Eraso, Adolfo

    2010-05-01

    Different studies account for the warming in the polar regions that consequently would affect Glacier Discharge (GD). Since changes in GD may cause large changes in sensible and latent heat fluxes, we ask about the relationships between GD and climate anomalies, which have not been quantified yet. In this study we apply different statistical methods such as correlation, Singular Spectral Analysis and Wavelet to compare the behaviour of GD data in two Experimental Pilot Catchments (CPE), one (CPE-KG-62S) in the Antarctica and the other (CPE-KVIA-64N) in the Arctic regions. Both CPE's are measuring sub- and endo-glacier drainage for recording of glacier melt water run-off. The CPE-KG-62S is providing hourly GD time series since January 2002 in Collins glacier of the Maxwell Bay in King George Island (62S, 58W). The second one, CPE-KVIA-64N, is providing hourly GD time series since September 2003 in the Kviarjkull glacier of the Vatnajkull ice cap in Iceland (64N, 16W). The soundings for these measurements are pressure sensors installed in the river of the selected catchments for the ice cap (CPE-KG-62S) and in the river of the glacier for (CPE-KVIA-64N). In each CPE, the calibration function between level and discharge has been adjusted, getting a very high correlation coefficient (0.99 for the first one and 0.95 for the second one), which let us devise a precise discharge law for the glacier. We obtained relationships between GD with atmospheric variables such as radiation, temperature, relative humidity, atmospheric pressure and precipitation. We also found a negative response of GD to El Nio teleconnection index. The results are of great interest due to the GD impact on the climate system and in particular for sea level rise.

  16. The 2006 Eruption of Fourpeaked Volcano, Katmai National Park, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cervelli, P. F.; West, M.

    2007-12-01

    On September 17, 2006 Fourpeaked Mountain, a glacier-clad stratovolcano with no known Holocene activity, produced a plume of steam, ash, and SO2, which rose to 6000 m above sea level. The plume was observed by eye-witnesses, seen on weather radar, and also appeared in SO2-sensitive satellite imagery. Concurrent with the plume, regional seismic stations recorded a swarm of volcano-tectonic earthquakes while an atmospheric infrasound signal was recorded 800 km away. Air and ground reconnaissance revealed a linear series of vigorously steaming vents in the summit glacier, stretching about 1 km down the north flank of the volcano. Debris flows, emanating from disrupted glacial ice, extended many kilometers downslope and contained hydrothermally altered clasts and clay minerals mixed with ice; the largest clasts approached 5 meters in diameter. Airborne gas measurements indicated SO2 emission rates of thousands of tonnes per day. Ash collected from the glacier surface contained crystal fragments and dense rock particles. Neither the ash nor the debris flows show evidence of juvenile material; most clasts appear to consist of hydrothermally altered material likely derived from rock similar to outcrops exposed near the summit. The eruption response over subsequent weeks and months included regular visual and gas observations and the installation of a basic seismic network and web camera. The ensuing weeks saw continued disruption of the summit glacier, day-long seismic swarms, and the continuation of notable SO2 levels. As of mid-2007, SO2 levels had dropped by more than 90% and seismic swarms have been replaced by scattered earthquake activity. Steam plumes continue, but have diminished in vigor dramatically over the last year. The entire staff of the Alaska Volcano Observatory, as well as other collaborators, contributed to this abstract and the Fourpeaked eruption response. The Alaska Volcano Observatory is a cooperative program of the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys.

  17. Deep-seated gravitational slope deformations near the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, east-central Alaska Range, Alaska, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Newman, S. D.; Clague, J. J.; Rabus, B.; Stead, D.

    2013-12-01

    Multiple, active, deep-seated gravitational slope deformations (DSGSD) are present near the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and Richardson Highway in the east-central Alaska Range, Alaska, USA. We documented spatial and temporal variations in rates of surface movement of the DSGSDs between 2003 and 2011 using RADARSAT-1 and RADARSAT-2 D-InSAR images. Deformation rates exceed 10 cm/month over very large areas (>1 km2) of many rock slopes. Recent climatic change and strong seismic shaking, especially during the 2002 M 7.9 Denali Fault earthquake, appear to have exacerbated slope deformation. We also mapped DSGSD geological and morphological characteristics using field- and GIS-based methods, and constructed a conceptual 2D distinct-element numerical model of one of the DSGSDs. Preliminary results indicate that large-scale buckling or kink-band slumping may be occurring. The DSGSDs are capable of generating long-runout landslides that might impact the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and Richardson Highway. They could also block tributary valleys, thereby impounding lakes that might drain suddenly. Wrapped 24-day RADARSAT-2 descending spotlight interferogram showing deformation north of Fels Glacier. The interferogram is partially transparent and is overlaid on a 2009 WorldView-1 panchromatic image. Acquisition interval: August 2 - August 26, 2011. UTM Zone 6N.

  18. Arctic polynya and glacier interactions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Edwards, Laura

    2013-04-01

    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.

  19. Erosion by an Alpine glacier

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Herman, Frdric; Beyssac, Olivier; Lane, Stuart; Brughelli, Mattia; Leprince, Sebastien; Brun, Fanny

    2015-04-01

    Most mountain ranges on Earth owe their morphology to the action of glaciers and icecaps over the last few million years. Our current understanding of how glaciers have modified mountainous landforms has mainly been driven through landscape evolution models. These have included an array of erosion laws and mainly progressed through the implementation of various levels of sophistication regarding ice dynamics, subglacial hydrology or thermodynamics of water flow. However, the complex nature of the erosion processes involved and the difficulty of directly examining the ice-bedrock interface of contemporary glaciers has precluded the establishment of a prevailing erosion theory. Here we quantify the spatial variations in ice sliding velocity and erosion rate of a fast-flowing Alpine glacier in New Zealand during a 5-month period. By combining high resolution 3D measurements of surface velocity from optical satellite imagery with the quantification of both the production and provenance of sediments by the glacier, we show that erosion rates are proportional to sliding velocity raised to a power of about two. This result is consistent with abrasion theory. Given that the ice sliding velocity is a nonlinear function of ice thickness and ice surface slope, the response of glacial erosion to precipitation changes is highly nonlinear. Finally, our ability to constrain the glacial abrasion law present opportunities to further examine the interaction between glaciation and mountain evolution.

  20. Lake Trout Sampling in Glacier National Park

    USGS Multimedia Gallery

    Montana Cooperative Fishery Research Unit – Sean Townsend paddles across Kintla Lake in Glacier National Park, sampling for invasive lake trout. Native bull trout are negatively affected by invasives such as lake trout and runoff from upstream glaciers....

  1. Ocean Observing System Demonstrated in Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schoch, G. Carl; Chao, Yi

    2010-05-01

    To demonstrate the utility of an ocean observing and forecasting system with diverse practical applicationssuch as search and rescue, oil spill response (perhaps relevent to the current Gulf of Mexico oil spill), fisheries, and risk managementa unique field experiment was conducted in Prince William Sound, Alaska, in July and August 2009. The objective was to quantitatively evaluate the performance of numerical models developed for the sound with an array of fixed and mobile observation platforms (Figure 1). Prince William Sound was chosen for the demonstration because of historical efforts to monitor ocean circulation following the 1989 oil spill from the Exxon Valdez tanker. The sound, a highly crenulated embayment of about 10,000 square kilometers at approximately 60N latitude along the northern coast of the Gulf of Alaska, includes about 6900 kilometers of shoreline, numerous islands and fjords, and an extensive system of tidewater glaciers descending from the highest coastal mountain range in North America. Hinchinbrook Entrance and Montague Strait are the two main deep water connections with the Gulf of Alaska. The economic base of communities in the region is almost entirely resource-dependent. For example, Cordova's economy is based on commercial fishing and Valdez's economy is supported primarily by the trans-Alaska oil pipeline terminal.

  2. Co-occurrence of Pacific sleeper sharks Somniosus pacificus and harbor seals Phoca vitulina in Glacier Bay

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Taggart, S.J.; Andrews, A.G.; Mondragon, J.; Mathews, E.A.

    2005-01-01

    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.

  3. Glacier Mass Balance measurements in Bhutan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jackson, Miriam; Tenzin, Sangay; Tashi, Tshering

    2014-05-01

    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 jkulhlaups 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.

  4. Fast shrinkage of tropical glaciers in Colombia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ceballos, Jorge Luis; Eusctegui, Christian; Ramrez, Jair; Caon, Marcela; Huggel, Christian; Haeberli, Wilfried; Machguth, Horst

    As a consequence of ongoing atmospheric temperature rise, tropical glaciers belong to the unique and threatened ecosystems on Earth, as defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Houghton and others, 2001). Worldwide glacier monitoring, especially as part of the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), includes the systematic collection of data on such perennial surface ice masses. Several peaks in the sierras of Colombia have lost their glacier cover during recent decades. Today, high-altitude glaciers still exist in Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, in Sierra Nevada del Cocuy and on the volcanoes of Nevados del Ruiz, de Santa Isabel, del Tolima and del Huila. Comparison of reconstructions of maximum glacier area extent during the Little Ice Age with more recent information from aerial photographs and satellite images clearly documents a fast-shrinking tendency and potential disappearance of the remaining glaciers within the next few decades. In the past 50 years, Colombian glaciers have lost 50% or more of their area. Glacier shrinkage has continued to be strong in the last 15 years, with a loss of 10-50% of the glacier area. The relationship between fast glacier retreat and local, regional and global climate change is now being investigated. Preliminary analyses indicate that the temperature rise of roughly 1 C in the last 30 years recorded at high-altitude meteorological stations exerts a primary control on glacier retreat. The investigations on the Colombian glaciers thus corroborate earlier findings concerning the high sensitivity of glaciers in the wet inner tropics to temperature rise. To improve understanding of fast glacier retreat in Colombia, a modern monitoring network has been established according to the multilevel strategy of the Global Terrestrial Network for Glaciers (GTN-G) within GCOS. The observations are also contributions to continued assessments of hazards from the glacier-covered volcanoes and to integrated global change research in mountain biosphere reserves.

  5. Mountain glaciers caught on camera

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Balcerak, Ernie

    2011-12-01

    Many glaciers around the world are melting, and new research is showing some of the dramatic details. Ulyana Horodyskyj, a graduate student at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), University of Colorado at Boulder, set up cameras to take time-lapse photographs of three lakes on a glacier in Nepal. This allowed her and her colleagues to see the supraglacial lake drain in real time for the first time, making it possible to estimate how much water was involved and how long it took for the lake to drain and refill. Horodyskyj said in a press conference at the AGU Fall Meeting that such observations of supraglacial lakes are valuable because in a warming climate, melting glaciers can lead to formation of supraglacial lakes.

  6. Erosion by an Alpine glacier

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Herman, Frdric; Beyssac, Olivier; Brughelli, Mattia; Lane, Stuart N.; Leprince, Sbastien; Adatte, Thierry; Lin, Jiao Y. Y.; Avouac, Jean-Philippe; Cox, Simon C.

    2015-10-01

    Assessing the impact of glaciation on Earths surface requires understanding glacial erosion processes. Developing erosion theories is challenging because of the complex nature of the erosion processes and the difficulty of examining the ice/bedrock interface of contemporary glaciers. We demonstrate that the glacial erosion rate is proportional to the ice-sliding velocity squared, by quantifying spatial variations in ice-sliding velocity and the erosion rate of a fast-flowing Alpine glacier. The nonlinear behavior implies a high erosion sensitivity to small variations in topographic slope and precipitation. A nonlinear rate law suggests that abrasion may dominate over other erosion processes in fast-flowing glaciers. It may also explain the wide range of observed glacial erosion rates and, in part, the impact of glaciation on mountainous landscapes during the past few million years.

  7. Erosion by an Alpine glacier.

    PubMed

    Herman, Frédéric; Beyssac, Olivier; Brughelli, Mattia; Lane, Stuart N; Leprince, Sébastien; Adatte, Thierry; Lin, Jiao Y Y; Avouac, Jean-Philippe; Cox, Simon C

    2015-10-01

    Assessing the impact of glaciation on Earth's surface requires understanding glacial erosion processes. Developing erosion theories is challenging because of the complex nature of the erosion processes and the difficulty of examining the ice/bedrock interface of contemporary glaciers. We demonstrate that the glacial erosion rate is proportional to the ice-sliding velocity squared, by quantifying spatial variations in ice-sliding velocity and the erosion rate of a fast-flowing Alpine glacier. The nonlinear behavior implies a high erosion sensitivity to small variations in topographic slope and precipitation. A nonlinear rate law suggests that abrasion may dominate over other erosion processes in fast-flowing glaciers. It may also explain the wide range of observed glacial erosion rates and, in part, the impact of glaciation on mountainous landscapes during the past few million years. PMID:26450208

  8. Longitudinal surface structures (flowstripes) on Antarctic glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Glasser, N. F.; Gudmundsson, G. H.

    2012-03-01

    Longitudinal surface structures ("flowstripes") are common on many glaciers but their origin and significance are poorly understood. In this paper we present observations of the development of these longitudinal structures from four different Antarctic glacier systems; the Lambert Glacier/Amery Ice Shelf area, the Taylor and Ferrar Glaciers in the Ross Sea sector, Crane and Jorum Glaciers (ice-shelf tributary glaciers) on the Antarctic Peninsula, and the onset zone of a tributary to the Recovery Glacier Ice Stream in the Filchner Ice Shelf area. Mapping from optical satellite images demonstrates that longitudinal surface structures develop in two main situations: (1) as relatively wide flow stripes within glacier flow units and (2) as relatively narrow flow stripes where there is convergent flow around nunataks or at glacier confluence zones. Our observations indicate that the confluence features are narrower, sharper, and more clearly defined features. They are characterised by linear troughs or depressions on the ice surface and are much more common than the former type. Longitudinal surface structures within glacier flow units have previously been explained as the surface expression of localised bed perturbations but a universal explanation for those forming at glacier confluences is lacking. Here we propose that these features are formed at zones of ice acceleration and extensional flow at glacier confluences. We provide a schematic model for the development of longitudinal surface structures based on extensional flow that can explain their ridge and trough morphology as well as their down-ice persistence.

  9. Get Close to Glaciers with Satellite Imagery.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hall, Dorothy K.

    1986-01-01

    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)

  10. Status and distribution of the Kittlitz's Murrelet Brachyramphus brevirostris along the Alaska Peninsula and Kodiak and Aleutian Islands, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Madison, Erica N.; Piatt, John F.; Arimitsu, Mayumi L.; Romano, Marc D.; van Pelt, Thomas I.; Nelson, S. Kim; Williams, Jeffrey C.; DeGange, Anthony R.

    2011-01-01

    The Kittlitz's Murrelet Brachyramphus brevirostris is adapted for life in glacial-marine ecosystems, being concentrated in the belt of glaciated fjords in the northern Gulf of Alaska from Glacier Bay to Cook Inlet. Most of the remaining birds are scattered along coasts of the Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian Islands, where they reside in protected bays and inlets, often in proximity to remnant glaciers or recently deglaciated landscapes. We summarize existing information on Kittlitz's Murrelet in this mainly unglaciated region, extending from Kodiak Island in the east to the Near Islands in the west. From recent surveys, we estimated that ~2400 Kittlitz's Murrelets were found in several large embayments along the Alaska Peninsula, where adjacent ice fields feed silt-laden water into the bays. On Kodiak Island, where only remnants of ice remain today, observations of Kittlitz's Murrelets at sea were uncommon. The species has been observed historically around the entire Kodiak Archipelago, however, and dozens of nest sites were found in recent years. We found Kittlitz's Murrelets at only a few islands in the Aleutian chain, notably those with long complex shorelines, high mountains and remnant glaciers. The largest population (~1600 birds) of Kittlitz's Murrelet outside the Gulf of Alaska was found at Unalaska Island, which also supports the greatest concentration of glacial ice in the Aleutian Islands. Significant populations were found at Atka (~1100 birds), Attu (~800) and Adak (~200) islands. Smaller numbers have been reported from Unimak, Umnak, Amlia, Kanaga, Tanaga, Kiska islands, and Agattu Island, where dozens of nest sites have been located in recent years. Most of those islands have not been thoroughly surveyed, and significant pockets of Kittlitz's Murrelets may yet be discovered. Our estimate of ~6000 Kittlitz's Murrelets along the Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian Islands is also likely to be conservative because of the survey protocols we employed (i.e. early seasonal timing of surveys, strip transects).

  11. Quantifying the Flow Kinematics of Debris-Covered Glaciers with Repeat Airborne LiDAR and Photogrammetry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holt, J. W.; Larsen, C. F.; Levy, J. S.; Petersen, E. I.

    2014-12-01

    Debris-covered glaciers and rock glaciers encompass a range of compositions and activity, including relict glaciers containing ice that has survived long after accumulation has ceased. Hence they are useful paleoclimate indicators in some cases, and if currently active will respond differently to ongoing climate change than glaciers without a protective cover. Their flow dynamics are not well understood, partially due to their typically slow velocities (centimeters per year in many cases); furthermore, their unique surface morphologies, including lobate fronts and arcuate ridges, likely result from viscous flow influenced by a combination of composition, structure, and climatic factors. However, basic connections between flow kinematics and surface morphology have not yet been established, limiting our ability to understand these features and extract paleoclimate information. In order to address this problem, we have acquired repeat, high-resolution topographic maps of debris-covered and rock glaciers in the Wrangell-St. Elias range of Alaska and Sierra Nevada, California. This was accomplished using both scanning LiDAR and photogrammetry to produce digital terrain models (DTMs) with approx. 25 cm resolution. Differencing the DTMs provides full-surface deformation fields that indicate up to meters of annual motion in some cases. The flow field is highly correlated with surface features; in particular, compressional ridges. We are undertaking surface geophysics measurements on Sourdough Rock Glacier in Alaska to relate internal structure and composition to the observed morphology and flow kinematics. Our results demonstrate the utility of repeat topographic mapping and will help provide new insights into the climatic significance of rock and debris-covered glaciers on both Earth and Mars.

  12. Glacier recession in Iceland and Austria

    SciTech Connect

    Hall, D.K.; Williams, R.S. Jr.; Bayr, K.J. USGS, Reston, VA Keene State College, NH )

    1992-03-01

    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. 21 refs.

  13. Recent fluctuations of the Argentinian glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leiva, Juan Carlos

    1999-10-01

    Some of the results obtained in the glaciological research carried out since 1979 at the Argentinian Andes are shown in this paper. The research covers a wide latitudinal gap extending from the Agua Negra glacier in the province of San Juan to the Fr?as glacier situated at Mount Tronador. Agua Negra and Piloto glaciers show a very similar behavior of almost continuous retreat since 1965 while at the Plomo region a small advance period, starting in 1982, is observed in five of the 10 glaciers studied. Finally, the Fr?as glacier fluctuations record shows a very strong recession since 1850 only interrupted by the 1976 advance that continued in 1977.

  14. The contribution of glacier melt to streamflow

    SciTech Connect

    Schaner, Neil; Voisin, Nathalie; Nijssen, Bart; Lettenmaier, D. P.

    2012-09-13

    Ongoing and projected future changes in glacier extent and water storage globally have lead to concerns about the implications for water supplies. However, the current magnitude of glacier contributions to river runoff is not well known, nor is the population at risk to future glacier changes. We estimate an upper bound on glacier melt contribution to seasonal streamflow by computing the energy balance of glaciers globally. Melt water quantities are computed as a fraction of total streamflow simulated using a hydrology model and the melt fraction is tracked down the stream network. In general, our estimates of the glacier melt contribution to streamflow are lower than previously published values. Nonetheless, we find that globally an estimated 225 (36) million people live in river basins where maximum seasonal glacier melt contributes at least 10% (25%) of streamflow, mostly in the High Asia region.

  15. UV - GLACIER NATIONAL PARK MT

    EPA Science Inventory

    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 ...

  16. Mountain Glaciers and Ice Caps

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ananichheva, Maria; Arendt, Anthony; Hagen, Jon-Ove; Hock, Regine; Josberger, Edward G.; Moore, R. Dan; Pfeffer, William Tad; Wolken, Gabriel J.

    2011-01-01

    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.

  17. Devonian volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits and occurrences, southern Yukon-Tanana Terrace, eastern Alaska Range, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lange, I.M.; Nokleberg, W.J.; Newkirk, S.R.; Aleinikoff, J.N.; Church, S.E.; Krouse, H.R.

    1993-01-01

    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

  18. Energy/Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miller, Thomas P.

    Alaska's energy resources are of vital concern to the nation and to the State of Alaska and have been the focus of numerous accounts, articles, and books in recent years. Energy/Alaska represents an ambitious attempt to discuss all known types of energy resources in Alaska, including their history, development, and potential. Individual chapters are devoted to wood, biomass and peat, coal, petroleum, solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal, and nuclear energy. Two introductory chapters address the nature of Alaska's energy use and include definitions; a concluding chapter is devoted to the future of Alaska's energy resources.

  19. Hydrology and Flood Profiles of Duck Creek and Jordan Creek Downstream from Egan Drive, Juneau, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Curran, Janet H.

    2007-01-01

    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.

  20. The status of glaciers in Sikkim Himalaya

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    basnett, S.; Kulkarni, A. V.; Bolch, T.

    2013-12-01

    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.

  1. Indicators of recent environmental change in Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Jacoby, G.C.; D`Arrigo, R.D.; Juday, G.

    1997-12-31

    Climate models predict that global warming due to the effects of increasing trace gases will be amplified in northern high latitude regions, including Alaska. Several environmental indicators, including tree-ring based temperature reconstructions, borcal forest growth measurements and observations of glacial retreat all indicate that the general warming of the past century has been significant relative to prior centuries to millenia. The tree-ring records for central and northern Alaska indicate that annual temperature increased over the past century, peaked in the 1940s, and are still near the highest level for the past three centuries (Jacoby and D`Arrigo 1995). The tree-ring analyses also suggest that drought stress may now be a factor limiting growth at many northern sites. The recent warming combined with drier years may be altering the response of tree growth to climate and raising the likelihood of forest changes in Alaska and other boreal forests. Other tree-ring and forest data from southern and interior Alaska provide indices of the response of vegetation to extreme events (e.g., insect outbreaks, snow events) in Alaska (Juday and marler 1996). Historical maps, field measurements and satellite imagery indicate that Alaskan glaciers have receded over the past century (e.g., Hall and Benson 1996). Severe outbreaks of bark beetles may be on the increase due to warming, which can shorten their reproductive cycle. Such data and understanding of causes are useful for policy makers and others interested in evaluation of possible impacts of trace-gas induced warming and environmental change in the United States.

  2. Hasty retreat of glaciers in northern Patagonia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paul, Frank; Mlg, Nico

    2014-05-01

    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.

  3. Glacier area changes in Northern Eurasia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Khromova, Tatiana; Nosenko, Gennady; Kutuzov, Stanislav; Muraviev, Anton; Chernova, Ludmila

    2014-01-01

    Glaciers are widely recognized as key indicators of climate change. Recent evidence suggests an acceleration of glacier mass loss in several key mountain regions. Glacier recession implies landscape changes in the glacial zone, the origin of new lakes and activation of natural disaster processes, catastrophic mudflows, ice avalanches, outburst floods, etc. The absence or inadequacy of such information results in financial and human losses. A more comprehensive evaluation of glacier changes is imperative to assess ice contributions to global sea level rise and the future of water resources from glacial basins. One of the urgent steps is a full inventory of all ice bodies and their changes. The first estimation of glacier state and glacier distribution on the territory of the former Soviet Union has been done in the USSR Glacier Inventory (UGI) published in 1965-1982. The UGI is based on topographic maps and air photos and reflects the status of the glaciers in the 1940s-1970s. There is information about 28?884 glaciers with an area of 7830.75 km2 in the inventory. It covers 25 glacier systems in Northern Eurasia. In the 1980s the UGI has been transformed into digital form as a part of the World Glacier Inventory (WGI). Recent satellite data provide a unique opportunity to look again at these glaciers and to evaluate changes in glacier extent for the second part of the 20th century. About 15?000 glacier outlines for the Caucasus, Polar Urals, Pamir Alay, Tien Shan, Altai, Kamchatka and Russian Arctic have been derived from ASTER and Landsat imagery and can be used for glacier change evaluation. Results of the analysis indicate the steady trend in glacier shrinkage in all mountain regions for the second part of the 20th century. Glacier area loss for the studied regions varies from 13% (Tien Shan) to 22.3% (Polar Urals). The common driver, most likely, is an increase in summer air temperature. There is also a very large variability in the degree of individual glacier degradation, very much depending on the morphology and local meteorological conditions.

  4. Geologic methane seeps along boundaries of Arctic permafrost thaw and melting glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walter Anthony, Katey M.; Anthony, Peter; Grosse, Guido; Chanton, Jeffrey

    2012-06-01

    Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, accumulates in subsurface hydrocarbon reservoirs, such as coal beds and natural gas deposits. In the Arctic, permafrost and glaciers form a `cryosphere cap' that traps gas leaking from these reservoirs, restricting flow to the atmosphere. With a carbon store of over 1,200Pg, the Arctic geologic methane reservoir is large when compared with the global atmospheric methane pool of around 5Pg. As such, the Earth's climate is sensitive to the escape of even a small fraction of this methane. Here, we document the release of 14C-depleted methane to the atmosphere from abundant gas seeps concentrated along boundaries of permafrost thaw and receding glaciers in Alaska and Greenland, using aerial and ground surface survey data and in situ measurements of methane isotopes and flux. We mapped over 150,000 seeps, which we identified as bubble-induced open holes in lake ice. These seeps were characterized by anomalously high methane fluxes, and in Alaska by ancient radiocarbon ages and stable isotope values that matched those of coal bed and thermogenic methane accumulations. Younger seeps in Greenland were associated with zones of ice-sheet retreat since the Little Ice Age. Our findings imply that in a warming climate, disintegration of permafrost, glaciers and parts of the polar ice sheets could facilitate the transient expulsion of 14C-depleted methane trapped by the cryosphere cap.

  5. Seismic and Acoustic Observations of Bering Glacier Calving Events

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Richardson, J.; Fitzgerald, K.; Pennington, W.

    2008-12-01

    During the summer field season of 2007, four seismograph stations were deployed for ten days near the terminus of the Bering Glacier in southeast Alaska. While the array was sparse and only recorded for a limited time, it was found that events were recorded with sources both near the terminal face of the glacier, and also by grounded and/or floating icebergs within Vitus Lake. In order to further investigate the source mechanisms and locations of these events, an experiment was designed for the following 2008 field season to create a more robust seismic array and to use infrasound detectors to aid in event location and characterization. In June 2008, seven L-22 short period geophones were deployed on islands and along the shores of Vitus Lake near the terminus of the Bering Glacier. For nearly two months, these stations recorded calving events from the terminus and from grounded and/or floating icebergs within Vitus Lake. In early August, three of the existing seismograph stations were implemented with an additional equilateral-triangular array of infrasound detectors. The infrasound and seismic stations operated simultaneously for five days before they were recovered. The combined infrasound and seismic data sets provide the ability to characterize different types of sources, and trends were inferred over the longer term deployment of the seismic data. By studying the spectral characteristics of the ground and air signals, we attempt to improve our understanding of the nature of the sources, which may include submarine, as well as subaerial, calving events. Additional data used in this analysis include boundary constraints such as water depth and ice edge heights at locations as measured during the summer 2007 and 2008 field seasons.

  6. The calving glaciers of southern South America

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Warren, Charles; Aniya, Masamu

    1999-10-01

    Calving glaciers constitute a great majority of all glaciers in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, and are dynamically important elements of the southern South American icefields. Large numbers of tidewater glaciers calve into the Chilean fjords, and many outlet glaciers terminate in proglacial lakes. Most probably, all are temperate and grounded, with steep mass balance gradients. A majority of these glaciers remained largely unknown to science until very recently. This paper reviews recent research in the region in the context of glaciological and Quaternary debates, and discusses current understanding and uncertainties. During the 20th century most glaciers have retreated, but the particular dynamics of calving glaciers have produced some striking exceptions to this regional trend, producing sustained advances (e.g., Glaciar Pio XI, Glaciar Perito Moreno), accelerated retreats (e.g., Glaciar O'Higgins, Glaciar Marinelli), and long-maintained stillstands of glaciers with very high accumulation area ratios (e.g., Glaciar Calvo). The relative importance of climatic, topographic, and glaciodynamic controls on regional patterns of glacier fluctuation remain an enigma, especially in the Cordillera Darwin, but space-borne radar imagery is now yielding much information. Key research themes in recent years include: (1) glacier inventory work using remotely-sensed data; (2) calving rates and calving dynamics, particularly the contrast between calving rates in tidewater and freshwater; (3) glacier/climate relationships, both in historic and longer timeframes; and (4) geographic contrasts in glacier behaviour, especially the relative significance of precipitation and temperature for glacier mass balance in this region of steep climatic gradients. Many intriguing and important questions cannot presently be resolved due to the paucity of mass balance and climatic data, but current research is yielding data that have regional, interhemispheric and theoretical significance.

  7. Recent acceleration of Thwaites Glacier

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ferrigno, J. G.

    1993-01-01

    The first velocity measurements for Thwaites Glacier were made by R. J. Allen in 1977. He compared features of Thwaites Glacier and Iceberg Tongue on aerial photography from 1947 and 1967 with 1972 Landsat images, and measured average annual displacements of 3.7 and 2.3 km/a. Using his photogrammetric experience and taking into consideration the lack of definable features and the poor control in the area, he estimated an average velocity of 2.0 to 2.9 km/a to be more accurate. In 1985, Lindstrom and Tyler also made velocity estimates for Thwaites Glacier. Using Landsat imagery from 1972 and 1983, their estimates of the velocities of 33 points ranged from 2.99 to 4.02 km/a, with an average of 3.6 km/a. The accuracy of their estimates is uncertain, however, because in the absence of fixed control points, they assumed that the velocities of icebergs in the fast ice were uniform. Using additional Landsat imagery in 1984 and 1990, accurate coregistration with the 1972 image was achieved based on fixed rock points. For the period 1972 to 1984, 25 points on the glacier surface ranged in average velocity from 2.47 to 2.76 km/a, with an overall average velocity of 2.62 +/- 0.02 km/a. For the period 1984 to 1990, 101 points ranged in velocity from 2.54 to 3.15 km/a, with an overall average of 2.84 km/a. During both time periods, the velocity pattern showed the same spatial relationship for three longitudinal paths. The 8-percent acceleration in a decade is significant. This recent acceleration may be associated with changes observed in this region since 1986. Fast ice melted and several icebergs calved from the base of the Iceberg Tongue and the terminus of Thwaites Glacier. However, as early as 1972, the Iceberg Tongue had very little contact with the glacier.

  8. Radiocarbon Dates Link Marine Incursion and Neoglacial Ice Terminus Advance With Tlingit Ethnohistory and Archeology in Lower Glacier Bay

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Connor, C. L.; Monteith, D.; Howell, W.; Strevelar, G.; Leirer, M.

    2004-12-01

    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' 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.

  9. Alaska's Economy: What's Ahead?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Alaska Review of Social and Economic Conditions, 1987

    1987-01-01

    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

  10. Alaska Natives & the Land.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Arnold, Robert D.; And Others

    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…

  11. Alaska's Children, 1997.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Douglas, Dorothy, Ed.

    1997-01-01

    These four issues of the "Alaska's Children" provide information on the activities of the Alaska Head Start State Collaboration Project and other Head Start activities. Legal and policy changes affecting the education of young children in Alaska are also discussed. The Spring 1997 issue includes articles on brain development and the "I Am Your…

  12. From 'true' glaciers to rock glaciers? The case of the Llanos la Liebre rock glacier, dry Andes of Chile.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Monnier, S.; Kinnard, C.

    2012-04-01

    In the dry Andes of Chile, rock glaciers are the most widespread and remarkable superficial landforms, and may constitute important solid water reservoirs. The existence of huge (up to 2-3 kilometres of length) rock glaciers located in deep cirques questions possible derivation from former 'true' glaciers. The issue is of importance (i) for understanding the mechanisms of the landscape evolution from glacial realm to periglacial realm, and (ii) because it may determine the ice content of the concerned rock glaciers. In the Colorado Río valley, in the upper part of the Elqui catchment (~30.15 deg. S and 70.80 deg. W), we investigated the internal structure of the Llanos la Liebre rock glacier using ground-penetrating radar (GPR). With 50 MHz antennas and a constant offset of 2 m between antennas, we performed various GPR profiles, especially a ~2.2 km-long one almost covering the entire length of the rock glacier. The processing and the subsequent interpretation of the GPR data were mainly based on the modelling of the radar wave velocity. Hence, the final representation of the internal structure of the rock glacier integrates the reconstructed stratigraphy, the 2-D velocity model, and first attempts for estimating the ice/water contents. The most striking results are: the neat identification of the base of the superficial blocky layer and of the rock glacier floor; the occurrence of stratigraphic patterns reminiscent of 'true' glaciers; the supremacy of high radar wave velocities in the upper part of the rock glacier. On the latter bases and taking into account the whole geomorphology of the site, the derivation of the Llanos la Liebre rock glacier from a former, buried glacier is debated.

  13. U-Pb and Hf isotope analysis of detrital zircons from Mesozoic strata of the Gravina belt, southeast Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yokelson, Intan; Gehrels, George E.; Pecha, Mark; Giesler, Dominique; White, Chelsi; McClelland, William C.

    2015-10-01

    The Gravina belt consists of Upper Jurassic through Lower Cretaceous marine clastic strata and mafic-intermediate volcanic rocks that occur along the western flank of the Coast Mountains in southeast Alaska and coastal British Columbia. This report presents U-Pb ages and Hf isotope determinations of detrital zircons that have been recovered from samples collected from various stratigraphic levels and from along the length of the belt. The results support previous interpretations that strata in the western portion of the Gravina belt accumulated along the inboard margin of the Alexander-Wrangellia terrane and in a back-arc position with respect to the western Coast Mountains batholith. Our results are also consistent with previous suggestions that eastern strata accumulated along the western margin of the inboard Stikine, Yukon-Tanana, and Taku terranes and in a fore-arc position with respect to the eastern Coast Mountains batholith. The history of juxtaposition of western and eastern assemblages is obscured by subsequent plutonism, deformation, and metamorphism within the Coast Mountains orogen, but may have occurred along an Early Cretaceous sinistral transform system. Our results are inconsistent with models in which an east-facing subduction zone existed along the inboard margin of the Alexander-Wrangellia terrane during Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous time.

  14. Recent Observations and Structural Analysis of Surge-Type Glaciers in the Glacier Bay Area

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mayer, H.; Herzfeld, U. C.

    2003-12-01

    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.

  15. Nitrogen fixation on Arctic glaciers, Svalbard

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Telling, Jon; Anesio, Alexandre M.; Tranter, Martyn; Irvine-Fynn, Tristram; Hodson, Andy; Butler, Catriona; Wadham, Jemma

    2011-09-01

    Glacier surfaces contain a wide diversity of microorganisms and can host a range of microbial activities. However, microbial nutrient cycling on glaciers is poorly understood. This study is the first to document nitrogen fixation (nitrogenase activity) on glaciers and demonstrate its importance in supporting microbial growth. Rates of nitrogen fixation (nitrogenase activity) in cryoconite holes on three valley glaciers in Svalbard ranged from <2.0 to 99.9 ?mol ethylene m-2 d-1 with rates inversely correlated to concentrations of available inorganic nitrogen. Annual inputs of nitrogen by nitrogen fixation on a glacier catchment scale are more than 2 orders of magnitude lower than the combined nitrogen inputs from snowmelt and rain. However, nitrogen fixation can be important for supporting microbial growth on the glaciers during the middle to late melt season after the snowline has retreated upslope.

  16. 1. PARKING LOT AT GLACIER POINT. HALF DOME AT CENTER ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    1. PARKING LOT AT GLACIER POINT. HALF DOME AT CENTER REAR. LOOKING NE. GIS: N-36 43 45.8 / W-119 34 14.1 - Glacier Point Road, Between Chinquapin Flat & Glacier Point, Yosemite Village, Mariposa County, CA

  17. 5. GLACIER POINT ROAD VIEW AT SENTINEL DOME PARKING AREA. ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    5. GLACIER POINT ROAD VIEW AT SENTINEL DOME PARKING AREA. LOOKING E. GIS: N-37 42 43.8 / W-119 35 12.1 - Glacier Point Road, Between Chinquapin Flat & Glacier Point, Yosemite Village, Mariposa County, CA

  18. The GAMDAM Glacier Inventory: a quality controlled inventory of Asian glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

    2014-06-01

    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.

  19. Antarctica: measuring glacier velocity from satellite images

    SciTech Connect

    Lucchitta, B.K.; Ferguson, H.M.

    1986-11-28

    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.

  20. Antarctica: Measuring glacier velocity from satellite images

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lucchitta, B.K.; Ferguson, H.M.

    1986-01-01

    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.

  1. Internationally coordinated glacier monitoring: strategy and datasets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hoelzle, Martin; Armstrong, Richard; Fetterer, Florence; Gärtner-Roer, Isabelle; Haeberli, Wilfried; Kääb, Andreas; Kargel, Jeff; Nussbaumer, Samuel; Paul, Frank; Raup, Bruce; Zemp, Michael

    2014-05-01

    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.

  2. Winter speed-up of ice flow at quiescent surge-type glaciers in Yukon, Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Furuya, M.; Abe, T.

    2013-12-01

    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.

  3. Brief communication: Getting Greenland's glaciers right - a new data set of all official Greenlandic glacier names

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bjørk, A. A.; Kruse, L. M.; Michaelsen, P. B.

    2015-12-01

    Place names in Greenland can be difficult to get right, as they are a mix of Greenlandic, Danish, and other foreign languages. In addition, orthographies have changed over time. With this new data set, we give the researcher working with Greenlandic glaciers the proper tool to find the correct name for glaciers and ice caps in Greenland and to locate glaciers described in the historic literature with the old Greenlandic orthography. The data set contains information on the names of 733 glaciers, 285 originating from the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) and 448 from local glaciers and ice caps (LGICs).

  4. GLIMS: Progress in Mapping the World's glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Raup, B. H.; Khalsa, S. J. S.; Armstrong, R.; Racoviteanu, A.

    2009-04-01

    The Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) initiative has built a database of glacier outlines and related attributes, derived primarily from satellite imagery, such as from ASTER and Landsat. Each snapshot of a glacier is from a specific time, and the database is designed to store multiple snapshots representative of different times. The database currently contains outlines for approximately 83,000 glaciers. Of these, 549 glaciers have outlines from more than one time, which can be studied for change. The glacier-by-glacier area-change signal over large areas tends to be noisy, but the mode of the distribution of area change for these 549 glaciers is -5%. We have implemented two web-based interfaces to the database. One enables exploration of the data via interactive maps (Web map server), while the other allows searches based on text-field constraints. The Web map server creates interactive maps on our Web site, www.glims.org, and can also supply glacier layers to other servers over the Internet. As a service to the GLIMS community, the database contains metadata on all ASTER imagery (approximately 200,000 images) acquired over glacierized terrain. Reduced-resolution images can be viewed either as a layer in the MapServer application, or overlaid on the virtual globe within Google Earth. The system allows users to download their selected glacier data in a choice of formats. The results of a query based on spatial selection (using a mouse) or text-field constraints can be downloaded in any of these formats: ESRI shapefiles, KML (Google Earth), MapInfo, GML (Geography Markup Language) and GMT (Generic Mapping Tools). This "clip-and-ship" function allows users to download only the data they are interested in. In this presentation we describe our flexible Web interfaces to the database, which includes various ancillary layers, facilitates enhanced analysis of glacier systems, their distribution, and their impacts on other Earth systems.

  5. Dissolved organic matter export in glacial and non-glacial streams along the Gulf of Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hood, E. W.; Scott, D.; Jeffery, A.; Schreiber, S.; Heavner, M.; Edwards, R.; D'Amore, D. V.; Fellman, J.

    2009-12-01

    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.

  6. Glaciers. Attribution of global glacier mass loss to anthropogenic and natural causes.

    PubMed

    Marzeion, Ben; Cogley, J Graham; Richter, Kristin; Parkes, David

    2014-08-22

    The ongoing global glacier retreat is affecting human societies by causing sea-level rise, changing seasonal water availability, and increasing geohazards. Melting glaciers are an icon of anthropogenic climate change. However, glacier response times are typically decades or longer, which implies that the present-day glacier retreat is a mixed response to past and current natural climate variability and current anthropogenic forcing. Here we show that only 25 35% of the global glacier mass loss during the period from 1851 to 2010 is attributable to anthropogenic causes. Nevertheless, the anthropogenic signal is detectable with high confidence in glacier mass balance observations during 1991 to 2010, and the anthropogenic fraction of global glacier mass loss during that period has increased to 69 24%. PMID:25123485

  7. Using Metaphorical Models for Describing Glaciers

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Felzmann, Dirk

    2014-01-01

    To date, there has only been little conceptual change research regarding conceptions about glaciers. This study used the theoretical background of embodied cognition to reconstruct different metaphorical concepts with respect to the structure of a glacier. Applying the Model of Educational Reconstruction, the conceptions of students and scientists

  8. Microbial biodiversity in glacier-fed streams

    PubMed Central

    Wilhelm, Linda; Singer, Gabriel A; Fasching, Christina; Battin, Tom J; Besemer, Katharina

    2013-01-01

    While glaciers become increasingly recognised as a habitat for diverse and active microbial communities, effects of their climate change-induced retreat on the microbial ecology of glacier-fed streams remain elusive. Understanding the effect of climate change on microorganisms in these ecosystems is crucial given that microbial biofilms control numerous stream ecosystem processes with potential implications for downstream biodiversity and biogeochemistry. Here, using a space-for-time substitution approach across 26 Alpine glaciers, we show how microbial community composition and diversity, based on 454-pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene, in biofilms of glacier-fed streams may change as glaciers recede. Variations in streamwater geochemistry correlated with biofilm community composition, even at the phylum level. The most dominant phyla detected in glacial habitats were Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria and Cyanobacteria/chloroplasts. Microorganisms from ice had the lowest ? diversity and contributed marginally to biofilm and streamwater community composition. Rather, streamwater apparently collected microorganisms from various glacial and non-glacial sources forming the upstream metacommunity, thereby achieving the highest ? diversity. Biofilms in the glacier-fed streams had intermediate ? diversity and species sorting by local environmental conditions likely shaped their community composition. ? diversity of streamwater and biofilm communities decreased with elevation, possibly reflecting less diverse sources of microorganisms upstream in the catchment. In contrast, ? diversity of biofilms decreased with increasing streamwater temperature, suggesting that glacier retreat may contribute to the homogenisation of microbial communities among glacier-fed streams. PMID:23486246

  9. Muir Glacier and Muir Inlet 2003

    USGS Multimedia Gallery

    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,...

  10. Using Metaphorical Models for Describing Glaciers

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Felzmann, Dirk

    2014-01-01

    To date, there has only been little conceptual change research regarding conceptions about glaciers. This study used the theoretical background of embodied cognition to reconstruct different metaphorical concepts with respect to the structure of a glacier. Applying the Model of Educational Reconstruction, the conceptions of students and scientists…

  11. Microbial biodiversity in glacier-fed streams.

    PubMed

    Wilhelm, Linda; Singer, Gabriel A; Fasching, Christina; Battin, Tom J; Besemer, Katharina

    2013-08-01

    While glaciers become increasingly recognised as a habitat for diverse and active microbial communities, effects of their climate change-induced retreat on the microbial ecology of glacier-fed streams remain elusive. Understanding the effect of climate change on microorganisms in these ecosystems is crucial given that microbial biofilms control numerous stream ecosystem processes with potential implications for downstream biodiversity and biogeochemistry. Here, using a space-for-time substitution approach across 26 Alpine glaciers, we show how microbial community composition and diversity, based on 454-pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene, in biofilms of glacier-fed streams may change as glaciers recede. Variations in streamwater geochemistry correlated with biofilm community composition, even at the phylum level. The most dominant phyla detected in glacial habitats were Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria and Cyanobacteria/chloroplasts. Microorganisms from ice had the lowest ? diversity and contributed marginally to biofilm and streamwater community composition. Rather, streamwater apparently collected microorganisms from various glacial and non-glacial sources forming the upstream metacommunity, thereby achieving the highest ? diversity. Biofilms in the glacier-fed streams had intermediate ? diversity and species sorting by local environmental conditions likely shaped their community composition. ? diversity of streamwater and biofilm communities decreased with elevation, possibly reflecting less diverse sources of microorganisms upstream in the catchment. In contrast, ? diversity of biofilms decreased with increasing streamwater temperature, suggesting that glacier retreat may contribute to the homogenisation of microbial communities among glacier-fed streams. PMID:23486246

  12. NASA's DESDynI in Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sauber, J. M.; Hofton, M. A.; Bruhn, R. L.; Forster, R. R.; Burgess, E. W.; Cotton, M. M.

    2010-12-01

    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.

  13. Calving at Pine Island Glacier

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Humbert, A.; Wilkens, N.; Braun, M.; Floricioiu, D.; Plate, C.; Mller, R.

    2012-04-01

    The calving mechanism of tabular icebergs is one of the major unknowns in glaciology and hence calving events at locations where the glaciological variables of ice shelves or ice tongues are well known are ideal natural setups for studying these mechanisms. Pine Island Glacier, a marine based outlet glacier of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, reaches velocities of up to 4 km/a in the vicinity of the calving front. Its floating tongue has an average thickness of about 500m. This floating tongue loses mass by strong basal melting and calving events of large tabular icebergs. In October 2011 a new 24 km long rift has formed and propagated to a length of 28km in the subsequent weeks. Since then an area of about 750km2 is suspected to calve off in the near future. We will present the temporal evolution of this well surveyed calving event using high resolution radar imagery obtained by the TerraSAR-X satellite. This includes rift length and width, as well as the changes in the flow velocities estimated using speckle tracking. Furthermore, we will discuss the changes of the shear margin and the melange area that constrains the tongue at its eastern side over the past decade. In particular, the changes at an ice rise located in the shear margin and in the vicinity of the rift will be investigated using SAR interferometry. The decline of the formerly dome-like grounded spot has contributed to a widening of the shear margin and the formation of a heterogeneous ice melange. This changes the lateral (stress) boundary condition that the floating part of the glacier experiences. Therefore, we compare the rift creation and evolution of the upcoming calving event with the one in 2007.

  14. Effects of basal debris on glacier flow.

    PubMed

    Iverson, Neal R; Cohen, Denis; Hooyer, Thomas S; Fischer, Urs H; Jackson, Miriam; Moore, Peter L; Lappegard, Gaute; Kohler, Jack

    2003-07-01

    Glacier movement is resisted partially by debris, either within glaciers or under glaciers in water-saturated layers. In experiments beneath a thick, sliding glacier, ice containing 2 to 11% debris exerted shear traction of 60 to 200 kilopascals on a smooth rock bed, comparable to the total shear traction beneath glaciers and contrary to the usual assumption that debris-bed friction is negligible. Imposed pore-water pressure that was 60 to 100% of the normal stress in a subglacial debris layer reduced shear traction on the debris sufficiently to halt its deformation and cause slip of ice over the debris. Slip resistance was thus less than debris shearing resistance. PMID:12843389

  15. Glaciers in 21st Century Himalayan Geopolitics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kargel, J. S.; Wessels, R.; Kieffer, H. H.

    2002-05-01

    Glaciers are ablating rapidly the world over. Nowhere are the rates of retreat and downwasting greater than in the Hindu Kush-Himalaya (HKH) region. It is estimated that over the next century, 40,000 square kilometers of present glacier area in the HKH region will become ice free. Most of this area is in major valleys and the lowest glaciated mountain passes. The existence and characteristics of glaciers have security impacts, and rapidly changing HKH glaciers have broad strategic implications: (1) Glaciers supply much of the fresh water and hydroelectric power in South and Central Asia, and so glaciers are valuable resources. (2) Shared economic interests in water, hydroelectricity, flood hazards, and habitat preservation are a force for common cause and reasoned international relations. (3) Glaciers and their high mountains generally pose a natural barrier tending to isolate people. Historically, they have hindered trade and intercultural exchanges and have protected against aggression. This has further promoted an independent spirit of the region's many ethnic groups. (4) Although glaciers are generally incompatible with human development and habitation, many of the HKH region's glaciers and their mountains have become sanctuaries and transit routes for militants. Siachen Glacier in Kashmir has for 17 years been "the world's highest battlefield," with tens of thousands of troops deployed on both sides of the India/Pakistan line of control. In 1999, that conflict threatened to trigger all-out warfare, and perhaps nuclear warfare. Other recent terrorist and military action has taken place on glaciers in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. As terrorists are forced from easily controlled territories, many may tend to migrate toward the highest ground, where definitive encounters may take place in severe alpine glacial environments. This should be a major concern in Nepali security planning, where an Army offensive is attempting to reign in an increasingly robust and brutal Maoist insurgency. (5) Glacier lakes are in many cases very fragile and their natural dams routinely rupture, causing devastating floods. A rising regional terrorist threat in several countries could target these dams and precipitate calamitous and terrifying results. (6) Over the next century, retreating glaciers may open new corridors for trade and human migration across the Himalaya and pave the way for possible new economic, military and political alliances in the region. (7) Glacier retreat might open new sanctuaries for terrorists and open new corridors for possible ground-based military offensive action across the HKH ranges. The documentation of glacier characteristics that may influence their trafficability, and projections of future glacier extent and behavior are relevant to wide ranging concerns of the region's inhabitants. Satellite remote sensing and mapping of glaciers is one approach to defining and monitoring the problems and opportunities presented by HKH glaciers. Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) is a joint USGS/NASA Pathfinder project that has formed a global consortium of glaciologists in several regional centers that are mapping and monitoring the HKH glaciers using repeat-pass ASTER and Landsat ETM+ data. We are currently building a comprehensive satellite multispectral image and GIS database that is providing detailed information on the state and rates of change of each glacier in the HKH region and other areas of the world. Merging these results with DEMs allows a predictive capability that could be useful in policy development and security planning.

  16. Arctic Warming and Sea Ice Diminution Herald Changing Glacier and Cryospheric Hazard Regimes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kargel, Jeffrey; Bush, Andrew; Leonard, Gregory

    2013-04-01

    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.

  17. Alaska Volcano Observatory

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Venezky, Dina Y.; Murray, Tom; Read, Cyrus

    2008-01-01

    Steam plume from the 2006 eruption of Augustine volcano in Cook Inlet, Alaska. Explosive ash-producing eruptions from Alaska's 40+ historically active volcanoes pose hazards to aviation, including commercial aircraft flying the busy North Pacific routes between North America and Asia. The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) monitors these volcanoes to provide forecasts of eruptive activity. AVO is a joint program of the U.S. 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). AVO is one of five USGS Volcano Hazards Program observatories that monitor U.S. volcanoes for science and public safety. Learn more about Augustine volcano and AVO at http://www.avo.alaska.edu.

  18. Radio-echo sounding of Caucasus glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lavrentiev, Ivan; Kutuzov, Stanislav; Vasilenko, Evgeny; Macheret, Yuri

    2013-04-01

    Accurate glacier volume and ice-thickness estimations are highly important for many glaciological applications. Recent glacier reduction is affecting local river discharge and contributes to the global sea level rise. However, direct measurements of ice thickness are very sparse due to its high cost and laboriousness. One of the glacierized mountain regions with a lack of direct ice-thickness measurements is Caucasus. So far data for several seismic and GPR profiles have been reported for only 3 glaciers from more than 1.7 thousands located in Caucasus. In 2010-2012 a number of ground base and airborne radio-echo sounding surveys have been accomplished in Caucasus Mountains using 20 MHz monopulse radar VIRL-6. Special aerial version of this ground penetrating radar was designed for helicopter-born measurements. The radar has a relatively long (10 m) receiving and transmitting antennas, which together with receiving, recording and transmitting devices can be mounted on a special girder, being suspended from a helicopter. VIRL-6 radar is light weight and can be quickly transformed into ground version. Equipment has been used on 16 glaciers including biggest glacier in Caucasus - Bezengi (36 km2) most of which have a highly crevassed surfaces and heterogeneous internal structure. Independent data were obtained also for two glaciers using ground version of the same VIRL-6 radar. In total more than 120 km of radar profiles were obtained. Results showed good agreement between ground and aerial measurements. Ice-thickness values exceeded 420 m for some of the Central Caucasus glaciers. Successful use of VIRL-6 radar in Caucasus opens up the possibility of using such equipment on different types of glaciers in polar and mountain regions, including temperate, polythermal and surging glaciers.

  19. The Response of Rock Glaciers and Protalus Lobes to Ice and Debris Supply in a Warming World

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Whalley, B.; Azizi, F.

    2012-12-01

    Valley glacier mass balances in upland areas are indicators of temperature and precipitation distribution and also respond in their distribution to altitude and continentality. Rock glaciers (valley floor) with low velocities, originally considered as restricted to continental interiors, have also been found in maritime areas. Rock glaciers have been considered as indicators of permafrost but have also been found with (glacier) ice cores. Protalus lobes (lobate rock glaciers) also show low velocities and thought to be admixtures of meltwater-derived ice plus rock debris and related to and indicative of permafrost. Climate forcing may be expected to produce differing responses in terms of movement and the form of the traces left when ice has melted from the system (relict/fossil forms). The formation and maintenance of these forms needs to be understood before present and palaeo-forms can be interpreted correctly. The difficulty of using admixtures of rock debris and interstitial ice to explain flow has been argued previously. This paper investigates the distribution of ice origin and debris supply to these features as part of an explanation of their origin, distribution and response to a warming climate. It also makes some predictions that should be seen in individual cases and generally for the type of feature seen. The present day distribution of glaciers, rock glaciers, protalus lobes and scree slopes from several areas is discussed (Svalbard, Iceland, Alpes Martimes, Central Alaska, New Zealand, Hundu Kush). Distributions of rock glaciers and protalus lobes are rarely coincident. This paper shows that, in the great majority of cases, small valley glaciers co-exist with rock glaciers but scree slopes (talus) only supply debris to them from valley heads. This is true in areas of known permafrost as well as where such conditions are unlikely. Glacier ice cores can be observed or inferred in both situations. Climate warming will ultimately produce modified landforms as the (glacier) ice core melts. This situation can be shown from climatic amelioration since the Little Ice Age. It is also shown that protalus lobe features are rarely found as extant (showing creep) or even fossil (non-moving) forms in locations where there are glaciers or rock glaciers, even on talus in permafrost areas. For the most part, they are independent forms. Permafrost may be a sufficient, but not necessary, component of protalus lobe formation; snow precipitation rather than temperature being the main formative control. Currently active (flowing) protalus lobes occur mainly where there has been, high snow accumulation and burial and protection of snowbanks by copious debris supplies. Finite Element Modeling shows that burial of a substantial snowbank is a feasible model for protalus lobe formation and flow but that interstitial ice-rock admixtures are unlikely to flow at observed velocities. Debris supply as well as ice presence needs to be accounted for in the dynamics of these systems. Global warming will affect rock glaciers and protalus lobes in different ways and it is now possible to remotely monitor these changes. We predict: Protalus lobes: decreasing velocity, no ice exposures seen, active snouts become inactive. Rock glaciers (ice with thick debris cover): slowing as surface lowers, snout still advancing and ice exposures increasingly seen.

  20. Scaling the Teflon Peaks: Granite, Glaciers, and the Highest Relief in North America

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ward, D.; Anderson, R. S.; Haeussler, P. J.

    2010-12-01

    We use a combination of field observations, remote sensing, and digital elevation data to demonstrate how the topographic character of the Alaska Range (Alaska, USA) has been influenced by the exhumation of Tertiary granitic plutons among more erodible sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. Observations that the mean elevations of many tectonically active mountain ranges follow closely the elevation of the mean Cenozoic snowline or glacial equilibrium line (ELA), rather than rates of tectonic rock uplift, have led to the glacial buzzsaw hypothesis - that terrain raised above the ELA is rapidly denuded by glaciers. The Alaska Range stands in prominent exception to this observation. Much of the range is developed on pervasively fractured sedimentary and metamorphic rocks and has local relief of 1000-1500 m. In contrast, early and mid-Tertiary plutons of relatively intact granite support most of the range's impressive mountains (including Mt. McKinley, or Denali, the highest mountain in North America at 6194 m), with 2500-5000 m of local relief. Moreover, these plutons are where the range's modern glaciers originate, as the high peaks protrude in some cases kilometers above modern snowlines. These glaciers flow off of the plutons onto the surrounding, softer rocks, where mean summit elevations are similar to modern snowline elevations. We exploit the Denali massif and the Kichatna Mountains to its west to illustrate the direct ways in which exhumation of granite plutons affects glacial erosion, glacier long profiles, the glacial drainage network, and the effectiveness of periglacial processes. We use simple scaling calculations to explore the potential feedbacks of relief enhancement - specifically, that of avalanching from steep valley walls - on the health of the glaciers occupying the valleys, and describe ways in which peaks can be preserved and allowed to grow to great heights. Our work indicates that most of the Alaska Range has developed in accordance with the glacial buzzsaw hypothesis, except where resistant granite has been exhumed among the weaker rocks. Differential erosion has progressively localized divides on the plutons as they were exhumed, leading to focused glaciation there. However, glacier long profiles provide evidence that glacial incision is less efficient on the granite. Cirques cannot form on the steep valley walls that are maintained by detachment of rock slabs along sheeting joints. The strong granites can therefore sustain steep walls that act as Teflon, efficiently shedding snow to the valley below. These avalanches can greatly enhance the health and the erosive power of the modern glaciers in parts of the range. During glaciations, mass is removed efficiently from the surrounding sedimentary landscape, promoting isostatic uplift of the granitic massifs. We conclude that, in places such as Denali, unusual combinations of tectonic uplift rate and rock strength have enacted a set of feedbacks that allowed the development of the highest relief in North America by enhancing glacial erosion in the valleys while preserving the peaks.

  1. Submarine Melting at Temperate Tidewater Glacier Termini: How Significant is it?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Motyka, R. J.; Truffer, M.; Powell, R. D.

    2003-12-01

    One of the most important unresolved questions concerning temperate tidewater glaciers is the role that submarine melting and proglacial convection play in controlling terminus stability. Little is known about ocean thermal forcing of temperate tidewater glaciers even though its seasonal and long-term variation may significantly influence calving speed, terminus dynamics and ocean convection. Relationships developed from field, experimental, and analytical studies on icebergs drifting and melting in seawater have been used to estimate submarine melting at calving termini. However, these calculations give estimates that are typically a small fraction of total calving rate. Recently, Motyka et al. (2003) used heat and mass balance analysis based on glacier and fjord measurements at LeConte Glacier, a tidewater glacier in southeast Alaska that terminates in 250-m-deep water, to estimate submarine melting. They found that proglacial convection was substantial and that submarine melting contributed significantly to ice loss at the terminus during late summer. Melting was at least as significant as calving in controlling terminus position - if not more. In a similar study at Columbia Glacier, Walters et al. (1988) also found that melting there was seasonally significant, with melt being about half the iceberg calving flux during the summer. These field studies indicate that iceberg analogies do not accurately reflect the dynamic process of turbulent convective flow along the terminus face that is driven by discharge of buoyant subglacial and englacial water. In our model we propose that turbulent upwelling of subglacial freshwater draws in warm ocean waters and that the mixture rises along the submarine face and melts ice. A consequence of this model is that submarine melt rates should vary as a function of ocean water temperature and subglacial discharge. We suggest that seasonal fluctuations in the terminus position of tidewater glaciers are directly related to seasonal changes in submarine melting, much as termini of land-terminating glaciers are affected by seasonal changes in surface ablation. Submarine melting may also be involved in controlling the long-term stability of tidewater glacier termini through direct oceanic thermal forcing. Submarine melting could help explain the correlation between annual "calving speed" and water depth found for many well-grounded tidewater glaciers. This is because the percentage area of the terminus face exposed to submarine melting would increase as a function of water depth. Buoyancy-driven submarine ablation and seawater temperatures could also help explain the order-of-magnitude disparity in "calving speeds" between tidewater and lacustrine settings. The lack of a strong density contrast and the generally cooler water temperatures encountered at lacustrine calving glaciers would inhibit convection and melting at a sublacustrine face in contrast to submarine environments. Lastly, there may be a spectrum of submarine melting regimes, from polar ice shelves with little subglacial discharge (e.g., Pine Island, Antarctica) to those with significant subglacial discharge (e.g., Jakobshavn, Greenland) to temperate tidewater glaciers with no floating tongue and strong seasonal subglacial discharge.

  2. Alaska's renewable energy potential.

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    2009-02-01

    This paper delivers a brief survey of renewable energy technologies applicable to Alaska's climate, latitude, geography, and geology. We first identify Alaska's natural renewable energy resources and which renewable energy technologies would be most productive. e survey the current state of renewable energy technologies and research efforts within the U.S. and, where appropriate, internationally. We also present information on the current state of Alaska's renewable energy assets, incentives, and commercial enterprises. Finally, we escribe places where research efforts at Sandia National Laboratories could assist the state of Alaska with its renewable energy technology investment efforts.

  3. The influence of supraglacial debris cover on glacier hydrology: Miage Glacier, Italy.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fyffe, C. L.; Brock, B. W.; Kirkbride, M. P.; Mair, D. W. F.

    2012-04-01

    The Miage Glacier is a debris-covered glacier in the western Italian Alps. An integrated study of its hydrology, including dye tracing, glacier velocity measurements and water chemistry analysis of the proglacial stream was performed throughout the 2010 and 2011 ablation seasons. These data were used to elucidate the structure and seasonal evolution of the hydrological system. Slower and smaller streams were found to occur on the more thickly debris covered lower glacier, which gave traces indicative of an inefficient subglacial system. This may be due to the uneven topography of the lower glacier, which is characterised by small supraglacial catchments with low ablation rates. The largest streams were found draining the debris free upper glacier, and these gave faster and more peaked returns. This means that unlike on clean glaciers, the tracer velocity was faster with increasing distance up-glacier. The glacier responds dynamically to variations in meltwater input over periods of a few days at the beginning of the melt season, as well as after cooler weather in July. The delaying influence of the debris cover is highlighted in the reduced amplitude of diurnal variations in meltwater discharge, especially early in the season when the upper glacier is snow covered.

  4. The GAMDAM glacier inventory: a quality-controlled inventory of Asian glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

    2015-05-01

    We present a new glacier inventory for high-mountain Asia named "Glacier Area Mapping for Discharge from the Asian Mountains" (GAMDAM). Glacier outlines were delineated manually using 356 Landsat ETM+ scenes in 226 path-row sets from the period 1999-2003, in conjunction with a digital elevation model (DEM) and high-resolution Google EarthTM imagery. Geolocations are largely 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 peer review of glacier outlines in order to maintain the consistency and quality of the inventory. Our GAMDAM glacier inventory (GGI) includes 87 084 glaciers covering a total area of 91 263 ± 13 689 km2 throughout high-mountain Asia. In the Hindu Kush-Himalaya range, the total glacier area in our inventory is 93% that of the ICIMOD (International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development) inventory. Discrepancies between the two regional data sets are due mainly to the effects of glacier shading. In contrast, our inventory represents significantly less surface area (-24%) than the recent global Randolph Glacier Inventory, version 4.0 (RGI), which includes 119 863 ± 9201 km2 for the entirety of high Asian mountains. Likely causes of this disparity include headwall definition, effects of exclusion of shaded glacier areas, glacier recession since the 1970s, and inclusion of seasonal snow cover in the source data of the RGI, although it is difficult to evaluate such effects quantitatively. Further rigorous peer review of GGI will both improve the quality of glacier inventory in high-mountain Asia and provide new opportunities to study Asian glaciers.

  5. Black soot and the survival of Tibetan glaciers

    PubMed Central

    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

    2009-01-01

    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. PMID:19996173

  6. Alaska Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Facility science data processing architecture

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hilland, Jeffrey E.; Bicknell, Thomas; Miller, Carol L.

    1991-01-01

    The paper describes the architecture of the Alaska SAR Facility (ASF) at Fairbanks, being developed to generate science data products for supporting research in sea ice motion, ice classification, sea-ice-ocean interaction, glacier behavior, ocean waves, and hydrological and geological study areas. Special attention is given to the individual substructures of the ASF: the Receiving Ground Station (RGS), the SAR Processor System, and the Interactive Image Analysis System. The SAR data will be linked to the RGS by the ESA ERS-1 and ERS-2, the Japanese ERS-1, and the Canadian Radarsat.

  7. Quantifying global warming from the retreat of glaciers

    SciTech Connect

    Oerlemans, J. )

    1994-04-08

    Records of glacier fluctuations compiled by the World Glacier Monitoring Service can be used to derive an independent estimate of global warming during the last 100 years. Records of different glaciers are made comparable by a two-step scaling procedure; one allowing for differences in glacier geometry, the other for differences in climate sensitivity. The retreat of glaciers during the last 100 years appears to be coherent over the globe. On the basis of modeling of the climate sensitivity of glaciers, the observed glacier retreat can be explained by a linear warming trend of 0.66 kelvin per century.

  8. Shrinking Alpine glaciers spell trouble for Europe's rivers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schultz, Colin

    2011-10-01

    Within the frosted peaks of the Swiss Alps, the cycle of winter precipitation accumulation and springtime melt provides a seasonal flow of water to much of western Europe. Research into the freshwater contributions of Alpine glaciers has predominantly looked to measure water released directly from glacier melt. A glacier's overall water storage, however, which takes into account the snow that resides on the glacier's surface, more accurately describes the role Swiss glaciers play in feeding European streams. A new analysis by Huss that investigated the effects of changing Swiss glacier storage on the flows of four of Europe's largest rivers suggests that glaciers may be more important than previously realized.

  9. Glaciers in Patagonia: Controversy and prospects

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kargel, J. S.; Alho, P.; Buytaert, W.; Clleri, R.; Cogley, J. G.; Dussaillant, A.; Guido, Z.; Haeberli, W.; Harrison, S.; Leonard, G.; Maxwell, A.; Meier, C.; Poveda, G.; Reid, B.; Reynolds, J.; Rodrguez, C. A. Portocarrero; Romero, H.; Schneider, J.

    2012-05-01

    Lately, glaciers have been subjects of unceasing controversy. Current debate about planned hydroelectric facilitiesa US7- to 10-billion megaprojectin a pristine glacierized area of Patagonia, Chile [Romero Toledo et al., 2009; Vince, 2010], has raised anew the matter of how glaciologists and global change experts can contribute their knowledge to civic debates on important issues. There has been greater respect for science in this controversy than in some previous debates over projects that pertain to glaciers, although valid economic motivations again could trump science and drive a solution to the energy supply problem before the associated safety and environmental problems are understood. The connection between glaciers and climate changeboth anthropogenic and naturalis fundamental to glaciology and to glaciers' practical importance for water and hydropower resources, agriculture, tourism, mining, natural hazards, ecosystem conservation, and sea level [Buytaert et al., 2010; Glasser et al., 2011]. The conflict between conservation and development can be sharper in glacierized regions than almost anywhere else. Glaciers occur in spectacular natural landscapes, but they also supply prodigious exploitable meltwater.

  10. A summary of ERTS data applications in Alaska

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Miller, J. M.; Belon, A. E.

    1974-01-01

    ERTS has proven to be an exceedingly useful tool for the preparation of urgently needed resource surveys in Alaska. For this reason the wide utilization of ERTS data by federal, state and industrial agencies in Alaska is increasingly directed toward the solution of operational problems in resource inventories, environmental surveys, and land use planning. Examples of some applications are discussed in connection with surveys of potential agricultural lands; mapping of predicted archaeological sites; permafrost terrain and aufeis mapping; snow melt enhancement from Prudhoe Bay roads; geologic interpretations correlated ith possible new petroleum fields, with earthquake activity, and with plate tectonic motion along the Denali fault system; hydrology in monitoring surging glaciers and the break-up characteristics of the Chena River watershed; sea-ice morphology correlated with marine mammal distribution; and coastal sediment plume circulation patterns.

  11. Glacier Monitoring: Opportunities, Accomplishments, and Limitations.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meier, M. F.; Dyurgerov, M. B.

    2001-12-01

    Glaciers and ice caps, exclusive of the two major ice sheets, have been monitored for more than a century. Initially sparked by interest in the effect of glaciers on the landscape and their sensitive response to changes of climate, glacier study is now additionally motivated because of impacts on cold-regions ecology and hydrology as well as global sea-level rise. Glacier observations in many areas provide the only real data on climate change in the mountains. A substantial number of mass balance programs were initiated during the 1960s that improved our understanding of spatial and temporal changes in climate, and provided a basis for projecting future changes to glaciers and sea level. These results show a general increase in both snow accumulation and ice melting during the last 40 years (but with net wastage predominating), and a marked increase in the sensitivity of ice wastage to air temperature since the late 1980s. The World Data Center system provided unrestricted exchange of data among glaciologists during the `cold war.' The World Glacier Monitoring Service together with the National Snow and Ice Data Center and several individuals now provide ready access to glacier data. Remaining problems include inadequate access to digital data, a size bias to small glaciers, some traditional methodologies which limit the usefulness of the results, slow incorporation of new technologies, complexity of incorporating glacier dynamics in mass balance analysis, and insufficient attention by some investigators to reporting observational error. Perhaps the most difficult problems are the extension of limited data to the synthesis of broad regional or global conclusions, and a general dwindling of support for monitoring activities.

  12. Central Himalayan Glaciers and Climate Change- Pinder Glacier- A preliminary study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pillai, J.; Patel, L. K.

    2011-12-01

    Glaciers in the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) are the prime lifeline of Indian Subcontinent. There are about nine thousand glaciers of different size in this region. It is located within the latitudes 270N to 360N and longitude 720E to 960E. The second largest glacier, outside the polar and sub polar regions, Siachen glacier of length 74 km, is located in IHR. Many rivers in this continent originated from these glaciers. Study on the fluctuations especially of the snow cover and related parameters are important for the proper management of these rivers. Annual balance, fluctuations of glaciers, hydrological behaviour and the assessment of the winter snow pack are also critical for the proper flow and control of Himalayan Rivers. There are many hydroelectric and irrigation facilities in these snow fed rivers. Glacial melt is important as far as the river flow is concerned. Researchers had observed that the glacial mass balance has been found to show an inverse relationship with the monsoon. Glacial hydrometry and glacial melt are important aspects as far the studies of glaciers in this region. Himalayan glaciers are also important for ecosystem stability. In this perspective attempts had been made to examine the various environmental parameters of Pindari glacier and the upper reaches of the Pindari river. Pindari glacier is located in the Central Himalayan region. It is of length 8 Km. A few records available with Geological Survey of India for a period of hundred years reveals that Pindari glacial have an annual retreat of 8-10 M. Pindrai glacier had retreated about 425 M with in a period of fifty seven years. Pindari river originates from the buffer zone of Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve (NDBR) and is located in the lower regime of Pindari glacier. It is one of the prominent tributaries of Alaknanda. Tributaries of Pindari river are from Maktoli glacier, Kafani glacier and Sunderdhunga glacier. The changes in the Pindiari catchment area had been examined from the year 1990. Remote Sensing data of different years were used to analyze the changes in aerial extent of the pindari glacier. Pindari landscap is formed by the combined geomorphological process of fluvial and glacial. These processes are also maintaining the ecosystem balance of the catchment area. Snow covers area of this higher landscapet had been reduced considerably. The timberline of this region is shifting upper side of the glaciers, whereas the equilibrium line is also retreating. The spatial invasion in timber line and the retreat of the equilibrium line will further establish the negative mass balance of this glacier. However, the climatic variation may exacerbate the ecosystem balance of the region. All the reports on the glaciers in IHR regions review a negative mass balance and annual retreat up the glaciers. The observation records of these glaciers in IHR are about a period of hundred years this is quite in sufficient it establishes the relation between climate change and the glaciers retreat. However it is a known fact that the impact of rise in temperature due to anthropogenic effect may overstretch the rate the natural process of glacier retreat. The present study also discusses the unique phenomena of glacier melt due to climatic variations and its catastrophe.

  13. Classification of debris-covered glaciers and rock glaciers in the Andes of central Chile

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Janke, Jason R.; Bellisario, Antonio C.; Ferrando, Francisco A.

    2015-07-01

    In the Dry Andes of Chile (17 to 35° S), debris-covered glaciers and rock glaciers are differentiated from true glaciers based on the percentage of surface debris cover, thickness of surface debris, and ice content. Internal ice is preserved by an insulating cover of thick debris, which acts as a storage reservoir to release water during the summer and early fall. These landforms are more numerous than glaciers in the central Andes; however, the existing legislation only recognizes uncovered or semicovered glaciers as a water resource. Glaciers, debris-covered glaciers, and rock glaciers are being altered or removed by mining operations to extract valuable minerals from the mountains. In addition, agricultural expansion and population growth in this region have placed additional demands on water resources. In a warmer climate, as glaciers recede and seasonal water availability becomes condensed over the course of a snowmelt season, rock glaciers and debris-covered glaciers contribute a larger component of base flow to rivers and streams. As a result, identifying and locating these features to implement sustainable regional planning for water resources is important. The objective of this study is to develop a classification system to identify debris-covered glaciers and rock glaciers based on the interpretation of satellite imagery and aerial photographs. The classification system is linked to field observations and measurements of ice content. Debris-covered glaciers have three subclasses: surface coverage of semi (class 1) and fully covered (class 2) glaciers differentiates the first two forms, whereas debris thickness is critical for class 3 when glaciers become buried with more than 3 m of surface debris. Based on field observations, the amount of ice decreases from more than 85%, to 65-85%, to 45-65% for semi, fully, and buried debris-covered glaciers, respectively. Rock glaciers are characterized by three stages. Class 4 rock glaciers have pronounced transverse ridges and furrows that arch across the surface, which indicates flow produced via ice. Class 5 rock glaciers have ridges and furrows that appear linear in the direction of flow, indicating reduced flow from limited internal ice; and class 6 rock glaciers have subdued surface topography because the movement of the rock glacier has ceased. Ice content decreases from 25-45%, to 10-25%, to < 10% from class 4 to 6, respectively. Examples from digital imagery, aerial photographs, and field photographs are provided for each class. The classification scheme can be used to identify and map debris-covered glaciers and rock glaciers to create an inventory. This will help improve recognition of these landforms as an important water resource in the dry Andes of Chile, which will aid in sustainable planning and development in basins that hold the majority of the population and support a large share of the economic activity in Chile.

  14. A graph-based approach to glacier flowline extraction: An application to glaciers in Switzerland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Le Moine, Nicolas; Gsell, Pierre-Stéphane

    2015-12-01

    In this paper we propose a new, graph-based approach to glacier segmentation and flowline extraction. The method, which requires a set of glacier contours and a Digital Elevation Model (DEM), consists in finding an optimum branching that connects a set of vertices belonging to the topological skeleton of each glacier. First, the challenges associated with glacier flowline extraction are presented. Then, the three main steps of the method are described: the skeleton extraction and pruning algorithm, the definition and computation of a travel cost between all pairs of skeleton vertices, and the identification of the directed minimum spanning tree in the resulting directed graph. The method, which is mainly designed for valley glaciers, is applied to glaciers in Switzerland.

  15. Glacier Instability, Rapid Glacier Lake Growth and Related Hazards at Belvedere Glacier, Macugnaga, Italy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huggel, C.; Kaeaeb, A.; Haeberli, W.; Mortara, G.; Chiarle, M.; Epifani, F.

    2002-12-01

    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.

  16. Geologic map of the Gulkana B-1 quadrangle, south-central Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Richter, D.H.; Ratte, J.C.; Schmoll, H.R.; Leeman, W.P.; Smith, J.G.; Yehle, L.A.

    1989-01-01

    The quadrangle includes the Capital Mountain Volcano and the northern part of Mount Sanford Volcano in the Wrangell Mountains of south-central Alaska. The Capital Mountain volcano is a relatively small, andesitic shield volcano of Pleistocene age, which contains a 4-km-diameter summit caldera and a spectacular post-caldera radial dike swam. Lava flows from the younger Pleistocene Mount Sanford Volcano overlap the south side of the Capital Mountain Volcano. Copper-stained fractures in basaltic andesite related to a dike-filled rift of the North Sanford eruptive center are the only sign of mineralization in the quadrangle. Rock glaciers, deposits of Holocene and Pleistocene valley glaciers and Pleistocene Copper River basin glaciers mantle much of the volcanic bedrock below elevations of 5,500 ft.

  17. Renewable Energy in Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    2013-03-01

    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.

  18. ALASKA CRUISE SHIP INITIATIVE

    EPA Science Inventory

    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...

  19. Alaska 2000 Recommendations.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Alaska State Dept. of Education, Juneau.

    Recommendations made by the Alaska State Board of Education for achieving Alaska 2000 goals are presented in this document. Standards are outlined for the following areas: assessment; school choice; finance; laws and regulations; facilities planning, maintenance, and construction; the use of technology; teachers and staff; and new programs.…

  20. Alaska geothermal bibliography

    SciTech Connect

    Liss, S.A.; Motyka, R.J.; Nye, C.J.

    1987-05-01

    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.

  1. Holocene loess and paleosols in central Alaska: A proxy record of Holocene climate change

    SciTech Connect

    Bigelow, N.H.; Beget, J.E.

    1992-03-01

    Episodic Holocene loess deposition and soil formation in the sediments of the Nenana valley of Central Alaska may reflect Holocene climate change. Periods of loess deposition seem to correlate with times of alpine glacier activity, while paleosols correspond to times of glacial retreat These variations may reflect changes in solar activity Stuiver and Braziunas, 1989. Other mechanisms, such as orbitally forced changes in seasonality, volcanism, and atmospheric C02 variability may also have affected Holocene climates and loess deposition.

  2. Thermal structure of Svalbard glaciers and implications for thermal switch models of glacier surging

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sevestre, Hedi; Benn, Douglas I.; Hulton, Nicholas R. J.; Blum, Karoline

    2015-10-01

    Switches between cold- and warm-based conditions have long been invoked to explain surges of High Arctic glaciers. Here we compile existing and new data on the thermal regime of six glaciers in Svalbard to test the applicability of thermal switch models. Two of the large glaciers of our sample are water terminating while one is land terminating. All three have a well-known surge history. They have a thick basal layer of temperate ice, superimposed by cold ice. A cold terminus forms during quiescence but is mechanically removed by calving on tidewater glaciers. The other three glaciers are relatively small and are either entirely cold or have a diminishing warm core. All three bear evidence of former warm-based thermal regimes and, in two cases, surge-like behavior during the Little Ice Age. In Svalbard, therefore, three types of glaciers have switched from slow to fast flow: (1) small glaciers that underwent thermal cycles during and following the Little Ice Age (switches between cold- and warm-based conditions), (2) large terrestrial glaciers which remain warm based throughout the entire surge cycle but develop cold termini during quiescence, and (3) large tidewater glaciers that remain warm based throughout the surge cycle. Our results demonstrate that thermal switching cannot explain the surges of large glaciers in Svalbard. We apply the concept of enthalpy cycling to the spectrum of surge and surge-like behavior displayed by these glaciers and demonstrate that all Svalbard surge-type glaciers can be understood within a single conceptual framework.

  3. Climatology of Andean glaciers: A framework to understand glacier response to climate change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sagredo, E. A.; Lowell, T. V.

    2012-04-01

    Recent glacial and climate models suggest that glaciers located in contrasting climates could respond with different magnitudes to identical climatic perturbations. This implies that to understand the response of glaciers to a particular climate perturbation or to compare glacial fluctuations between different regions, climate conditions that permit glaciers to exist must be taken into account. In this study we systematize, classify, and identify the spatial distribution of the climates that permit the occurrence of present-day glaciers in the climatically diverse Andes. A first approximation suggests that a sample of 234 Andean glaciers exist under three distinctive combinations of temperature and precipitation conditions: i) cold and dry, ii) intermediate, and iii) warm and wet conditions. Cluster analysis (CA) and Principal Component analysis (PCA) of temperature, precipitation, and humidity reveal seven climatic configurations that support present-day Andean glaciers and suggest that these configurations have a distinctive geographical distribution. The groups are: 1) inner tropics and Tierra del Fuego, 2) wetter outer tropics, 3) drier outer tropics, 4) subtropics, 5) central Chile-Argentina (semi-arid), 6) northern and central Patagonia, and 7) southern Patagonia. This classification provides a basis to examine the spatial variability of glacier sensitivity to climate change, to unravel the causes of past glacial fluctuations, to understand the climatic signals driving present-day glacier fluctuations, and perhaps to predict the response of glaciers to future climate changes.

  4. Himalayan glaciers: understanding contrasting patterns of glacier behavior using multi-temporal satellite imagery

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Racoviteanu, A.

    2014-12-01

    High rates of glacier retreat for the last decades are often reported, and believed to be induced by 20th century climate changes. However, regional glacier fluctuations are complex, and depend on a combination of climate and local topography. Furthermore, in ares such as the Hindu-Kush Himalaya, there are concerns about warming, decreasing monsoon precipitation and their impact on local glacier regimes. Currently, the challenge is in understanding the magnitude of feedbacks between large-scale climate forcing and small-scale glacier behavior. Spatio-temporal patterns of glacier distribution are still llimited in some areas of the high Hindu-Kush Himalaya, but multi-temporal satellite imagery has helped fill spatial and temporal gaps in regional glacier parameters in the last decade. Here I present a synopsis of the behavior of glaciers across the Himalaya, following a west to east gradient. In particular, I focus on spatial patterns of glacier parameters in the eastern Himalaya, which I investigate at multi-spatial scales using remote sensing data from declassified Corona, ASTER, Landsat ETM+, Quickbird and Worldview2 sensors. I also present the use of high-resolution imagery, including texture and thermal analysis for mapping glacier features at small scale, which are particularly useful in understanding surface trends of debris-covered glaciers, which are prevalent in the Himalaya. I compare and contrast spatial patterns of glacier area and lvation changes in the monsoon-influenced eastern Himalaya (the Everest region in the Nepal Himalaya and Sikkim in the Indian Himalaya) with other observations from the dry western Indian Himalaya (Ladakh and Lahul-Spiti), both field measurements and remote sensing-based. In the eastern Himalaya, results point to glacier area change of -0.24 % 0.08% per year from the 1960's to the 2006's, with a higher rate of retreat in the last decade (-0.43% /yr). Debris-covered glacier tongues show thinning trends of -30.8 m 39 m on average over the last four decades, similar to other studies in the same climatic area. However, at small scales, the behavior of glaciers is highly heterogenous, with contrasting patterns of thickening glacier termini versus retreating nad thinning glacier tongues.

  5. Reconsidering the glacier to rock glacier transformation problem: New insights from the central Andes of Chile

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Monnier, Sbastien; Kinnard, Christophe

    2015-06-01

    The glacier to rock glacier transformation problem is revisited from a previously unseen angle. A striking case in the Juncal Massif (located in the upper Aconcagua Valley, Chilean central Andes) is documented. There, the Presenteseracae debris-covered glacier has advanced several tens of metres and has developed a rock glacier morphology in its lower part over the last 60 years. The conditions for a theoretically valid glacier to rock glacier transformation are discussed and tested. Permafrost probability in the area of the studied feature is highlighted by regional-scale spatial modelling together with on-site shallow ground temperature records. Two different methods are used to estimate the mean surface temperature during the summer of 2014, and the sub-debris ice ablation rates are calculated as ranging between 0.05 and 0.19 cm d- 1, i.e., 0.04 and 0.17 m over the summer. These low ablation rates are consistent with the development of a coherent surface morphology over the last 60 years. Furthermore, the rates of rock wall retreat required for covering the former glacier at Presenteseracae lie within the common 0.1-2 mm y- 1 range, assuming an average debris thickness and a range of debris-covering time intervals. The integration of the geomorphological observations with the numerical results confirms that the studied debris-covered glacier is evolving into a rock glacier.

  6. Biogeochemistry of glacier and rock glacier outflow in the western United States

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fegel, T. S.; Baron, J.; Hall, E.; Boot, C. M.

    2013-12-01

    Glaciers are melting at unprecedented rates worldwide, releasing bioavailable minerals and nutrients and altering downstream biogeochemistry. Though much research has focused on the recession of ice-glaciers in alpine environments, far less is known about the melt dynamics and biogeochemistry of rock glaciers. Rock glaciers, which are mixtures of ice and rocks that flow like a glacier, are far more abundant in mountainous regions of the western United States than ice glaciers. Little is known about their influence on downstream hydrology and water quality. We report here preliminary results of a west-wide survey of the influence of glaciers and rock glaciers on headwater properties. Measurements of specific conductance, nitrate (NO3-), ammonium (NH4+), dissolved silica, and dissolved organic matter were compared between glaciers, rock glaciers, and snow-fed reference streams from three basins in the Colorado Front Range. Samples were collected from ice, where possible, and downstream at 500m intervals from the first flowing water to tree line. UV and fluorescence data were analyzed using excitation emission matrices (EEMs) and PARAFAC modeling. High concentrations of NH4+ were only found in ice and the most upstream locations; NH4+ was below detection at all lower elevation sites, whereas NO3- concentrations were low in the headwaters and higher downstream. The fluorescence spectrum of DOC from both ice and the highest elevations had a strong autochthonous (microbial or algal) signal that was replaced by a more allochtonous, terrestrially-derived DOC as it approached tree line. Rock glacier stream chemistry was intermediate between glacier-fed streams and strictly snow fed drainages. DOC levels for ice glaciers ranged 2-3mg/L with increasing values downstream, while rock glaciers ranged from 1-2.5 mg/L with attenuation downstream. Snowfed only streams had DOC values at detection <0.5mg/L, with the exception at Lake Husted outflow, with an upland wetland, unlike the other snow-fed streams sampled. SUVA 254, an index of aromaticity of the dissolved organic matter, was lower in streams fed by rock glaciers than ice glaciers and snow fed streams. This is potentially indicative of microbial processing in streams fed by rock glaciers. Fluorescence index was highest for ice glaciers (1.44), lowest for snow-fed streams (1.33), and a medial value for rock glaciers (1.42). Freshness index, which indicates the proportion of recently produced dissolved organic matter, was highest for ice glacier streams, and lowest for rock glacier streams, and showed the most variability between sites with snow-fed streams. More research is planned, but rock glaciers appear more similar to ice glaciers than snow-fed streams in their influence on alpine stream chemistry on biology, suggesting a trajectory of change of the mountains as ice features waste away.

  7. A Revised Glacier Inventory of Bhaga Basin Himachal Pradesh, India : Current Status and Recent Glacier Variations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Birajdar, F.; Venkataraman, G.; Bahuguna, I.; Samant, H.

    2014-11-01

    Himalayan glaciers show large uncertainty regarding their present and future state due to their sensitive reaction towards change in climatic condition. Himalayan glaciers are unique as they are located in tropical, high altitude regions, predominantly valley type and many are covered with debris. The great northern plains of India sustain on the perennial melt of glaciers meeting the water requirements of agriculture, industries, domestic sector even in the months of summer when large tracts of the country go dry. Therefore, it is important to monitor and assess the state of snow and glaciers and to know the sustainability of glaciers in view of changing global scenarios of climate and water security of the nation. Any information pertaining to Himalayan glaciers is normally difficult to be obtained by conventional means due to its harsh weather and rugged terrains. Due to the ecological diversity and geographical vividness, major part of the Indian Himalaya is largely un-investigated. Considering the fact that Himalayan glaciers are situated in a harsh environment, conventional techniques of their study is challenging and difficult both in terms of logistics and finances whereas the satellite remote sensing offers a potential mode for monitoring glaciers in long term. In order to gain an updated overview of the present state of the glacier cover and its changes since the previous inventories, an attempt has been made to generate a new remotesensing- derived glacier inventory on 1:50,000 scale for Bhaga basin (N32°28'19.7'' - N33°0'9.9'' ; E76°56'16.3'' - E77°25'23.7'' ) Western Himalaya covering an area of 1695.63 km2. having 231 glaciers and occupying glacierized area of 385.17 ±3.71 km2. ranging from 0.03 km2. to 29.28 km2. Glacier inventory has been carried out using high resolution IRS P6 LISS III data of 2011, ASTER DEM and other ancillary data. Specific measurements of mapped glacier features are the inputs for generating the glacier inventory data sheet with 37 parameters as per the UNESCO/TTS format, 11 additional parameters associated with the de-glaciated valley as per the suggestions of Space Application Center Ahmadabad and 9 newly introduced parameters of present study. The data sheet provides glacier wise details for each glacier on the significant glacier parameters like morphology, dimensions, orientation, elevation, etc. for both the active glacier component as well as the associated de-glaciated valley features. Assessment of recent variation in the glacierized area between 2001 and 2011. Results indicate that 231 glaciers covering an area of 391.56 ±3.76 km2. in 2001 has been reduced to 385.17 ±3.71 km2. in 2011; a loss of 1.63 ±1.0% in glacierized area within a period of 10 years. The present paper brings out the methodology adopted and salient results of the glacier inventory carried out which will help to enrich the existing database required for water resources assessment of the country and also meet the requirements of various researches working on climate change related studies.

  8. In-stream net ecosystem metabolism differences across a glacial coverage gradient in southeast Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nassry, M. Q.; Hood, E. W.; Scott, D.; Vermilyea, A.

    2010-12-01

    As glacier ice gives way to successional vegetation, streams located in glacier-containing watersheds receive decreased contributions from glacial meltwater and increased contributions from terrestrial landscapes. Aquatic communities in streams receiving varying amounts of glacial meltwater were compared during this research to determine the effect of changing inputs of glacial meltwater on net ecosystem metabolism (NEM). In particular, we tested the hypothesis that decreased inputs of glacier meltwater will result in increased NEM in coastal streams in southeast Alaska. Dissolved oxygen and temperature measurements were collected at 5-minute increments using multi-sensor probes for 48 hours at four study streams. Additionally, discharge and velocity measurements were collected along with surface water samples during each of three replicate study periods at all four streams. Single station diel curves of in-stream oxygen concentration and water temperature changes were generated to establish community respiration (CR24) and gross primary production (GPP) values. The study watersheds, all of which are adjacent to the Juneau Icefield, range in area from 23-158 km2 and in watershed glacial coverage from 0-40%. This research will provide new insights into how changes in runoff from rapidly thinning and receding glaciers in southeast Alaska will affect aquatic community metabolism in downstream ecosystems. Ultimately, this will provide a better understanding of the changing in-stream processing capabilities in watersheds affected by land cover changes resulting from glacial recession.

  9. Methane seeps along boundaries of arctic permafrost thaw and melting glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anthony, P.; Walter Anthony, K. M.; Grosse, G.; Chanton, J.

    2014-12-01

    Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, accumulates in subsurface hydrocarbon reservoirs. In the Arctic, impermeable icy permafrost and glacial overburden form a 'cryosphere cap' that traps gas leaking from these reservoirs, restricting flow to the atmosphere. We document the release of geologic methane to the atmosphere from abundant gas seeps concentrated along boundaries of permafrost thaw and receding glaciers in Alaska. Through aerial and ground surveys we mapped >150,000 seeps identified as bubbling-induced open holes in lake ice. Subcap methane seeps had anomalously high fluxes, 14C-depletion, and stable isotope values matching known coalbed and thermogenic methane accumulations in Alaska. Additionally, we observed younger subcap methane seeps in Greenland that were associated with ice-sheet retreat since the Little Ice Age. These correlations suggest that in a warming climate, continued disintegration of permafrost, glaciers, and parts of the polar ice sheets will relax pressure on subsurface seals and further open conduits, allowing a transient expulsion of geologic methane currently trapped by the cryosphere cap.

  10. Little Ice Age Glaciation in Alaska: A record of recent global climatic change

    SciTech Connect

    Calkin, P.E.; Wiles, G.C.

    1992-03-01

    General global cooling and temperature fluctuation accompanied by expansion of mountain glaciers characterized the Little Ice Age of about A.D. 1200 through A.D. 1900. The effects of such temperature changes appear first and are strongest at high latitudes. Therefore the Little Ice Age record of glacial fluctuation in Alaska may provide a good proxy for these events and a test for models of future climatic change. Holocene expansions began here as early as 7000 B.P. and locally show a periodicity of 350 years after about 4500 years B.P. The Little Ice Age followed a late Holocene interval of minor ice advance and a subsequent period of ice margin recession lasting one to seven centuries. The timing of expansions since about A.D. 1200 have often varied between glaciers, but these are the most pervasive glacial events of the Holocene in Alaska and frequently represent ice marginal maxima for this interval. At least two major expansions are, apparent in forefields of both land-terminating and fjord-calving glaciers, but the former display the most reliable and detailed climatic record. Major maxima occurred by the 16th century and into the mid-18th century. Culmination of advances occurred throughout Alaska during the 19th century followed within a few decades by general glacial retreat. Concurrently, equilibrium line altitudes have been raised 100-400 m, representing a rise of 2-3 deg C in mean summer temperature.

  11. Marine predator surveys in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bodkin, James L.; Kloecker, Kimberly A.; Coletti, Heather A.; Esslinger, George G.; Monson, Daniel H.; Ballachey, Brenda E.

    2002-01-01

    Since 1999, vessel based surveys to estimate species composition, distribution and relative abundance of marine birds and mammals have been conducted along coastal and pelagic (offshore) transects in Glacier Bay, Alaska. Surveys have been conducted during winter (November-March) and summer (June). This annual report presents the results of those surveys conducted in March and June of 2001. Following completion of surveys in 2002 we will provide a final report of the results of all surveys conducted between 1999 and 2002. Glacier Bay supports diverse and abundant assemblages of marine birds and mammals. In 2001 we identified 58 species of bird, 7 species of marine mammal, and 6 species of terrestrial mammal on transects sampled during winter and summer. Of course all species are not equally abundant. Among all taxa, in both seasons, sea ducks were the numerically dominant group. In their roles as consumers and because of their generally large size, marine mammals are also likely important in the consumption of energy produced in the Glacier Bay ecosystem. Most common and abundant marine birds and mammals can be placed in either a fish based (e.g. alcids and pinnipeds), or a benthic invertebrate (e.g. sea ducks and sea otters) based food web. Distinct differences in the species composition and abundance of marine birds were observed between winter and summer surveys. Winter marine bird assemblages were dominated numerically (> 11,000; 65% of all birds) by a relatively few species of sea ducks (scoters, goldeneye, Bufflehead, Harlequin and Long-tailed ducks). The sea ducks were distributed almost exclusively along near shore habitats. The prevalence of sea ducks during the March surveys indicates the importance of Glacier Bay as a wintering area for this poorly understood group of animals that occupy a high trophic position in a principally benthic invertebrate (mussel and clam) food web. Marine mammal assemblages were generally consistent between seasons, although Humpback and Killer whales were not observed in winter 2001. Summer marine bird assemblages remained numerically dominated by sea ducks, but species composition shifted between the goldeneye whose density was 44/m2 in winter to 2 in summer, to scoters, whose density was 29/m2 in winter to > 60/m2 in summer. Large increases in Black-legged kittiwake, murrelet (Marbled and Kittlitzs) and Common merganser densities were detected during summer surveys. Seasonal differences in abundance of species likely reflected differences in life history attributes (e.g. reproductive biology, foraging ecology) among species. Because of differences observed in species composition between the winter and summer, it is apparent that a single annual survey cannot accurately describe the populations of marine birds and mammals that occur in Glacier Bay. Preliminary analysis further suggests that interpretations of data resulting from this type of survey may depend to a large extent on the individual species. Because species exhibit differences in behavior, morphology, coloration, and distribution, accuracy and precision of abundance estimates likely vary among species. Confidence in survey results should be evaluated in consideration of life history and detection probabilities at the species level. However, survey results likely provide reasonable estimates of species composition and relative abundance, as well as accurate abundance estimates for those species whose detection closely approximates one.

  12. Repeat Photography of Alaskan Glaciers and Landscapes as Both Art and as a Means of Communicating Climat Change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Molnia, B. F.

    2013-12-01

    For nearly 15 years, I have used repeat photography of Alaskan glaciers and landscapes to communicate to fellow scientists, policymakers, the media, and society that Alaskan glaciers and landscapes have been experiencing significant change in response to post-Little Ice Age climate change. I began this pursuit after being contacted by a U.S. Department of the Interior senior official who requested unequivocal and unambiguous documentation that climate change was real and underway. After considering several options as to how best respond to this challenge, I decided that if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a pair of photographs, both with the same field of view, spanning a century or more, and showing dramatic differences, would speak volumes to documenting that dynamic climate change is occurring over a very broad region of Alaska. To me, understating the obvious with photographic pairs was the best mechanism to present irrefutable, unambiguous, nonjudgmental, as well as unequivocal visual documentation that climate change was both underway and real. To date, more than 150 pairs that meet these criteria have been produced. What has surprised me most is that the many of the photographs contained in the pairs present beautiful images of stark, remote landscapes that convey the majestic nature of this dynamic region with its unique topography and landscapes. Typically, over periods of just several decades, the photographed landscapes change from black and white to blue and green. White ice becomes blue water and dark rock becomes lush vegetation. Repeat photography is a technique in which a historical photograph and a modern photograph, both having the same field of view, are compared and contrasted to quantitatively and qualitatively determine their similarities and differences. I have used this technique from both ground-based photo stations and airborne platforms at Alaskan locations in Kenai Fjords National Park, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Denali National Park and Preserve, the northern and northwestern Prince William Sound area of the Chugach National Forest, and the Mendenhall Glacier area of the Tongass National Forest to document and determine the extent of changing glaciers and landscapes. The use of repeat photography to document temporal change is not new. It originated as a glacier-monitoring technique in the European Alps more than 150 years ago. What is unique in this Alaskan application of repeat photography is the systematic approach being used to obtain photographic documentation of glacier and landscape change for every glacier-hosting fiord in western southcentral Alaska, as well as at many Alaskan valley glacier sites. What is also unique is the development of an annotated website which presents many pairs of these photographs as well as ancillary materials to help convey the basics of Alaskan glaciers and climate change. The website, titled 'Glacier and Landscape Change in Response to Changing Climate', (http://www.usgs.gov/climate_landuse/glaciers/) was awarded the 2010 USGS Shoemaker External Communications Award.

  13. Exploring ice-ocean-sediment interactions during nearly 20 km of retreat in the past 30 years at Columbia Glacier, AK

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boldt, K. V.; Hallet, B.; Pratt, T. L.; Nittrouer, C. A.

    2013-12-01

    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.

  14. Stabilizing feedbacks in glacier-bed erosion.

    PubMed

    Alley, R B; Lawson, D E; Larson, G J; Evenson, E B; Baker, G S

    2003-08-14

    Glaciers often erode, transport and deposit sediment much more rapidly than nonglacial environments, with implications for the evolution of glaciated mountain belts and their associated sedimentary basins. But modelling such glacial processes is difficult, partly because stabilizing feedbacks similar to those operating in rivers have not been identified for glacial landscapes. Here we combine new and existing data of glacier morphology and the processes governing glacier evolution from diverse settings to reveal such stabilizing feedbacks. We find that the long profiles of beds of highly erosive glaciers tend towards steady-state angles opposed to and slightly more than 50 per cent steeper than the overlying ice-air surface slopes, and that additional subglacial deepening must be enabled by non-glacial processes. Climatic or glaciological perturbations of the ice-air surface slope can have large transient effects on glaciofluvial sediment flux and apparent glacial erosion rate. PMID:12917679

  15. Underwater acoustic signatures of glacier calving

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Glowacki, O.; Deane, G. B.; Moskalik, M.; Blondel, Ph.; Tegowski, J.; Blaszczyk, M.

    2015-02-01

    Climate-driven ice-water interactions in the contact zone between marine-terminating glaciers and the ocean surface show a dynamic and complex nature. Tidewater glaciers lose volume through the poorly understood process of calving. A detailed description of the mechanisms controlling the course of calving is essential for the reliable estimation and prediction of mass loss from glaciers. Here we present the potential of hydroacoustic methods to investigate different modes of ice detachments. High-frequency underwater ambient noise recordings are combined with synchronized, high-resolution, time-lapse photography of the Hans Glacier cliff in Hornsund Fjord, Spitsbergen, to identify three types of calving events: typical subaerial, sliding subaerial, and submarine. A quantitative analysis of the data reveals a robust correlation between ice impact energy and acoustic emission at frequencies below 200 Hz for subaerial calving. We suggest that relatively inexpensive acoustic methods can be successfully used to provide quantitative descriptions of the various calving types.

  16. Complex Greenland outlet glacier flow captured

    PubMed Central

    Aschwanden, Andy; Fahnestock, Mark A.; Truffer, Martin

    2016-01-01

    The Greenland Ice Sheet is losing mass at an accelerating rate due to increased surface melt and flow acceleration in outlet glaciers. Quantifying future dynamic contributions to sea level requires accurate portrayal of outlet glaciers in ice sheet simulations, but to date poor knowledge of subglacial topography and limited model resolution have prevented reproduction of complex spatial patterns of outlet flow. Here we combine a high-resolution ice-sheet model coupled to uniformly applied models of subglacial hydrology and basal sliding, and a new subglacial topography data set to simulate the flow of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Flow patterns of many outlet glaciers are well captured, illustrating fundamental commonalities in outlet glacier flow and highlighting the importance of efforts to map subglacial topography. Success in reproducing present day flow patterns shows the potential for prognostic modelling of ice sheets without the need for spatially varying parameters with uncertain time evolution. PMID:26830316

  17. Warm Oceans, Fast Glaciers: the connections

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Truffer, M.; Fahnestock, M. A.; Amundson, J. M.

    2009-12-01

    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 glacier changes around Greenland coincide with changes in sea surface temperature and length of the sea-ice-free season in the surrounding ocean, and that large glacier changes appear to initiate within one to a few years of shifts in these conditions. While ocean warming has a direct impact on rates of melting at the glacier ice/ocean interface, its impact on ice flow is less direct. The spatial and temporal coincidence between changing ocean conditions and speedup is compelling, but the causal link between warmer ocean water and rapid responses from outlet glaciers around Greenland is more complex. Observations of rapid calving retreats, the appearance of calving-related long-period seismicity at some large glaciers undergoing change, and the loss of floating ice tongues all suggest that the direct impact of ocean-driven change is on the stability of the lowest reach of these tidewater outlets. In glaciers with a floating tongue, enhanced basal melt may be destabilizing by thinning the tongue to below its structural integrity; at grounded termini this effect is lacking. However, rapid melt at the near-vertical face can play a significant role for slowly flowing systems. For large grounded glaciers with terminus flow rates of meters per day, the impact of increased melt in summer would seem less important. At such glaciers the link between ocean temperatures, sea ice cover and terminus stability manifests itself by the cessation of calving in fall and winter, which leads to terminus advance and the formation of a floating tongue. The loss of sea ice cover in early spring leads to a disintegration of the seasonal floating tongue and the calving of grounded ice. We use data from Jakobshavns Isbrae in West Greenland to illustrate this effect. The ocean thus appears to have a direct influence on the seasonal behavior. Shorter winter advances can increase the glaciers exposure to grounded calving. This provides a mechanism by which year-to-year variations in coastal ocean conditions are linked rapidly to changes in the stability of glacier termini. The tight connection in time between warming ocean surface waters and changes in glacier termini observed in Greenland have far-reaching implications for the rapidity of response we may see from the Antarctic; not only from the marine based West Antarctic Ice Sheet, but from any outlet glacier that is exposed to ocean water.

  18. Complex Greenland outlet glacier flow captured

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aschwanden, Andy; Fahnestock, Mark A.; Truffer, Martin

    2016-02-01

    The Greenland Ice Sheet is losing mass at an accelerating rate due to increased surface melt and flow acceleration in outlet glaciers. Quantifying future dynamic contributions to sea level requires accurate portrayal of outlet glaciers in ice sheet simulations, but to date poor knowledge of subglacial topography and limited model resolution have prevented reproduction of complex spatial patterns of outlet flow. Here we combine a high-resolution ice-sheet model coupled to uniformly applied models of subglacial hydrology and basal sliding, and a new subglacial topography data set to simulate the flow of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Flow patterns of many outlet glaciers are well captured, illustrating fundamental commonalities in outlet glacier flow and highlighting the importance of efforts to map subglacial topography. Success in reproducing present day flow patterns shows the pote