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Sample records for taku glacier alaska

  1. Spatial and Temporal Variability of Winter Accumulation on Taku Glacier, Southeast Alaska, between 2012 and 2015

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, B.; Campbell, S. W.; Hollander, J.; Slavin, B. V.; Wolf, J.; Wilner, J.; Moore, T.

    2015-12-01

    Glacier mass balance is an integral part of understanding a glacier's health and dynamics. A key component of determining mass balance is winter accumulation which is traditionally estimated by digging and measuring snow densities from within snow pits. However, this method represents a labor-intensive point measurement which may not fully capture spatial variability of accumulation. To more efficiently estimate spatial variability of winter accumulation across Taku Glacier and its main tributaries in southeastern Alaska in 2015, we used a 400 MHz Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) Common Offset (CO) surveys along centerline transects which were also collected during a 2012 study. We used common midpoint (CMP) surveys, migration, snow pits, and probing to improve depth estimates and provide ground truth of winter accumulation depth measurements from CO surveys. We determined that the winter accumulation was significantly lower in 2015 than in 2012. However, gradients in accumulation versus elevation were consistent from year to year along centerline transects. We suggest that this low accumulation may be influencing the recent two year stall of Taku Glacier which has exhibited an advancing terminus for nearly a century. We recommend that further studies be conducted to extend the reach of this dataset beyond 2 years. This data would be invaluable to future models and mass balance studies on the Icefield and may capture key components that suggest a tipping point from advance to retreat of Taku Glacier.

  2. 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.

  3. Surface mass balance reanalysis of Taku and Lemon Creek glaciers, Alaska: 1946-2015

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McNeil, Christopher

    We reanalyzed geodetic and glaciological surface mass balance records of Taku and Lemon Creek glaciers for the period 1946--2015 to determine what has driven the contradictory behavior of these glaciers. During the past century, Taku Glacier has been increasing in area and mass, while Lemon Creek Glacier has simultaneously shrunk in area and mass. Between 1948 and 1999 geodetic mass balance rates are +0.33+/-0.34 m w.e. a--1 for Taku Glacier and 0.61+/-0.34 m w.e. a--1 for Lemon Creek Glacier. Geodetic mass balance rates decreased to +0.01+/-0.23 m w.e. a--1 and --0.65 +/-0.23 m w.e. a--1 for Taku and Lemon Creek glaciers respectively, between 1999 and 2013. We updated the glaciological analysis of annual field data, and found no significant difference between updated and previous annual mass balance solutions (p--value < 0.001). We used the geodetic mass balance to calibrate annual glaciological estimates between 1946 and 2015, removing systematic biases of +0.06 m w.e. a--1 from the Taku Glacier record and --0.06 m w.e. a --1 from the Lemon Creek Glacier record. Comparing mass balance anomalies we determined inter--annual variability of surface mass balance is the same for Taku and Lemon Creek glaciers. However, differences in glacier specific hypsometry and mass balance profile drive systematic differences in both annual and long--term glacier mass balance rates.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. Columbia Glacier, Alaska, 1986-2011

    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 ...

  8. 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 (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. Tracking glaciers with the Alaska seismic network

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    West, M. E.

    2015-12-01

    More than 40 years ago it was known that calving glaciers in Alaska created unmistakable seismic signals that could be recorded tens and hundreds of kilometers away. Their long monochromatic signals invited studies that foreshadowed the more recent surge in glacier seismology. Beyond a handful of targeted studies, these signals have remained a seismic novelty. No systematic attempt has been made to catalog and track glacier seismicity across the years. Recent advances in understanding glacier sources, combined with the climate significance of tidewater glaciers, have renewed calls for comprehensive tracking of glacier seismicity in coastal Alaska. The Alaska Earthquake Center has included glacier events in its production earthquake catalog for decades. Until recently, these were best thought of as bycatch—accidental finds in the process of tracking earthquakes. Processing improvements a decade ago, combined with network improvements in the past five years, have turned this into a rich data stream capturing hundreds of events per year across 600 km of the coastal mountain range. Though the source of these signals is generally found to be iceberg calving, there are vast differences in behavior between different glacier termini. Some glaciers have strong peaks in activity during the spring, while others peak in the late summer or fall. These patterns are consistent over years pointing to fundamental differences in calving behavior. In several cases, changes in seismic activity correspond to specific process changes observed through other means at particular glacier. These observations demonstrate that the current network is providing a faithful record of the dynamic behavior of several glaciers in coastal Alaska. With this as a starting point, we examine what is possible (and not possible) going forward with dedicated detection schemes.

  10. 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.

  11. Accelerating thinning of Kenai Peninsula glaciers, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    VanLooy, J.; Forster, R.; Ford, A.

    2006-11-01

    Temperate mountain glaciers are thinning at high rates and significantly contributing to sea level rise. Due to these glaciers' remote locations, remote sensing and digital elevation models (DEMs) are an effective way to calculate their thinning rates and contribution to sea level rise. Comparisons of 1950s United States Geological Survey (USGS) and 2000 Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission (SRTM) DEMs with DEMs produced from Lidar profiles of glacier center-lines indicate thinning rates from the mid-1990s to 1999 (-0.72 +/- 0.13 m y-1) accelerated by a factor of 1.5 as compared with 1950 to mid-1990s (-0.47 +/- 0.01 m y-1) for glaciers on the Harding Icefield. Overall, comparison of USGS and SRTM DEMs indicate the Harding Icefield and Grewingk-Yalik Glacier Complex, Alaska, are thinning -0.61 +/- 0.12 m y-1 from 1950 to 1999.

  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. ICESat Observations of Southern Alaska Glaciers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sauber, Jeanne; Molnia, Bruce F.; Mitchell, Darius

    2003-01-01

    In late February and March, 2003, the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) measured ice and land elevations along profiles across southern Alaska. During this initial data acquisition stage ICESat observations were made on 8-day repeat tracks to enable calibration and validation of the ICESat data products. Each profile consists of a series of single point values derived from centroid elevations of an $\\approx$70 m diameter laser footprint. The points are s4pakated by $\\approx$172 m along track. Data siets of 8-day observations (an ascending and descending ground track) crossed the Bering and Malaspina Glacier. Following its 1993--1995 surge; the Bering Glacier has undergone major terminus retreat as well as ike thinning in the abtation zone. During the later part of the 20th century, parts of the Malaspina thinned by about 1 m/yr. The multiple observation profiles across the Bering and Malaspina piedmont lobes obtained in February/March are being geolocated on Landsat images and the elevation profiles will be used for a number o scientific objectives. Based on our simulations of ICESat performance over the varied ice surface of the Jakobshavn Glacier of GReenland, 2003, we expect to measure annual, and possibly seasonal, ice elevation changes on the large Alaskan glaciers. Using elevation data obtained from a second laser, we plan to estimate ice elevation changes on the Bering Glacier between March and October 2003.

  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.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. Ocean-Glacier Interactions in Alaska and Comparison to Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Motyka, R. J.; Truffer, M.

    2011-12-01

    Meltwater from Alaska's coastal glaciers and icefields accounts for nearly half of the total freshwater discharged into the Gulf of Alaska (GOA), with 10% coming from glacier volume loss associated with rapid thinning and retreat of glaciers (Neal et al, 2010). This glacier freshwater discharge contributes to maintaining the Alaska Coastal Current (ACC), which eventually reaches the Arctic Ocean (Royer and Grosch, 2006), thereby linking changes of glaciers along the coast of Alaska to the whole Arctic system. Water column temperatures on the shelf of northern GOA, monitored at buoy GAK1 near Seward, have increased by about 1 deg C since 1970 throughout the 250 m depth and vertical density stratification has also increased. Roughly half of the glacier contribution to ACC is derived from the ~ 50 tidewater glaciers (TWG) that drain from Alaska's coastal mountains into the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). Fjord systems link these TWGs to the GOA, with fjord circulation patterns driven in part by buoyancy-driven convection of subglacial freshwater discharge at the head of the fjord. Neoglacial shallow sills (< 50 m deep) modulate the influx of warm ocean waters (up to 10 deg C) into these fjords. Convection of these warm waters melts icebergs and submerged faces of TWGs. The study of interactions between glaciers, fjords, and the ocean in coastal Alaska has had a long but very sporadic history. We examine this record starting with the "TWG cycle" hypothesis. We next examine recent hydrographic data from several different TWG fjords, representative of advancing and retreating TWGs (Columbia, Yahtse, Hubbard, and LeConte Glaciers), evaluate similarities and differences, and estimate the relative contributions of submarine glacier melting and subglacial discharge to fjord circulation. Circulation of warm ocean waters in fjords has also been hypothesized to play an important role in destabilizing and modulating glacier discharge from outlet glaciers in Greenland. We therefore compare

  19. Summer melt regulates winter glacier flow speeds throughout Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burgess, Evan W.; Larsen, Christopher F.; Forster, Richard R.

    2013-12-01

    how climate change will affect glacier and ice sheet flow speeds remains a large hurdle toward accurate sea level rise forecasting. Increases in surface melt rates are known to accelerate glacier flow in summer, whereas in winter, flow speeds are believed to be relatively invariant. Here we show that wintertime flow speeds on nearly all major glaciers throughout Alaska are not only variable but are inversely related to melt from preceding summers. For each additional meter of summertime melt, we observe an 11% decrease in wintertime velocity on glaciers of all sizes, geometries, climates, and bed types. This dynamic occurs because interannual differences in summertime melt affect how much water is retained in the subglacial system during winter. The ubiquity of the dynamic indicates it occurs globally on glaciers and ice sheets not frozen to their beds and thus constitutes a new mechanism affecting sea level rise projections.

  20. Variations in Alaska tidewater glacier frontal ablation, 1985-2013

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McNabb, R. W.; Hock, R.; Huss, M.

    2015-01-01

    Our incomplete knowledge of the proportion of mass loss due to frontal ablation (the sum of ice loss through calving and submarine melt) from tidewater glaciers outside of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets has been cited as a major hindrance to accurate predictions of global sea level rise. We present a 28 year record (1985-2013) of frontal ablation for 27 Alaska tidewater glaciers (representing 96% of the total tidewater glacier area in the region), calculated from satellite-derived ice velocities and modeled estimates of glacier ice thickness. We account for cross-sectional ice thickness variation, long-term thickness changes, mass lost between an upstream fluxgate and the terminus, and mass change due to changes in terminus position. The total mean rate of frontal ablation for these 27 glaciers over the period 1985-2013 is 15.11 ± 3.63Gta-1. Two glaciers, Hubbard and Columbia, account for approximately 50% of these losses. The regional total ablation has decreased at a rate of 0.14Gta-1 over this time period, likely due to the slowing and thinning of many of the glaciers in the study area. Frontal ablation constitutes only ˜4% of the total annual regional ablation, but roughly 20% of net mass loss. Comparing several commonly used approximations in the calculation of frontal ablation, we find that neglecting cross-sectional thickness variations severely underestimates frontal ablation.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Summer melt regulates winter glacier flow speeds throughout Alaska (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burgess, E. W.; Forster, R. R.; Larsen, C. F.

    2013-12-01

    Projecting the long-term response of glacier and ice sheet flow to climate change remains the single largest hurdle towards accurate sea level rise forecasting. Increases in surface melt rates are known to accelerate glacier flow in spring and summer1-4 whereas in winter, flow speeds have been found to be relatively invariant5. Here we find that wintertime flow velocities on nearly all major glaciers throughout Alaska are not only variable but are inversely correlated with summertime positive degree days (PDDs). The response is slight--an 11% decrease in wintertime velocity per additional meter of summertime melt. The mechanism is likely due to inter-annual differences in summertime meltwater production, which affect the efficiency of sub-glacial drainage systems to evacuate water from the glacier bed in fall. Consequent inter-annual variation in the amount of bed separation come winter leads to the observed differences in flow speed. We find this mechanism to be ubiquitous in Alaska and thus is likely a global phenomenon. If the dynamic evolves over the long-term, it represents a new mechanism affecting sea level rise contributions.

  4. 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

  5. Long-term linkages between glaciers, permafrost and hydrology at two glacierized watersheds in Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gaedeke, A.; Liljedahl, A. K.; Gatesman, T.; Campbell, S. W.; Hock, R.; Oneel, S.

    2015-12-01

    Climate warming is expected to have considerable impact on the regional water balance of high latitude Arctic and sub-Arctic glacerized watersheds. In this study we combine field observations and the physically based Water Balance Simulation Model WaSiM to refine our understanding of the linkages between glaciers, permafrost and hydrology at two nearby basins with contrasting precipitation regimes: Jarvis Cr. watershed (630 km2) on the north (rain-shadow) side of Eastern Alaska Range and the south facing Phelan Cr. (32 km2), which include the US Geological Survey benchmark site Gulkana Glacier. Both are characterized by a semi-arid climate and are sub-watersheds of the Tanana River basin (12,000 km2). Our research questions include: How has glacier water storage and release varied in the past and how are they expected to change in the future? And what are the subsequent effects on lowland runoff and regional groundwater recharge? Our analyses show i) an increase in air temperature and summer warmth index (the sum of all mean monthly air temperature above 0 °C) in recent decades and ii) a continued negative glacier mass balance. Our findings suggest that, on the larger spatial scale (Tanana River basin), the reduced glacier coverage and increased glacier wastage has, in combination with limited changes in precipitation, lead to (i) increased mean annual and (ii) late winter (March) runoff. We postulate that this is due to increased groundwater recharge, which has been fueled by the 20% reduction in glacier coverage of the Tanana River basin. Here we aim to assess the combined effect of climate change, glacier shrinkage and thawing permafrost on the regional sub-arctic mountain- to lowland hydrologic system, which may transition into a regime with less surface and more subsurface water availability.

  6. 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

  7. Marine Geophysical Surveying Along the Hubbard Glacier Terminus, Southeast Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goff, J. A.; Davis, M.; Gulick, S. P.; Lawson, D. E.; Willems, B. A.

    2010-12-01

    Tidewater glaciers are a challenging environment for marine investigations, owing to the dangers associated with calving and restrictions on operations due to dense floating ice. We report here on recent efforts to conduct marine geophysical surveys proximal to the ice face of Hubbard Glacier, in Disenchantment Bay, Alaska. Hubbard is an advancing tidewater glacier that has twice recently (1986 and 2002) impinged on Gilbert Point, which separates Russell Fiord from Disenchantment Bay, thereby temporarily creating a glacially-dammed Russell Lake. Continued advance will likely form a more permanent dam, rerouting brackish outflow waters into the Situk River, near Yakutat, Alaska. Our primary interest is in studying the development and motion of the morainal bank which, for an advancing tidewater glacier, stabilizes it against rapid retreat. For survey work, we operated with a small, fast, aluminum-hulled vessel and a captain experienced in operating in ice-bound conditions, providing a high margin of safety and maneuverability. Differencing of multibeam bathymetric data acquired in different years can identify and quantify areas of deposition and erosion on the morainal bank front and in Disenchantment Bay proper, where accumulation rates are typically > 1 m/yr within 1 km of the glacier terminus. The advance or retreat rate of the morainal bank can be determined by changes in the bed elevation through time; we document advance rates that average > 30 m/yr in Disenchantment Bay, but which vary substantially over different time periods and at different positions along the ice face. Georeferencing of available satellite imagery allows us to directly compare the position of the glacial terminus with the position of the morainal bank. From 1978 to 1999, and then to 2006, the advances in terminus and morainal bank positions were closely synchronized along the length of the glacier face. In the shallower Russell Fiord side of the terminus, a sediment ridge was mapped both

  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 Post’s 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. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Processes on a glacier-dominated coast, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Molnia, Bruce F.

    1985-01-01

    The 500 km long Gulf of Alaska coastline between Cape Suckling and Cape Spencer can be characterized by constant rapid change in an environment of glaciers, stormy climate, high relief, and extreme oceanographic parameters. During a more than 200-year history of observation, bays have completely filled with sediment, new bays have appeared, glaciers have advanced and retreated as much as 40 km, streams have been captured, and spits have grown as much as 10 km in length, earthquakes have uplifted the coast as much as 15 m, and in general, few features have been static. More than 250 km of coastline have undergone erosion and retreat, with maximum retreat exceeding 4 km at Icy Bay.

  13. 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.

  14. Observations of Dynamic Changes at an Advancing Tidewater Glacier: Hubbard Glacier, Southeast Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Elliott, J.; Stearns, L. A.; Pritchard, M. E.; Bartholomaus, T.

    2015-12-01

    Hubbard Glacier, located in southeast Alaska, is the largest non-polar tidewater glacier in the world and one of a small number of glaciers that is steadily advancing. These attributes make it an intriguing target for observations of variations in ice dynamics over time. We use synthetic aperture radar data (ALOS and TerraSAR-X) and high-resolution optical imagery (WorldView and Quickbird) with a pixel tracking technique to map surface velocities from 2008 to the present, lengthening and broadening the time series of ice velocities presented in previous studies. A key result from our analysis is that Hubbard displays peak speeds of up to 12 m/day during the winter months (December - February) and minimum speeds during late summer (August - September). The times of peak and minimum speeds is quite different from those found in previous studies of Hubbard surface velocities derived from Landsat imagery, GPS, and photogrammetric methods. Those studies found peak speeds during late spring (May - June) and minimum speeds in fall (October-November), a pattern observed generally at tidewater glaciers. A second major feature we observe in our time series is the dramatic seasonal variation in surface speeds. The minimum speeds we find along the terminal lobe of the glacier are much lower than those found in previous studies, with values decreasing to near zero. Such a dramatic slow down of a tidewater glacier has not been widely observed. This result, along with the recent pattern of seasonal velocity peaks and minimas, suggests that Hubbard has undergone a change in ice dynamics.

  15. 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).

  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

  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

  19. Multitemporal Landsat multispectral scanner and thematic mapper data of the Hubbard Glacier region, southeast Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Walker, K.-M.; Zenone, C.

    1988-01-01

    In late May 1986, the advancing Hubbard Glacier blocked the entrance to Russell Fiord near Yakutat, Alaska, creating a large ice-dammed lake. Runoff from the surrounding glaciated mountains raised the level of the lake to about 25 m above sea level by 8 October, when the ice dam failed. Remote sensing offers one method to monitor this large tidal glacier system, particularly the glacier activity that would portend the re-closure of Russell Fiord. -Authors

  20. 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 1.1°C for each 10% increase in glacier coverage. Streams with >30% glacier coverage demonstrated decreasing stream temperatures with rising summer air temperatures, while those with <30% glacier coverage exhibited summertime warming. The maximum weekly average temperature (MWAT, an index of thermal suitability for salmon species) in the six glacial streams was substantially below the lower threshold for optimum salmonid growth. This finding suggests that, while glaciers are important for

  1. 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.

  2. Rapid wastage of Alaska glaciers and their contribution to rising sea level.

    PubMed

    Arendt, Anthony A; Echelmeyer, Keith A; Harrison, William D; Lingle, Craig S; Valentine, Virginia B

    2002-07-19

    We have used airborne laser altimetry to estimate volume changes of 67 glaciers in Alaska from the mid-1950s to the mid-1990s. The average rate of thickness change of these glaciers was -0.52 m/year. Extrapolation to all glaciers in Alaska yields an estimated total annual volume change of -52 +/- 15 km3/year (water equivalent), equivalent to a rise in sea level (SLE) of 0.14 +/- 0.04 mm/year. Repeat measurements of 28 glaciers from the mid-1990s to 2000-2001 suggest an increased average rate of thinning, -1.8 m/year. This leads to an extrapolated annual volume loss from Alaska glaciers equal to -96 +/- 35 km3/year, or 0.27 +/- 0.10 mm/year SLE, during the past decade. These recent losses are nearly double the estimated annual loss from the entire Greenland Ice Sheet during the same time period and are much higher than previously published loss estimates for Alaska glaciers. They form the largest glaciological contribution to rising sea level yet measured. PMID:12130781

  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. Bursts of calving activity and controls on the terminus position of Yahtse Glacier, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bartholomaus, T. C.; Larsen, C. F.; West, M. E.; Oneel, S.

    2011-12-01

    The tidewater glacier terminus is the interface that links oceanic and glaciological processes. Tidewater glaciers contribute large amounts of cold, fresh water to their fjords. Ocean heat exerts a significant control on glacier mass balance. On the Gulf of Alaska, the terminus of tidewater Yahtse Glacier has advanced slowly since its 1990 post-Little Ice Age minimum. At Yahtse's terminus, ice flowing at 18 m/d encounters water with temperatures of up to 10.5°C (measured 1.5 km from the terminus). Profiles of temperature and salinity in Icy Bay, in which Yahtse Glacier terminates, have revealed a strongly stratified, single-cell circulation pattern. Fresh, glacier outflow exits the bay atop warm, saline Gulf of Alaska water. The Alaska Coastal Current, a major source of Icy Bay water, has warmed by 1°C over the last 40 years. These observations prompt the question of how a tidewater advance may be sustained in spite of warming ocean and atmosphere temperatures. Superimposed on Yahtse Glacier's longer-term advance have been smaller-scale summer retreats and winter-spring re-advances. These smaller fluctuations indicate that factors that change on short timescales, such as ocean conditions and weather, also have an important control on terminus position. Observed bursts in calving frequency are a further reflection of the unsteady conditions at the glacier terminus. In the present study, we use seismograms recorded on bedrock within 500 m of the glacier terminus as a calving counter. The epicenters of a significant majority of glacier-generated seismic events within the St. Elias Mountains have been located to within 15 km of the terminus of Yahtse Glacier. Previous study at Yahtse Glacier has revealed that at least 75% of these seismic events originate from calving processes, most notably through the interactions between iceberg and water. Calving frequency is characterized by a relatively steady rate of background events, punctuated by bursts of calving activity

  5. Marine record of surge-induced outburst floods from the Bering Glacier, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jaeger, John M.; Nittrouer, Charles A.

    1999-09-01

    The Bering Glacier, Alaska, is the largest temperate glacier in the world. It episodically surges with rapid advances of the glacier terminus followed by large outburst floods delivering freshwater and sediment to the adjacent Gulf of Alaska. We describe the marine record of the 1993 1995 surge and document a 100 yr history of surges recorded in marine sedimentary deposits seaward of the Bering Glacier. In 1994 and 1995, we collected box cores that contained high-porosity laminated sediments at the seabed surface. Profiles of 234Th and chlorophyll-a indicate that these sediments were deposited very rapidly (0.1 cm · day-1) in association with the surge. A 250-cm-long kasten core extended this record, in which 7 laminated beds, 10 30 cm thick, alternated with bioturbated sediments. On the basis of 210Pb chronology, 6 of these beds accumulated in the past 100 yr and can be correlated with historical surges.

  6. Melt water input from the Bering Glacier watershed into the Gulf of Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Josberger, Edward G.; Shuchman, Robert A.; Jenkins, Liza K.; Arthur Endsley, K.

    2014-02-01

    The annual runoff from the melting of large glaciers and snow fields along the northern perimeter of the Gulf of Alaska is a critical component of marine physical and biological systems; yet, most of this freshwater is not measured. Here we show estimates of melt for the watershed that contains the largest and longest glacier in North America, the Bering Glacier. The procedure combines in situ observations of snow and ice melt acquired by a long-term monitoring program, multispectral satellite observations, and nearby temperature measurements. The estimated melt is 40 km3 per melt season, ± 3.0 km3, observed over the decadal period, 2002-2012. As a result of climate change, these estimates could increase to 60 km3/yr by 2050. This technique and the derived melt coefficients can be applied to estimate melt from Alaska to Washington glaciers.

  7. Seasonal and altitudinal variations in snow algal communities on an Alaskan glacier (Gulkana glacier in the Alaska range)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Takeuchi, Nozomu

    2013-09-01

    Snow and ice algae are cold tolerant algae growing on the surface of snow and ice, and they play an important role in the carbon cycles for glaciers and snowfields in the world. Seasonal and altitudinal variations in seven major taxa of algae (green algae and cyanobacteria) were investigated on the Gulkana glacier in Alaska at six different elevations from May to September in 2001. The snow algal communities and their biomasses changed over time and elevation. Snow algae were rarely observed on the glacier in May although air temperature had been above 0 ° C since the middle of the month and surface snow had melted. In June, algae appeared in the lower areas of the glacier, where the ablation ice surface was exposed. In August, the distribution of algae was extended to the upper parts of the glacier as the snow line was elevated. In September, the glacier surface was finally covered with new winter snow, which terminated algal growth in the season. Mean algal biomass of the study sites continuously increased and reached 6.3 × 10 μl m-2 in cell volume or 13 mg carbon m-2 in September. The algal community was dominated by Chlamydomonas nivalis on the snow surface, and by Ancylonema nordenskiöldii and Mesotaenium berggrenii on the ice surface throughout the melting season. Other algae were less abundant and appeared in only a limited area of the glacier. Results in this study suggest that algae on both snow and ice surfaces significantly contribute to the net production of organic carbon on the glacier and substantially affect surface albedo of the snow and ice during the melting season.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Surge-like behavior at the non-surge type Matanuska Glacier, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Furuya, M.; Abe, T.

    2014-12-01

    Seasonal glacier velocity changes are attributed to subglacial slip associated with water pressure changes that occur because of the seasonal variability of meltwater input. Abe and Furuya (2014) reported winter speed-up signals and their downglacier propagation at a number of glaciers near the border of Alaska and Yukon, based on ALOS/PALSAR radar image analyses. Here we perform the similar analyses at the Chugach mountain range of South Central Alaska, and report the spatial-temporal evolution of the Matanuska Glacier. Matanuska Glacier is the largest accessible glacier in Alaska with its nearly 40 km length and 5 km width near the terminus. Comparing the winter velocity images in 2007, 2008 and 2010, those in 2010 were about 1.5-2 times faster than those during the previous two years. In addition, comparing the fall and winter velocities, winter velocities were apparently faster at every 2007-2008, 2009-2010, and 2010-2011 season. These data indicate winter speed-up or mini-surge signals even at a temperate and non-surgetype Matanuska Glacier. We also examine the spatial-temporal elevation changes, using data from the LiDAR altimeter in the Icebridge mission, and found significant elevation increase near the terminus. Winter speed-up may not be uncommon at Alaskan/Yukon glaciers. Lingle and Fatland (2003) detected faster speed in winter than in fall at non-surging Seward Glacier in the St. Elias Mountains; this is the only published and unambiguous report of winter speed-up, to our knowledge. Combined with earlier glacier hydrological studies, Lingle and Fatland proposed englacial water storage and gravity-driven water flow toward the bed in winter regardless of whether a given glacier is surge-type or not, and considered that the capacity of englacial water storage would control if a given glacier was surge-type or not. We consider that our measurements are complementary to Lingle and Fatland's observations and lend further support for their hypothesis. Basal

  12. 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.

  13. 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)

  14. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2007-01-01

    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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Preliminary bathymetry of McCarty Fiord and Neoglacial changes of McCarty Glacier, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Post, Austin

    1980-01-01

    Preliminary bathymetry (at 1:20,000 scale) and other scientific studies of McCarty Fiord, Alaska, Conducted by the Research Vessel Growler in 1978, showed this 15 mile-long waterway to be a narrow, deeply scoured basin enclosed by a terminal-moraine shoal. This valley was formerly filled by McCarty Glacier, which began a drastic retreat shortly after 1909; the glacier reached shallow water at the head of the fiord around 1960. The relative rate of retreat in deep water and on land is disclosed by the slower melting of stagnent ice left in a side valley. Soundings and profiles show the main channel to extend to a depth as great as 957 feet and to have the typical ' U ' shape of a glacier-eroded valley; since the glacier 's retreat, sediments have formed a nearly level deposit in the deepest part of the fiord. Old forest debris dated by carbon-14 indicates that a neoglacial advance of the glacier began before 3,395 years B.P. (before present); by 1,500 B.P. the glacier filled most of the fiord, and before the glacier culminated its advance around 1860 , two glacier-dammed lakes were formed in side valleys. (USGS)

  2. 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

  3. Spatially Distributing a GRACE Mascon Solution Across Gulf of Alaska Glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Young, J. C.; Arendt, A. A.; Luthcke, S. B.

    2014-12-01

    Glaciers of Alaska and Northwestern Canada are losing mass at one of the highest rates of any mountain glacier system globally. High-precision measurements from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite mission have revealed changes in the local gravitational field along the Gulf of Alaska due to changes in these ice masses since 2003. Previous efforts have spatially resolved these mass changes to 100 x 100 km grid cells or mass concentrations (mascons) as part of a global GRACE solution. While mass change estimates at the scale of entire mountain ranges (i.e. several geographically-grouped mascons) show strong temporal correlation to surface mass balance and air temperature, and while ice loss magnitudes for all Gulf of Alaska glaciers agree closely with geodetic estimates from ICESat, most GRACE-derived glacier mass loss magnitudes do not match ground observations at the level of individual mascons. In this study, we examine several approaches for partitioning the most recent GRACE mascon solution for glacier mass change along the Gulf of Alaska to individual mascons. We derive sets of scaling coefficients for every mascon, representing the local averages of different topographic or climatological characteristics, which essentially serve as different measures of continentality. These characteristics include mean ice elevation and distance from the coast, derived from the Randolph Glacier Inventory, and mean monthly temperature and precipitation, derived from the gridded climate product PRISM. Each set of scaling coefficients (representing each continentality index) is evaluated by comparing our derived timeseries' of mass change to independent estimates from available ground and remote sensing datasets. We focus our preliminary validation on mascons within the Juneau Icefield area in Southeast Alaska, for which we have independent constraints on mass change from hydrological models and laser altimetry, and which acts as a test case for future

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  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. Dust transport from glacierized rivers of southern Alaska to the Gulf of Alaska: Interannual variability in magnitude and sources

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crusius, J.; Schroth, A. W.; Campbell, R. W.; Resing, J.; Gasso, S.

    2014-12-01

    Dust from high latitudes is underappreciated and little studied. We recently identified new sites of dust formation, and a new dust generation mechanism, from the southern AK coastline, in Crusius et al, 2011. Dust is generated each autumn from glacierized river valleys as river levels and discharge decrease following summer peak glacier melt. The most prominent such river is the Copper River, the single largest freshwater source to the Gulf of Alaska. Each autumn the exposed river floodplains contain abundant, fine glacial flour and represent a large dust source region, prior to significant snowfall. Strong katabatic winds channeled down mountain river valleys generate dust from the fine glacial flour, which is transported as much as several hundred kilometers into the ocean. This dust is an important source of Fe to the Gulf of Alaska, where phytoplankton growth is limited by available Fe (a micronutrient). Glaciers are rapidly losing mass in this region, so there is an increasing supply of fine glacial flour during the summer melt season, and possibly increased deposition of fine glacial flour in the dust source regions. We initiated continuous, year-round time-series measurements of dust concentration, and its geochemical composition, in August of 2011 on Middleton Island, AK, which lies in the path of the dust plume extending from the Copper River valley. Dust is clearly generated from other glacierized river valleys along the southern coast of AK, as well. We will discuss results from our continuous record spanning three dust seasons, which prominently shows these events each autumn, and displays substantial interannual variability. Dust appears to remain in the boundary layer, but is transported hundreds of kilometers into the ocean, into Fe-limited waters. It is also possible that some of this dust is redeposited on snow or glacier surfaces, enhancing melting. This dust source is not accounted for in typical global dust models.

  12. Radar remote sensing of glacial features, Malaspina Glacier, Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Molnia, B.F.; Jones, J.E. )

    1990-05-01

    Two types of radar investigations were conducted at Malaspina glacier, the largest piedmont glacier lobe in North America. Digital x-band side-looking airborne radar (SLAR) data were collected to image surface features; ice-surface, ice-penetrating radar was employed to measure ice thickness and to identify the configuration of subglacial bed rock SLAR revealed a complex pattern of surface backscatter responses related to three types of channellike features on the glacier surface, which mimic the configuration of its underlying bed rock. The features resemble (1) glacially eroded valleys with cirque-like indentations, (2) dendritic stream valleys, and (3) a greater than 40-km-long, arcuate, east-west lineament that corresponds to the Fairweather fault. Field examinations of the three types of features were made to determine relief, slope, and other conditions. The channel-like features had elevations as much as 40 m lower than adjacent high areas and were characterized by fewer crevasses, minimal surface relief, a sediment veneer, and standing and running water. Hundred-m-spaced ice-penetrating radar soundings showed that the ice thickness over these low areas is much greater than over adjacent highs. About 50 ice-thickness measurements were made elsewhere on the glacier. The maximum ice thickness measured exceeded 850 m, whereas the minimum thickness was less than 150 m. Comparison of ice-thickness measurements and ice-surface elevations at each site suggests that the Malaspina Glacier occupies a deep basin or series of basins extending well below sea level.

  13. 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.

  14. Coupled terrestrial-glacier-fjord-ocean processes in the Gulf of Alaska and Greenland (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Winsor, P.; Truffer, M.

    2013-12-01

    We present coupled terrestrial-glacier-fjord-ocean system response to changes in forcing from the Gulf of Alaska focusing on the role of glacier runoff on the Alaska Coastal Current. These highly coupled systems remain severely under sampled in time and space, and point to the need for improved sampling techniques of the nearshore environment. We also present detailed measurements from western Greenland consisting of ice-strengthened satellite-tracked surface drifters equipped with CTDs covering the upper 15 m of the ocean deployed in concert with SST surface drifters, ADCPs and shipboard CTD data. This unique data set highlight the complexity of circulation and upper ocean heat and salt content in narrow glacially-dominated fjords.

  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

  16. 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.

  17. Continuous Measurements of Ice Motion and Associated Seismicity at Bering Glacier, Alaska.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Larsen, C. F.; Truffer, M.; Leblanc, L.; O'Neel, S.; West, M.; None, N.

    2007-12-01

    In April 2007, we established an array of GPS and seismic stations on the Bering Glacier, Alaska, to investigate the relationship between glacier motion and glacier-generated seismicity. Bering Glacier is North America's largest mountain glacier and has an area of more than 5000 km2. Dual-frequency GPS data were recorded continuously at 15 second intervals at five stations on the glacier from April to September. Four of the GPS glacier stations were established in a strain diamond located roughly halfway between the equilibrium line and the terminus, at a distance of 40 km from a GPS base station located near the terminus. These four GPS glacier stations were co-located with seismometers, which, together with a fifth seismometer located at center of the strain diamond, form a cross pattern seismic array with a 4-km aperture. The fifth GPS station is located 20 km up glacier from the strain diamond and seismic array, at a point where the upper icefield feeds into a narrow gate to the lower glacier. GPS antennas were fixed to tripods constructed of steel poles drilled 5-7 m deep into the surface of the glacier. This provides a stable reference relative to the glacier surface, which is subject to several meters of annual ablation at the elevation of the strain diamond. The GPS data have been processed using the GAMIT kinematic utility Track. The motion recorded at all sites is rapid (3+ m/day) but smooth and steady down to the temporal resolution of the data. Specifically, we find no evidence for sudden motion events in the timeseries, but rather find only small perturbations superimposed on slowly varying velocities. The seismic records from short period (L-22) and broadband (6TD) instruments reveal frequent icequakes including both emergent low frequency events and impulsive high frequency events. Many of the events recorded show strong time domain correlations across the array. We will construct a timeseries of seismicty using an automatic icequake detector

  18. 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.

  19. 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)

  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. Status and trend of the Kittlitz's Murrelet Brachyramphus brevirostris in Glacier Bay, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Piatt, J.F.; Arimitsu, M.; Drew, G.; Madison, E.N.; Bodkin, J.; Romano, Marc D.

    2011-01-01

    We conducted standardized surveys for marine birds in Glacier Bay in seven years between 1991 and 2008. From our most recent survey, a combination of line- and strip-transect methods completed in 2008, we estimated that 4981 (95% CI 1293-8670) Kittlitz's Murrelets Brachyramphus brevirostris resided in Glacier Bay during the month of June, together with 12 195 (5607-18 783) Marbled Murrelets B. marmoratus. When counts were prorated to assign unidentified Brachyramphus murrelets to species, population estimates increased to 5641 Kittlitz's Murrelets and 13 810 Marbled Murrelets. Our surveys of bird numbers in Glacier Bay between 1991 and 2008 revealed that Kittlitz's Murrelet declined by ???85% during this period. Trend analysis suggested a rate of decline between -10.7% and -14.4% per year. No direct human impacts (e.g., bycatch, oil pollution, vessel disturbance) in our study area could fully account for a decline of this magnitude. Widespread declines of Brachyramphus murrelets and Harbor Seals Phoca vitulina in the Gulf of Alaska during the 1980s-1990s suggest large-scale influences on these marine predators, perhaps related to climate-mediated cycles in food supply. Other natural factors that may impact Glacier Bay populations include predation by avian and terrestrial predators, widespread glacial retreat and its effect on nesting and foraging habitats, and competition for food with marine predators whose abundance in Glacier Bay has increased markedly in recent years (Humpback Whales Megaptera novaeangliae and Steller Sea Lions Eumetopias jubatus).

  2. Surface Mass Balance of the Columbia Glacier, Alaska, 1978 and 2010 Balance Years

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    O'Neel, Shad

    2012-01-01

    Although Columbia Glacier is one of the largest sources of glacier mass loss in Alaska, surface mass balance measurements are sparse, with only a single data set available from 1978. The dearth of surface mass-balance data prohibits partitioning of the total mass losses between dynamics and surface forcing; however, the accurate inclusion of calving glaciers into predictive models requires both dynamic and climatic forcing of total mass balance. During 2010, the U.S. Geological Survey collected surface balance data at several locations distributed over the surface of Columbia Glacier to estimate the glacier-wide annual balance for balance year 2010 using the 2007 area-altitude distribution. This report also summarizes data collected in 1978, calculates the 1978 annual surface balance, and uses these observations to constrain the 2010 values, particularly the shape of the balance profile. Both years exhibit balances indicative of near-equilibrium surface mass-balance conditions, and demonstrate the importance of dynamic processes during the rapid retreat.

  3. Seismicity, seawater and seasonality: New insights into iceberg calving from Yahtse Glacier, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bartholomaus, Timothy Chester

    At many of the largest glaciers and ice sheets on Earth, more than half of the annual ice loss occurs through iceberg calving into the ocean. Calving is also responsible for the most rapid ice mass changes, both directly (through the mechanical loss of ice at the terminus) and indirectly (through dynamic thinning of upstream ice initiated by terminus retreat). Yet, the mechanisms and factors that control calving are poorly understood. Recordings of glaciogenic seismic waves, known as "icequakes," produced during iceberg calving offer opportunities for insight that cannot be gleaned through other methods. In order to better understand iceberg calving and its links to calving icequakes, we conducted a 2-yr study of rapidly advancing Yahtse Glacier, site of one of the densest clusters of calving icequakes in southern Alaska. By synchronizing video of iceberg calving events with locally-recorded seismograms, we found that most icequake energy is produced after subaerial iceberg detachment from the glacier terminus, while the iceberg impacts and descends below the sea surface. Cavitation beneath the water surface generates the largest amplitude portions of icequakes---those that are detectable over several hundred km distances. Numerical simulations of these iceberg-sea surface interactions predict sources with durations that are consistent with the 1-5 Hz frequency content of calving icequakes. Oceanographic measurements in Icy Bay, where Yahtse Glacier terminates, reveal that warm water may melt most of the ice reaching the submarine terminus. During the summer, water with temperature > 10 °C flows from the Gulf of Alaska coast to within 2 km of Yahtse Glacier's terminus. We find that heat transport between 5 and 40x109 W can readily melt the submarine glacier terminus at a rate that matches the speed with which ice flows towards the glacier terminus (17 m/d). Subaerial iceberg calving rates may be paced by submarine melt rates. To place our calving and submarine

  4. 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

  5. Estimation of freshwater runoff into Glacier Bay, Alaska and incorporation into a tidal circulation model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hill, D. F.; Ciavola, S. J.; Etherington, L.; Klaar, M. J.

    2009-03-01

    Freshwater discharge is one of the most critical parameters driving water properties within fjord estuarine environments. To date, however, little attention has been paid to the issue of freshwater runoff into Glacier Bay, a recently deglaciated fjord in southeastern Alaska. Estimates of discharge into Glacier Bay and the outlying waters of Icy Strait and Cross Sound are therefore presented. Existing regression equations for southcentral and southeastern coastal Alaska are applied to Glacier Bay to arrive at the estimates. A limited set of acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) measurements generally support the predictions of the regression equations. The results suggest that discharge into the bay ranges from a few hundred to a few thousand m 3 s -1 during a typical year. Peak discharges can be much higher, approximately 10,000 m 3 s -1 for the 10-year flow event. Estimates of the seasonal variation of discharge are also obtained and reveal a broad peak during the summer months. The hydrologic estimates are then coupled with a barotropic tidal circulation model (ADCIRC - ADvanced CIRCulation model) of Glacier Bay waters. This coupling is achieved by treating the entire coastline boundary as a non-zero normal-flux boundary. Numerical simulations with the inclusion of runoff allow for the estimation of parameters such as the estuarine Richardson number, which is an indicator of estuary mixing. Simulations also allow for the comparison of Lagrangian trajectories in the presence and absence of runoff. The results of the present paper are intended to complement a comprehensive and recently-published dataset on the oceanographic conditions of Glacier Bay. The results will also guide continuing efforts to model three-dimensional circulations in the bay.

  6. 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.

  7. Glacier Basal Sliding in Two-Dimensions Quantified from Correlation of High-Resolution Satellite Imagery: A Case Study on Kennicott Glacier, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Armstrong, W. H., Jr.; Anderson, R. S.; Allen, J.; Rajaram, H.; Anderson, L. S.

    2014-12-01

    The coupling of glacial hydrology and sliding is a source of uncertainty for both ice flow modeling and prediction of future sea level rise. As basal sliding is required for a glacier to erode its bed, the spatial pattern of glacier sliding is also important for understanding alpine landscape evolution. We use multi-temporal WorldView satellite imagery (0.5 m pixel) to monitor the seasonal progression of glacier velocity across the terminal ~50 km2of Kennicott Glacier, Alaska. We employ the free image correlation software COSI-Corr to construct multiple velocity maps, using 2013 imagery with repeat times from 15 to 38 days. These short intervals between images allow us to analyze variations in glacier velocity over weekly to monthly timescales associated with hydrologically-induced basal sliding. By assuming that spring (March-April) glacier velocity results solely from viscous deformation, we produce spatially distributed maps of glacier sliding speed by differencing summer and spring ice surface speeds. For a given time, a large portion of our study reach slides with roughly uniform speed, despite significant variation in deformation speed. This suggests that glacier flow models in which basal sliding is taken simply to scale as ice surface velocity are unfounded. The upglacier end of our study reach slides at speeds that vary through the summer, whereas the terminal reach slides at a steady speed. The proportion of glacier motion due to sliding increases dramatically moving downglacier, making basal sliding especially important in the terminal region. Many formulations express glacier sliding as a function of effective pressure (ice pressure minus water pressure). If such formulations are correct, effective pressure varies little over large areas or is averaged over lengthscales equivalent to ~10 glacier thicknesses. Also, effective pressure is steady in the terminal region through the summer. We explore existing sliding laws to find which best describes the

  8. Glacier-volcano interactions in the north crater of Mt. Wrangell, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Abston, Carl; Motyka, Roman J.; McNutt, Stephen; Luthi, Martin; Truffer, Martin

    2007-01-01

    Glaciological and related observations from 1961 to 2005 at the summit of Mt Wrangell (62.008 N, 144.028W; 4317 m a.s.l.), a massive glacier-covered shield volcano in south-central Alaska, show marked changes that appear to have been initiated by the Great Alaska Earthquake (MW = 9.2) of 27 March 1964. The 4 x 6 km diameter, ice-filled Summit Caldera with several post-caldera craters on its rim, comprises the summit region where annual snow accumulation is 1–2 m of water equivalent and the mean annual temperature, measured 10 m below the snow surface, is –20°C. Precision surveying, aerial photogrammetry and measurements of temperature and snow accumulation were used to measure the loss of glacier ice equivalent to about 0.03 km3 of water from the North Crater in a decade. Glacier calorimetry was used to calculate the associated heat flux, which varied within the range 20–140W m–2; total heat flow was in the range 20–100 MW. Seismicity data from the crater’s rim show two distinct responses to large earthquakes at time scales from minutes to months. Chemistry of water and gas from fumaroles indicates a shallow magma heat source and seismicity data are consistent with this interpretation.

  9. 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.

  10. Future glacier and runoff changes in the Upper Susitna basin, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Braun, J. L.; Liljedahl, A. K.; Hock, R. M.; Wolken, G. J.

    2012-12-01

    Traditionally, construction of hydropower dams have been guided by statistical flow analyses of historical discharge datasets. This assumes that the future hydrologic conditions (70+ years) will remain similar to what has been observed in the past. In glaciated Southcentral Alaska, the State is reviving studies of the Susitna River's hydroelectric potential. We combine field measurements and computational modeling to improve estimates of runoff into the proposed 81 km2 and 63 km long reservoir of the Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project. Approximately 4% the watershed area (14,774 km2) is glacierized. Changes in glacier extent in response to climate warming and/or altered precipitation regimes have the potential to substantially alter the magnitude and timing of runoff. Therefore, we apply the physically-based, fully distributed hydrologic model "Water Balance Simulation Model" (WaSiM). WaSiM is a well established tool for simulating the spatial and temporal variability of hydrologic processes in complex basins. The glacier module, which includes the shrinkage and expansion of glaciers, allows us to specifically evaluate the role of glacier melt on river runoff during the lifespan of the proposed dam. Here, the model is calibrated against multiple discharge and glacier mass balance measurements and is forced by daily temperature and precipitation grids. Downscaled climate projections serve to inform the hydrologic model in order to produce refined estimates of future seasonality and magnitude of flow. An application of a physically-based hydrologic model, which is first validated in order to quantify its uncertainty, has the potential to extend statistical analyses into the future and ultimately inform management decisions.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  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. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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 4.07±0.03 m yr-1 (2007-2010). Calving rates are highly variable with periods of rapid retreat followed by periods of relative stability. The most recent period of rapid retreat began in 2010, when the floating tongue disintegrated into large tabular ice bergs. Those ice bergs calve as crevasses transform into rifts, a process supported by rapid thinning. Once the rifts intersect, large tabular icebergs are able to disconnect from the tongue and float away, generally without rolling over. This episodic style of calving also produces a large number of small ice bergs. Tidewater glaciers in the vicinity of Yakutat Glacier are exposed to a similar climate, but they neither form nor maintain a stable floating tongue, nor do they calve large tabular icebergs, even when retreating into over-deepened basins. We hypothesize that the different calving behavior is caused by the presence or absence of submarine melt as the glacier retreats into an over-deepening. In the case of a tidewater glacier, submarine melt can be large leading to instability and retreat. In a lacustrine system, subaquatic melt is negligible, allowing floating tongues to form. The recent break-up of this floating tongue shows certain similarities to the disintegration of ice shelves in Antarctica, but on a much smaller scale and in temperate ice. To better

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Modeling past and future mass balance and discharge of Gulkana Glacier, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roth, A. C.; Hock, R. M.; Arendt, A. A.; Zhang, J.

    2010-12-01

    The trends of climate change indicate that glacier melt will continue to increase. It is imperative that we understand and quantify how this will affect freshwater river runoff and downstream hydrology in order to better inform local response, policy, and resource management. The purpose of this study was to calibrate a model of discharge and mass balance of Gulkana Glacier and predict the glacier’s response to climate change. Gulkana Glacier is a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) benchmark glacier located on the south flank of the eastern Alaska Range with an area of 15 km2. Using a temperature-index model including potential clear-sky direct radiation, discharge and mass balance of Gulkana Glacier were simulated over the period of 1967-2009 with a daily time step and a 40 m resolution DEM. Input data for the model were daily temperatures and precipitation data obtained from the USGS climate station near the glacier. Model parameters including precipitation lapse rate, precipitation correction, snowfall correction, melt factor, radiation melt factor for ice, and radiation melt factor for snow, were calibrated until the best agreement between measured and simulated discharged and winter, summer, and annual mass balance data was obtained. Future climate data defined by three time slices (2010-2019, 2050-2059, and 2090-2099) were obtained by a hierarchical climate modeling system, in which the CCSM3 simulations were downscaled with the high resolution regional model Arctic MM5. The 21st century climate is based on the middle-of-the-road A1B scenario, which represents balanced fossil and non-fossil fuel use. The mean temperature difference between each time slice and the mean measured temperature for 2000-2009 was found. These values were added to the daily temperatures for 2000-2009 and the model was used to calculate future discharge and mass balance for each time slice. Precipitation input was the measured 2000-2009 data for each time slice. Compared to the 2000

  3. 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.

  4. 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 idewater glaciers. Studying such estuarine systems provides vital information on how deglaciation affects oceanographic onditions of fjords and surrounding coastal waters. The oceanographic system of Glacier Bay, Alaska, is of particular interest ue to the rapid deglaciation of the Bay and the resulting changes in the estuarine environment, the relatively high oncentrations of marine mammals, seabirds, fishes, and invertebrates, and the Bay’s status as a national park, where ommercial fisheries are being phased out. We describe the first comprehensive broad-scale analysis of physical and iological oceanographic conditions within Glacier Bay based on CTD measurements at 24 stations from 1993 to 2002. easonal patterns of near-surface salinity, temperature, stratification, turbidity, and euphotic depth suggest that freshwater nput was highest in summer, emphasizing the critical role of glacier and snowmelt to this system. Strong and persistent tratification of surface waters driven by freshwater input occurred from spring through fall. After accounting for seasonal nd spatial variation, several of the external physical factors (i.e., air temperature, precipitation, day length) explained a large mount of variation in the physical properties of the surface waters. Spatial patterns of phytoplankton biomass varied hroughout the year and were related to stratification levels, euphotic depth, and day length. We observed hydrographic atterns indicative of strong competing forces influencing water column stability within Glacier Bay: high levels of freshwater ischarge promoted stratification in the upper fjord, while strong tidal currents over the Bay’s shallow entrance sill enhanced ertical mixing. Where these two processes met in the central deep basins there were optimal conditions of intermediate tratification, higher light levels, and potential nutrient renewal

  5. Controls on interannual and seasonal terminus velocity and position of Yahtse Glacier in SE Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Durkin, W. J., IV; Melkonian, A. K.; Pritchard, M. E.; Willis, M. J.; Bartholomaus, T.

    2015-12-01

    We construct a 30 year velocity time-series for comparison with recent studies on the submarine melt rate (Bartholomaus et al., 2013), calving rate (Bartholomaus et al., 2013b), velocities (McNabb et al., 2014), and subglacial discharge (Bartholomaus et al., 2015) of Yahtse Glacier in southeast Alaska. Velocities are constructed from feature tracking on Landsat, ALOS, and ASTER satellite imagery spanning 1985-2015. Yahtse is undergoing an interannual advance of ~82 m yr-1 that is concurrent with deceleration between 1996 and 2015 of -0.55 m day-1yr-1 measured 2.5km down-glacier from the icefall. We estimate that up to 35% of the slowdown is due to divergence associated with thickening near the terminus of ~7 m yr-1measured by differencing WorldView and SRTM DEMs. Much of the remaining deceleration may be due to greater basal and lateral drag as ongoing advance increases the contact area between the terminus and bedrock. We observe a seasonal cycle in centerline terminus speeds superimposed on the interannual deceleration. Terminus speeds climb from a minimum in October to a maximum in May, then decline until October. The timing of this cycle is in phase with the seasonality of subglacial discharge at the front of Yahtse and salinity levels measured in the Gulf of Alaska, which agrees with models of subglacial channel development proposed for many glaciers. Seasonal speed changes measured 1 km up-glacier from the front are associated with terminus advance and retreat. The terminus is in a retracted position following the deceleration to a minimum speed in October and elevated submarine melt rates in summer and early autumn. The front holds this position from November through February as speeds there accelerate to their seasonal maximum and submarine melt is reduced. Yahtse Glacier then advances between 200 and 500 m during the spring as frontal speeds decrease by ~10% from their highest level. This slowdown may be caused by a decrease in buoyancy due to the terminus

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Differential erosion by different-sized glaciers as reflected in 10Be-derived erosion rates of glacier valley walls, Kichatna Mts., Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ward, D.; Anderson, R. S.

    2009-12-01

    The Kichatna Mountains, Alaska Range, Alaska comprise a dramatic landscape carved into a small ~65 Ma granitic pluton about 100 km west of Denali, in which kilometer-tall rock walls and “cathedral” spires tower over a radial array of over a dozen individual valley glaciers. The sheer scale of the relief speaks to the relative rates of valley incision by glaciers and rockwall retreat, but absolute rates are difficult to determine. We use cosmogenic 10Be to measure rockwall backwearing rates (and discuss several very important caveats to this use) on timescales of 103-104 yr, with a straightforward sampling strategy that exploits ablation-dominated medial moraines. In simple cases, a medial moraine and its associated englacial debris serve as a conveyor belt that brings supraglacial rockfall debris from the accumulation zone valley wall to a moraine crest in the ablation zone. Our samples come from the largest medial moraine on each of three glaciers. The northeast-flowing Trident glacier is the largest (15 km long, 1.4 km wide) and most deeply incised, and it has the lowest modern snowline in the range (~1200 m). Its primary medial moraine is sourced from west-facing sidewalls. The north-flowing Shadows glacier is slightly smaller (13 km long, 0.8 km wide) and has a large moraine sourced in dominantly east-facing sidewalls. The south-flowing Caldwell glacier is the smallest of the three (7 km long, 0.7 km wide), has a high modern snowline (~1500 m), and is nearly completely covered in debris. Its primary moraine is sourced from all south-facing aspects. These three glaciers share divides in their headwaters, and so are sourced in identical rock. Sidewall relief is similar (~1 km) in all three catchments. Each sample was amalgamated from 25-35 clasts collected over a 1 km longitudinal transect of each moraine. Replicate samples are internally consistent. The lowest 10Be concentrations (8000 at/g), and thus the highest inferred sidewall erosion rates (1.4 mm

  10. 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)

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. High-resolution modeling of coastal freshwater discharge and glacier mass balance in the Gulf of Alaska watershed

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-05-01

    A comprehensive study of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) drainage basin was carried out to improve understanding of the coastal freshwater discharge (FWD) and glacier volume loss (GVL). Hydrologic processes during the period 1980-2014 were modeled using a suite of physically based, spatially distributed weather, energy-balance snow/ice melt, soil water balance, and runoff routing models at a high-resolution (1 km horizontal grid; daily time step). Meteorological forcing was provided by the North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR), Modern Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA), and Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR) data sets. Streamflow and glacier mass balance modeled using MERRA and CFSR compared well with observations in four watersheds used for calibration in the study domain. However, only CFSR produced regional seasonal and long-term trends in water balance that compared favorably with independent Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) and airborne altimetry data. Mean annual runoff using CFSR was 760 km3 yr-1, 8% of which was derived from the long-term removal of stored water from glaciers (glacier volume loss). The annual runoff from CFSR was partitioned into 63% snowmelt, 17% glacier ice melt, and 20% rainfall. Glacier runoff, taken as the sum of rainfall, snow, and ice melt occurring each season on glacier surfaces, was 38% of the total seasonal runoff, with the remaining runoff sourced from nonglacier surfaces. Our simulations suggests that existing GRACE solutions, previously reported to represent glacier mass balance alone, are actually measuring the full water budget of land and ice surfaces.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. Combined Datasets From GPS, Raised Shorelines, Tide Gauges and Glacier Volume Changes Used to Differentiate Between GIA, Elastic Rebound and Tectonics in Glacier Bay, Alaska.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Larsen, C. F.; Motyka, R.; Elliott, J. L.; Freymuller, J. T.; Echelmeyer, K. A.; Ivins, E. R.

    2006-12-01

    Eight years of GPS observations show uplift rates of 10 to 32 mm/yr over a large area of southeast Alaska, with the fastest rates observed in upper Glacier Bay and to the east of Yakutat. Rates of relative sea level (RSL) change at several tide gauges in the region are among the fastest anywhere and indicate steady sea level fall over the past 100 yrs. Studies of raised shorelines at 32 sites throughout the region also show rapid RSL changes of up to 5.7 m over the last 250 yrs. Both the RSL and the GPS data show the greatest uplift surrounding areas of post-Little Ice Age (LIA) deglaciation. Following the LIA, a tidewater retreat unloaded over 3000 Gt of ice from Glacier Bay. Ongoing ice loss from mountain glacier wastage is constrained with laser altimetry and the SRTM DEM. A narrow range of viscoelastic rebound models is capable of completely accounting for the rapid uplift observed by these three data types when the load models are constrained by the observed and modeled ice loss of the region. If, however, only the GPS data were available, a much wider range of earth models would be able to reproduce the observations. This clearly illustrates the advantage of multiple datasets. In addition to new observations from our continuing GPS surveys, we will present new modeling results which examine the combined tectonic and GIA signatures in the horizontal GPS velocity field across this rapidly deforming plate boundary.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. Variations in Sr and Nd isotopic ratios of cryoconite on glaciers in Asia, Alaska, and Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nagatsuka, N.; Takeuchi, N.; Nakano, T.

    2012-12-01

    Recent shrinkages of glacial mass are not only due to global warming, but also possibly to accumulation of cryoconite on the glacial surface. Cryoconite is a biogenic surface dust consisting of organic matter mainly derived from living microbes on the glaciers, and mineral particles originated from basal till and/or wind-blown dust. Since cryoconite is dark color, it can reduce surface albedo of glaciers and accelerate their melting. Thus, it is important to understand their sources and formation process on the glaciers. The characteristics of cryoconite vary among geographical locations. For example, there are small amounts of cryoconite on Arctic glaciers and their glacial surface is clean. In contrast, large amounts of cryoconite accumulate on Asian glaciers and their glacial surface appears very dirty. These differences in cryoconite are likely to affect on surface albedo and melting of each glacier. However, the formation process of cryoconite, especially origins of minerals and production process of organic matters are still not well understood. Stable isotopic ratios of strontium (Sr) and neodymium (Nd) provide a means of identifying sources of substances and have been commonly used in loess or sediment studies. Furthermore, Sr isotope has been used as a tracer of Ca ion in studies of geochemical process, because its chemical characteristics are similar to Ca. Thus, Sr in organic matter including such organisms on the glacier may reveal their nutrient sources and ecology of them. In this study, we analyzed Sr and Nd isotopic ratios of four mineral and organic fractions in cryoconite on Asian and Polar glaciers. Based on the isotopic ratios, we identified origins of minerals in cryoconite and mineral sources used as nutrients by microbes on the glaciers. Sr and Nd isotopic ratios in the mineral fractions, especially silicate minerals, which are major components of mineral particles, vary significantly among the glaciers. Cryoconite on Asian glaciers showed

  2. A continental shelf sedimentary record of Little Ice Age to modern glacial dynamics: Bering Glacier, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jaeger, John M.; Kramer, Branden

    2014-09-01

    The Bering Glacier System is the world's largest surging temperate glacier with seven events occurring over the past century under a range of north Pacific climatic conditions. Onshore records reveal changes in glacial termini positions and evidence of late Holocene glacial advances, but the Little Ice Age (LIA) record of potential glacial surging and associated flooding has not been examined. A 13.6 m-long jumbo core collected on the adjacent continental shelf reveals a 600-yr-long record of sedimentation associated with changing glacifluvial discharge. The chronology is based on 210Pb geochronology and five radiocarbon dates, and the core can be separated into three distinct lithologic units based on the examination of X-radiographs and physical properties: (1) an uppermost unit dating from ∼125 cal yr BP to the present characterized by bioturbated mud interbedded with laminated, thick (5-20 cm) low-bulk density clay-rich beds; (2) a middle unit dating from ∼120-400 cal yr BP that includes numerous interlaminated-to-interbedded low- and high-bulk density beds with infrequent evidence of bioturbation; thick laminated clay-rich beds are rare; (3) a lowermost unit that predates ∼400 cal yr BP and is composed of rare laminated beds grading down into mottled to massive mud. In each of these units, the laminated lithofacies from this mid-shelf location indicates both flood deposition and likely sediment transport in the wave-current bottom-boundary layer. The thick low-density, clay-rich beds in the uppermost unit correlate with historic outburst floods associated with known surge events. Based on previous terrestrial studies, the terminus was at its Holocene Neoglacial maximum extent close to the modern coastline at some point in the middle to late stages of the LIA in southern Alaska (100-350 cal yr BP). During the LIA, preservation of bioturbated intervals is rare while laminated intervals are common. This style of interbedding indicates frequent (<10 yr

  3. Results of 1985 Bureau of Mines investigations in the Johns Hopkins Inlet-Margerie Glacier area, Glacier Bay, Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Kurtak, J.M.

    1985-01-01

    This report describes the mineral investigations of specific sites in the Johns Hopkins-Margerie Glacier area. Approximately 17 square miles were mapped, and over 99 rock and placer samples were collected in an effort to determine possible extensions of known mineralization. Several rock samples contained anomalous copper and gold values, and anomalous gold was detected in several placer samples. The area has been found to contain copper, zinc, molybdenum, and gold.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Using NASA Warm Ice Sounding Explorer (WISE) Data to Reexamine the Bed Morphology of Malaspina Glacier, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-12-01

    In 1988, a USGS ice-penetrating radar (IPR) survey of eastern Malaspina Glacier was conducted (Molnia and others, 1990) to determine the configuration of the glacier's bed and to measure ice thickness at more than 50 locations. The IPR survey results suggested that much of the glacier area investigated was underlain by fiord channels that extended as much as 50 km inland from the present Gulf of Alaska coastline. Maximum measured fiord channel bed depths exceeded 200 m below sea level, while the maximum ice thickness measured was more than 850 m. The IPR survey was conducted to test a hypothesis (Molnia and Jones, 1989) that unusual airborne radar backscatter features observed on a November 1986 X-band, high-resolution, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) image of the glacier's surface were expressions of the glacier's bed morphology, surface topography, surface wetness, ice structure, and ice flow characteristics. The most significant type of feature seen on the SAR image were several 10-25 km-long by 1.5-2.5-km-wide, north-south trending fiord-like glacial valleys, each with adjacent cirque-like amphitheaters. Field surveys in 1989 showed the valleys were topographic lows, while the cirque-like features were heavily crevassed topographic highs. Closely spaced IPR soundings showed that the ice associated with the valleys is substantially thicker than the ice over the adjacent cirques. In 2008 and again in 2012, NASA's airborne Warm Ice Sounding Explorer (WISE) was flown over Malaspina Glacier, producing more than 500 km of new soundings. Not only did this provide an opportunity to better map the glacier's bed, calculate ice thickness, and determine ice surface elevations, it also provided an opportunity to reexamine the Molnia and Jones hypothesis. Bed morphology profiles generated from the WISE data were co-registered to and compared with the 1986 X-band radar image. The results show a strong correlation between radar surface low backscatter surface channel features

  9. 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.

  10. Calving Theory and the Thinning, Retreat, and Disarticulation of Bear Glacier, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Molnia, B. F.

    2007-12-01

    Bear Glacier, with an area of ~225 km2, is a 25-km long valley glacier located in the southern Kenai Mountains. When first mapped in 1909, it had a piedmont lobe with an area of >30 km2. By the mid- 1980s, the terminus had retreated from 1-3 km, thinned by >150 m, and was actively calving small icebergs into an ice-marginal lake. Through the end of the 20th century, the piedmont lobe continued to thin and narrow. Active calving decreased and then ceased as the thickness of the thinning glacier approached Tnb, the thickness of neutral buoyancy (the floatation thickness). As thinning continued, much of the terminus began to float. Passive calving, characterized by the release of large tabular icebergs from Bear's low gradient, low elevation terminus, became the dominant retreat process. Between 2000 and 2007, part of the terminus retreated about 3.6 km. Now, 0.5 km-long icebergs frequently separate from Bear's western terminus. An August 2006 bathymetric survey identified many locations with depths >75 m in Bear Glacier's ice-marginal lake. Calving theory can be used to explain much of Bear's observed behavior. Current calving theory suggests that active calving is initiated when a glacier terminus thins to a critical thickness, (i.e. Tnb plus an additional but limited thickness of ice such as 50 m [Tnb+ 50 m]). The thinning of Bear Glacier during much of the 20th century resulted in it approaching this thickness. In a freshwater lake with a depth of ~75 m, active calving would be initiated when Tnb + 50 m was about 120 m, continuing as the glacier thinned to <100 m. With further thinning, Bear Glacier would transition to a regime dominated by passive calving (disarticulation). This condition was initiated sometime after the mid-1990s, when Bear Glacier became significantly thinner than Tnb. Glacier ice floats because its density is at least 8% less than that of freshwater or saltwater. As Bear Glacier thinned to Tnb (approximately 85 m), active calving decreased and

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. Carbon Fluxes Between the Atmosphere, Terrestrial, and River Systems Across a Glacier-Dominated Landscape in Southcentral Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zulueta, R. C.; Welker, J. M.; Tomco, P. L.

    2011-12-01

    The coastal Gulf of Alaska region is experiencing rapid and accelerating changes due to local and regional warming. Predicted high latitude warming may result in rapid recession of glaciers with subsequent changes in river discharge, nutrient fluxes into the rivers, shifts in landscape vegetation cover, and altered CO2 fluxes affecting the regional carbon balance. As glaciers recede an increase in glacier-dominated river discharge and a change in seasonality of the river discharge are expected. Recently deglaciated landscapes will, over time, be occupied by a succession of vegetation cover that are likely to alter the fluxes of carbon both between the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems, and between terrestrial ecosystems and stream and river systems. As the landscape evolves from deglaciated forelands it is expected that there is low to no CO2 fluxes between the atmosphere and the recently deglaciated landscape, as well as dissolved organic and inorganic carbon inputs into rivers and streams. These recently deglaciated landscapes will transition to early successional plant species and on towards mature spruce forests. Each transitional terrestrial ecosystem will have different carbon cycling between the atmosphere, terrestrial, and aquatic systems until the mature spruce forests which is expected to have high carbon uptake and sequestration as well as increased inputs of dissolved organic and inorganic carbon into the rivers and streams. A new research project was initiated in the summer of 2011 focusing on glacier-dominated landscapes within the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in southcentral Alaska with the objective to quantify how the transition from deglaciated forelands to mature spruce forests (a successional sequence) alters the patterns and magnitudes of CO2 exchange, the dissolved carbon inputs from terrestrial to aquatic systems and the extent to which these are manifested due to changes in glacier coverage. We seek to examine present

  14. 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. Rémy, 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.

  15. 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

  16. Multi-decadal elevation changes on Bagley Ice Valley and Malaspina Glacier, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Muskett, Reginald R.; Lingle, Craig S.; Tangborn, Wendell V.; Rabus, Bernhard T.

    2003-08-01

    Digital elevation models (DEMs) of Bagley Ice Valley and Malaspina Glacier produced by (i) Intermap Technologies, Inc. (ITI) from airborne interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) data acquired 4-13 September 2000, (ii) the German Aerospace Center (DRL) from spaceborne InSAR data acquired by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) 11-22 February 2000, and (iii) the US Geological Survey (USGS) from aerial photographs acquired in 1972/73, were differenced to estimate glacier surface elevation changes from 1972 to 2000. Spatially non-uniform thickening, 10 +/- 7 m on average, is observed on Bagley Ice Valley (accumulation area) while non-uniform thinning, 47 +/- 5 m on average, is observed on the glaciers of the Malaspina complex (mostly ablation area). Even larger thinning is observed on the retreating tidewater Tyndall Glacier. These changes have resulted from increased temperature and precipitation associated with climate warming, and rapid tidewater retreat.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. Automated Lagrangian Water-Quality Assessment System (ALWAS) Measurements of North Slope Lakes and the Bering Glacier, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shuchman, R.; Meadows, G.; Liversedge, L.; Hatt, C.; Vansumeren, H.; Payne, J.

    2007-12-01

    ALWAS is an inexpensive, free-floating, sail-powered or jet-driven water quality measuring and watershed evaluation buoy. It is capable of measuring data points with multiple parameters (depth, temperature, conductivity, salinity, total dissolved solids, dissolved oxygen, pH, oxidation reduction potential, turbidity, chlorophyll-a, blue-green algae, nitrate, ammonium, chloride, latitude/longitude, date, time, speed, and barometric pressure) as rapidly as every 40 seconds. Data is transmitted for real-time viewing and is stored for future retrieval and analysis. The collected data are easily downloaded into geographic databases (ESRI shapefile) and spreadsheet formats. ALWAS uses state-of-the-art sensors to measure water quality parameters and GPS data. Field demonstrations of the ALWAS technology from the Bering Glacier and the North Slope of Alaska will be presented. The ALWAS buoy will also be described as well as ALWAS data sharing, web-based mapping, and decision support tools.

  1. 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.

  2. Mountain permafrost, glacier thinning, and slope stability - a perspective from British Columbia (and Alaska)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Geertsema, Marten

    2016-04-01

    The association of landslides with thinning glaciers and mapped, or measured, mountain permafrost is increasing. Glacier thinning debuttresses slopes and promotes joint expansion. It is relatively easy to map. Permafrost, a thermal condition, is generally not visually detectible, and is difficult to map. Much mountain permafrost may have been overlooked in hazard analysis. Identifying, and characterizing mountain permafrost, and its influence on slope instability is crucial for hazard and risk analysis in mountainous terrain. Rock falls in mountains can be the initial event in process chains. They can transform into rock avalanches, debris flows or dam burst floods, travelling many kilometres, placing infrastructure and settlements at risk.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. Seismic stratigraphy of the Bering Trough, Gulf of Alaska: Late Quaternary history of Bering Glacier dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Montelli, A.; Gulick, S. P. S.; Worthington, L. L.; Mix, A. C.; Zellers, S.; Jaeger, J. M.

    2014-12-01

    Sedimentary architecture of the cross-shelf Bering Trough is studied using 5 high resolution seismic profiles integrated with the drilling data acquired during Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 341. The objectives of this work are to constrain the number of advance-retreat cycles that have occurred through the Late Quaternary, examine the impact of the Bering Glacier on the continental shelf and slope, and reconstruct Bering Glacier dynamics. By tying these sequences with δ18O stratigraphy, we can test the Bering Glacier's relation to global ice sheet evolution and better understand the degree to which the glacial advance-retreat cycles were in phase with global events. Our results show that: (1) Identification of erosional surfaces and glacigenic landforms that record positions of stillstand events and diagnose the style of retreat allow us to distinguish nine phases of glacial advances and subsequent retreats. (2) Mapping shows that glacier pathways and flow directions through time are influenced by the occurrence of thick grounding-zone deposits and shifting foci of erosion. (3) Continuous buildup of glacigenic sediment fills tectonically created accommodation space and allows the glacier to advance seaward for the last three advances. Discovery of systematic, prominent deposition of glacial diamict and ice-rafted debris (IRD) during phases of glacial retreat is supported by the drilling data and suggests reconsideration of IRD impact on slope sedimentation. (4) The trough mouth fan started its development during marine isotope stage (MIS) 6, progressively advancing to the position of present shelf edge during the subsequent MIS 4 and MIS 2 and is recognized by evidence of extensive deposition of glacigenic debris flows on the slope. (5) Sedimentation rates in the depocenter are exceptionally high and are estimated to be 1-2 m/k.y. through the middle Pleistocene on the shelf and 4-5 m/k.y. average through MIS 6 on the slope.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. Application of photogrammetry to the study of volcano-glacier interactions on Mount Wrangell, Alaska

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Benson, C. S.; Follett, A. B.

    1986-01-01

    Most Alaskan volcanoes are glacier covered and provide excellent opportunities to study interactions between glaciers and volcanoes. The present paper is concerned with such a study, taking into account the Mt. Wrangell (4317 m) which is the northernmost active volcano (solfatara activity) on the Pacific Rim (62 deg N; 144 deg W). While the first photographs on the summit of Mt. Wrangell were published more than 75 years ago, research there began in 1953 and 1954. Satellite images reveal activity at the summit of Mt. Wrangell. However, the resolution is not sufficient for conducting important measurements regarding ice volume losses. For this reason, vertical aerial photographs of the summit were obtained, and a field trip to the summit was conducted. Aspects of photogrammetry are discussed, taking into account questions of ground control, aerial photography, topographic mapping, digital cross sections, and orthophotos.

  9. 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

  10. Seasonal evolution of glacier velocity and portraits of basal motion across southeast Alaska via cross-correlation of optical satellite imagery

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Armstrong, W. H., Jr.; Anderson, R. S.; Moon, T. A.; Fahnestock, M. A.

    2015-12-01

    We investigate how glacier geometry and geographic setting govern a glacier's response to meltwater and precipitation inputs. Does the up-glacier limit of enhanced summer basal motion vary across glaciers? Do non-surge glaciers show consistent spatial patterns of basal motion from year to year? We investigate such questions by documenting the seasonal-to-annual evolution of surface velocity for over 25 surge- and non-surge type glaciers in the Wrangell-St Elias ranges of southeast Alaska, USA, during 2013-2015. We use the Python-implemented PYCORR image cross-correlation software to estimate ice surface velocity fields over ~35,000 km2 covered by four Landsat-8 (L8) scenes. PYCORR is an optimized version of IMCORR, and takes less than 5 minutes to process a full L8 scene. This computational efficiency allows us to calculate dozens of velocity fields for each scene to provide high temporal resolution. We automate the extraction of velocity profiles along longitudinal glacier profiles to document their temporal evolution over timespans ranging from 16 days to greater than one year at spatial resolution of several tens to several hundred meters. This method provides much greater spatial coverage than GPS-derived velocities, and succeeds in terrain of rough surface texture and significant temporal elevation change, both of which present substantial challenges for deriving InSAR velocities. Preliminary data on Kennicott Glacier (Figure 1) resolve the annual velocity cycle in which speeds are lowest over winter and highest in summer reflecting meltwater-induced basal motion. We find notable seasonal velocity fluctuations at distances of more than 30 km from the glacier terminus. While longitudinal stress gradient coupling may explain a portion of these velocity variations, local basal motion must contribute, as the relatively thin (~500 m) ice cannot transmit longitudinal stresses over such distances. Regions downstream of tributary junctions show consistently

  11. Serologic surveillance of pathogens in a declining harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) population in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska, USA and a reference site.

    PubMed

    Hueffer, Karsten; Holcomb, Darce; Ballweber, Lora R; Gende, Scott M; Blundell, Gail; O'Hara, Todd M

    2011-10-01

    The harbor seal population in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska, has declined by over 70% since 1992. The reasons for this decline are not known. We examined serum antibodies and feces for evidence of exposure to multiple pathogens in this population. We also studied harbor seals from a reference site on Kodiak Island. In 2007, we found antibodies against Leptospira spp. in 31% of specimens from harbor seals in Glacier Bay, but no detectable serum antibodies in samples from Kodiak. In 2008, no samples had detectable antibodies against Leptospira spp. No serum antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii, morbilliviruses, or presence of Cryptosporidium in fecal samples were detected. However, Giardia was found in 6% of the fecal samples from Glacier Bay. Our results indicate that the harbor seal population in Glacier Bay National Park could be immunologically naïve to distemper viruses and therefore vulnerable to these pathogens. Given the relatively low prevalence of antibodies and low titers, pathogens likely are not the reason for the harbor seal decline in Glacier Bay. PMID:22102671

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Initial AUV Investigation of the Dynamic Morainal Bank Environment of the Advancing Hubbard Glacier, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lawson, D. E.; Gulick, S. P. S.; Goff, J. A.

    2015-12-01

    Hubbard Glacier has been steadily advancing into tidewater > 200 years; advance over last 40 years has averaged ~34 m/yr, although at spatially variable rates across the terminus (14-80 m/yr) and with a seasonal advance and retreat cycle of ~100 m to 300 m, but as much as 600 m. The advance of the terminus is synchronous with the movement of the morainal bank that underlies it. The mechanics of this motion and the related sedimentological processes responsible for this coordinated advance of the grounding line are based largely on inferences from geophysical surveys of remnant morainal banks. In situ and repeated observations of the submarine margin are required to improve our understanding of how the terminus advances into deep fjords. We conducted initial submarine observations using a Bluefin 9M AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) and acquired high-resolution swath bathymetry and sidescan backscatter along a ~2 km long section of the ice face of the glacier. Onboard oceanographic measurements and surface CTD casts were obtained during AUV deployment. Decimeter-scale imagery of the seabed reveals numerous erosional and depositional bedforms and gravitational features next to the ice face and down the morainal bank's proximal slope. The moraine surface adjacent to the ice face is coarse, apparently swept clear of finer materials, exhibits gravel stripes and boulder lags. The slope into the fjord displays a sequence of bedforms from barchan-shaped dunes up to 15 m on a side to barchanoid transverse ridges >50 m long to transverse ridges >100 m long. This transition implies increased sand supply to the bed downslope. Channels, erosional gullies and scours cross the upper slope, while localized slump and flow failures occur sporadically across the face. We speculate that high concentration bottom flows originating from turbulent subglacial discharge are likely processes creating the barchan forms and that the flow velocity reduces with distance from the grounding

  17. 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.

  18. 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…

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. Recent Elevation Changes on Bagley Ice Valley, Guyot and Yahtse Glaciers, Alaska, from ICESat Altimetry, Star-3i Airborne, and SRTM Spaceborne DEMs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Muskett, R. R.; Sauber, J. M.; Lingle, C. S.; Rabus, B. T.; Tangborn, W. V.; Echelmeyer, K. A.

    2005-12-01

    Three- to 5-year surface elevation changes on Bagley Ice Valley, Guyot and Yahtse Glaciers, in the eastern Chugach and St. Elias Mtns of south-central Alaska, are estimated using ICESat-derived data and digital elevation models (DEMs) derived from interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) data. The surface elevations of these glaciers are influenced by climatic warming superimposed on surge dynamics (in the case of Bagley Ice Valley) and tidewater glacier dynamics (in the cases of Guyot and Yahtse Glaciers) in this coastal high-precipitation regime. Bagley Ice Valley / Bering Glacier last surged in 1993-95. Guyot and Yahtse Glaciers, as well as the nearby Tyndell Glacier, have experienced massive tidewater retreat during the past century, as well as during recent decades. The ICESat-derived elevation data we employ were acquired in early autumn in both 2003 and 2004. The NASA/NIMA Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) DEM that we employ was derived from X-band InSAR data acquired during this 11-22 Feb. 2000 mission and processed by the German Aerospace Center. This DEM was corrected for estimated systematic error, and a mass balance model was employed to account for seasonal snow accumulation. The Star-3i airborne, X-band, InSAR-derived DEM that we employ was acquired 4-13 Sept. 2000 by Intermap Technologies, Inc., and was also processed by them. The ICESat-derived profiles crossing Bagley Ice Valley, differenced with Star-3i DEM elevations, indicate preliminary mean along-profile elevation increases of 5.6 ± 3.4 m at 1315 m altitude, 7.4 ± 2.7 m at 1448 m altitude, 4.7 ± 1.9 m at 1557 m altitude, 1.3 ± 1.4 m at 1774 m altitude, and 2.5 ± 1.5 m at 1781 m altitude. This is qualitatively consistent with the rising surface on Bagley Ice Valley observed by Muskett et al. [2003]. The ICESat-derived profiles crossing Yahtse Glacier, differenced with the SRTM DEM elevations, indicate preliminary mean elevation changes (negative implies decrease) of -0.9 ± 3

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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…

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Mass balance, meteorological, ice motion, surface altitude, runoff, and ice thickness data at Gulkana Glacier, Alaska, 1995 balance year

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    March, Rod S.

    2000-01-01

    The 1995 measured winter snow, maximum winter snow, net, and annual balances in the Gulkana Glacier basin were evaluated on the basis of meteorological, hydrological, and glaciological data obtained in the basin. Averaged over the glacier, the measured winter snow balance was 0.94 meter on April 19, 1995, 0.6 standard deviation below the long-term average; the maximum winter snow balance, 0.94 meter, was reached on April 25, 1995; the net balance (from September 18, 1994 to August 29, 1995) was -0.70 meter, 0.76 standard deviation below the long-term average. The annual balance (October 1, 1994, to September 30, 1995) was -0.86 meter. Ice-surface motion and altitude changes measured at three index sites document seasonal ice speed and glacier-thickness changes. Annual stream runoff was 2.05 meters averaged over the basin, approximately equal to the long-term average. The 1976 ice-thickness data are reported from a single site near the highest measurement site (180 meters thick) and from two glacier cross profiles near the mid-glacier (270 meters thick on centerline) and low glacier (150 meters thick on centerline) measurement sites. A new area-altitude distribution determined from 1993 photogrammetry is reported. Area-averaged balances are reported from both the 1967 and 1993 area-altitude distribution so the reader may directly see the effect of the update. Briefly, loss of ablation area between 1967 and 1993 results in a larger weighting being applied to data from the upper glacier site and hence, increases calculated area-averaged balances. The balance increase is of the order of 15 percent for net balance.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Mass balance, meteorological, ice motion, surface altitude, and runoff data at Gulkana Glacier, Alaska, 1994 balance year

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    March, Rod S.

    1998-01-01

    The 1994 measured winter snow, maximum winter snow, net, and annual balances in the Gulkana Glacier basin were evaluated on the basis of meteorological, hydrological, and glaciological data obtained in the basin. Averaged over the glacier, the measured winter snow balance was 1.34 meters on April 29, 1994, 0.9 standard deviation above the long-term average; the maximum winter snow balance, 1.43 meters, was reached on April 18, 1994; the net balance (from September 8, 1993 to September 17, 1994) was -0.72 meter, 0.7 standard deviation below the long-term average. The annual balance (October 1, 1992, to September 30, 1993) was -0.88 meter. Ice-surface motion and altitude changes measured at three index sites document seasonal ice speed and glacier-thickness changes. Annual stream runoff was 1.93 meters averaged over the basin, approximately equal to the long-term average.

  15. Mass balance, meteorological, ice motion, surface altitude, and runoff data at Gulkana Glacier, Alaska, 1992 balance year

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    March, R.S.; Trabant, D.C.

    1996-01-01

    The 1992 measured winter snow, maximum winter snow, net, and annual balances in the Gulkana Glacier basin were evaluated on the basis of meteorological, hydrological, and glaciological data measured in the basin and are reported herein. Averaged over the glacier, the measured winter snow balance was 0.97 meters on March 26, 1992; the maximum winter snow balance was 1.05 meters on May 19, 1992; the net balance (from September 8, 1991 to August 17, 1992) was -0.29 meters; and the annual balance (October 1, 1991 to September 30, 1992) was -0.38 meters. Ice surface, motion, and altitude changes measured at three index sites document seasonal changes in ice speed and glacier thickness. Annual stream runoff was 1.24 meters averaged over the basin.

  16. Alaska

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    In this spectacular MODIS image from November 7, 2001, the skies are clear over Alaska, revealing winter's advance. Perhaps the most interesting feature of the image is in its center; in blue against the rugged white backdrop of the Alaska Range, Denali, or Mt. McKinley, casts its massive shadow in the fading daylight. At 20,322 ft (6,194m), Denali is the highest point in North America. South of Denali, Cook Inlet appears flooded with sediment, turning the waters a muddy brown. To the east, where the Chugach Mountains meet the Gulf of Alaska, and to the west, across the Aleutian Range of the Alaska Peninsula, the bright blue and green swirls indicate populations of microscopic marine plants called phytoplankton. Image courtesy Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC

  17. Alaska

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    In this spectacular MODIS image from November 7, 2001, the skies are clear over Alaska, revealing winter's advance. Perhaps the most interesting feature of the image is in its center; in blue against the rugged white backdrop of the Alaska Range, Denali, or Mt. McKinley, casts its massive shadow in the fading daylight. At 20,322 ft (6,194m), Denali is the highest point in North America. South of Denali, Cook Inlet appears flooded with sediment, turning the waters a muddy brown. To the east, where the Chugach Mountains meet the Gulf of Alaska, and to the west, across the Aleutian Range of the Alaska Peninsula, the bright blue and green swirls indicate populations of microscopic marine plants called phytoplankton.

  18. 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.

  19. Flow velocities of Alaskan glaciers.

    PubMed

    Burgess, Evan W; Forster, Richard R; Larsen, Christopher F

    2013-01-01

    Our poor understanding of tidewater glacier dynamics remains the primary source of uncertainty in sea level rise projections. On the ice sheets, mass lost from tidewater calving exceeds the amount lost from surface melting. In Alaska, the magnitude of calving mass loss remains unconstrained, yet immense calving losses have been observed. With 20% of the global new-water sea level rise coming from Alaska, partitioning of mass loss sources in Alaska is needed to improve sea level rise projections. Here we present the first regionally comprehensive map of glacier flow velocities in Central Alaska. These data reveal that the majority of the regional downstream flux is constrained to only a few coastal glaciers. We find regional calving losses are 17.1 Gt a(-1), which is equivalent to 36% of the total annual mass change throughout Central Alaska. PMID:23857302

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. Mass balance, meteorological, ice motion, surface altitude, and runoff data at Gulkana Glacier, Alaska, 1993 balance year

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    March, Rod; Trabant, Dennis

    1997-01-01

    The 1993 measured winter snow, maximum winter snow, net, and annual balances in the Gulkana Glacier basin were evaluated on the basis of meteorological, hydrological, and glaciological data measured in the basin and are reported herein. Averaged over the glacier, the measured winter snow balance was 0.81 meter on March 31, 1993, 1.2 standard deviations below the long-term average; the maximum winter snow balance, 0.84 meter, was reached on May 10, 1993 and remained until May 11, 1993; the net balance (from August 18, 1992 to September 8, 1993) was 1.80 meters, the most negative balance year on record at 2.8 standard deviations below the long-term average. The annual balance (October 1, 1992 to September 30, 1993) was 1.64 meters. Ice-surface motion and altitude changes measured at three index sites document seasonal ice speed and glacier thickness changes. Annual stream runoff was 1.996 meters averaged over the basin, 0.2 standard deviations above the long-term average.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. Seasonal variability in hydrologic-system response to intense rain events, Matanuska Glacier, Alaska, U.S.A.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Denner, J.C.; Lawson, D.E.; Larson, G.J.; Evenson, E.B.; Alley, R.B.; Strasser, J.C.; Kopczynski, S.

    1999-01-01

    Two rain events at Matanuska Glacier illustrate how subglacial drainage system development and snowpack conditions affect hydrologic response at the terminus. On 21 and 22 September 1995, over 56 mm of rain fell in the basin during a period usually characterized by much drier conditions. This event caused an 8-fold increase in discharge and a 47-fold increase in suspended-sediment concentration. Peak suspended-sediment concentration exceeded 20 kg m-3, suggesting rapid evacuation of stored sediment. While water discharge returned to its pre-storm level nine days after the rain ceased, suspended-sediment concentrations took about 20 days to return to pre-storm levels. These observations suggest that the storm influx late in the melt season probably forced subglacial water into a more distributed system. In addition, subglacially transported sediments were supplemented to an unknown degree by the influx of storm-eroded sediments off hillslopes and from tributary drainage basins. A storm on 6 and 7 June 1997, dropped 28 mm of rain on the basin demonstrating the effects of meltwater retention in the snowpack and englacial and subglacial storage early in the melt season. Streamflow before the storm event was increasing gradually owing to warming temperatures; however, discharge during the storm and the following week increased only slightly. Suspended-sediment concentrations increased only a small amount, suggesting the drainage system was not yet well developed, and much of the runoff occurred across the relatively clean surface of the glacier or through englacial channels.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Kinematics of post-orogenic extension and exhumation of the Taku Schist, NE Peninsular Malaysia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Md Ali, M. A.; Willingshofer, E.; Matenco, L.; Francois, T.; Daanen, T. P.; Ng, T. F.; Taib, N. I.; Shuib, M. K.

    2016-09-01

    Recent studies imply that the formation and evolution of many SE Asian basins was driven by extensional detachments or systems of low-angle normal faults that created significant crustal exhumation in their footwalls. In this context, the architecture of the Triassic Indosinian orogen presently exposed in Peninsular Malaysia is compatible with significant extension post-dating the orogenic event. In this study we performed a kinematic analysis based on fieldwork and microstructural observations in the Taku Schist, Kemahang granite and the surrounding Gua Musang sediments of northern Peninsular Malaysia in order to shed light on processes related to the build-up and subsequent demise of the Indosinian orogen. The first three phases of deformation were related to an overall period of E-W oriented contraction and burial metamorphism. These phases of deformation are characterized by isoclinal folding with flat lying axial plane cleavages (D1), asymmetrical folding, top-to-the-W-SW shearing (D2) and upright folding (D3). All are in general agreement with observations of the previously inferred Permo-Triassic Indosinian orogeny. During these times, the Taku Schist, a sequence of Paleozoic clastic sediments with mafic intercalations was metamorphosed to amphibolite facies. These rocks are most likely equivalent to the ones exposed in the Bentong-Raub suture zone. Structural relations suggest that the Triassic Kemahang pluton is syn-kinematic, which provides important constraints for the timing of these contractional events. We demonstrate that the overall shortening was followed by a hitherto undescribed extension in NW-SE direction resulting in the formation of a large-scale detachment, the Taku detachment, in northern Peninsular Malaysia. Extension probably reactivated the former subduction plane as a detachment and exhumed previously buried and metamorphosed rocks of similar lithological composition to the neighboring Bentong-Raub suture zone. Such a mechanism is

  12. 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

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

    PubMed Central

    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

  14. 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 (201.6–145.5 Ma) diorite and gabbro of the Lituya belt; (2) Late Jurassic (161.0–145.5 Ma) leucotonalite in Johns Hopkins Inlet; (3) Early Cretaceous (145.5–99.6 Ma) granodiorite and tonalite of the Muir-Chichagof belt; (4) Paleocene tonalite in Johns Hopkins Inlet (65.5–55.8 Ma); (5) Eocene granodiorite of the Sanak-Baranof belt; (6) Eocene and Oligocene (55.8–23.0 Ma) granodiorite, quartz diorite, and granite of the Muir-Fairweather felsic-intermediate belt; (7) Eocene and Oligocene (55.8–23.0 Ma) layered gabbros of the Crillon-La Perouse mafic belt; and (8) Oligocene (33.9–23.0 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Ocean forcing drives glacier retreat sometimes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bassis, J. N.; Ultee, E.; Ma, Y.

    2015-12-01

    Observations show that marine-terminating glaciers respond to climate forcing nonlinearly, with periods of slow or negligible glacier advance punctuated by abrupt, rapid retreat. Once glacier retreat has initiated, glaciers can quickly stabilize with a new terminus position. Alternatively, retreat can be sustained for decades (or longer), as is the case for Columbia Glacier, Alaska where retreat initiated ~1984 and continues to this day. Surprisingly, patterns of glacier retreat show ambiguous or even contradictory correlations with atmospheric temperature and glacier surface mass balance. Despite these puzzles, observations increasingly show that intrusion of warm subsurface ocean water into fjords can lead to glacier erosion rates that can account for a substantial portion of the total mass lost from glaciers. Here we use a simplified flowline model to show that even relatively modest submarine melt rates (~100 m/a) near the terminus of grounded glaciers can trigger large increases in iceberg calving leading to rapid glacier retreat. However, the strength of the coupling between submarine melt and calving is a strong function of the geometry of the glacier (bed topography, ice thickness and glacier width). This can lead to irreversible retreat when the terminus is thick and grounded deeply beneath sea level or result in little change when the glacier is relatively thin, grounded in shallow water or pinned in a narrow fjord. Because of the strong dependence on glacier geometry, small perturbations in submarine melting can trigger glaciers in their most advanced—and geometrically precarious—state to undergo sudden retreat followed by much slower re-advance. Although many details remain speculative, our model hints that some glaciers are more sensitive than others to ocean forcing and that some of the nonlinearities of glacier response to climate change may be attributable to variations in difficult-to-detect subsurface water temperatures that need to be better

  18. Jakobshavn Glacier

    Atmospheric Science Data Center

    2013-04-17

    ... Icebergs released from the glacier drift slowly with the ocean currents and pose hazards for shipping along the coast. The Multi-angle Imaging ... Glacier location:  Greenland Arctic Ocean thumbnail:  ...

  19. 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.

  20. Holocene coastal glaciation of Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Calkin, Parker E.; Wiles, Gregory C.; Barclay, David J.

    2001-01-01

    Holocene fluctuations of the three cirque glaciers on the Seward Peninsula and five groups of tidewater- and land-terminating glaciers along the northernmost Gulf of Alaska, provide a proxy record of late Holocene climatic change. Furthermore, the movements of the coastal glaciers were relevant to late Holocene native American migration. The earliest expansion was recorded about 6850 yr BP by Hubbard Glacier at the head of Yakutat Bay in the Gulf of Alaska; however, its down-fjord advance to the bay mouth was delayed until ˜2700 BP. Similarly, expansions of the Icy Bay, Bering, and McCarty glaciers occurred near their present termini by ˜3600-3000 BP, compatible with marked cooling and precipitation increases suggested by the Alaskan pollen record. Decrease in glacier activity ˜2000 BP was succeeded by advances of Gulf coastal glaciers between 1500 and 1300 BP, correlative with early Medieval expansions across the Northern Hemisphere. A Medieval Optimum, encompassing at least a few centuries prior to AD 1200 is recognized by general retreat of land-terminating glaciers, but not of all tidewater glaciers. Little Ice Age advances of land-based glaciers, many dated with the precision of tree-ring cross-dating, were centered on the middle 13th or early 15th centuries, the middle 17th and the last half of the 19th century A.D. Strong synchrony of these events across coastal Alaska is evident.

  1. 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

  2. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Berthier, E.; Schiefer, E.; Clarke, G. K.; Menounos, B.; Rémy, 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)

  4. 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.

  5. Columbia Glacier in 1984: disintegration underway

    SciTech Connect

    Meier, M.F.; Rasmussen, L.A.; Miller, D.S.

    1985-01-01

    Columbia Glacier is a large, iceberg-calving glacier near Valdez, Alaska. The terminus of this glacier was relatively stable from the time of the first scientific studies in 1899 until 1978. During this period the glacier terminated partly on Heather Island and partly on a submerged moraine shoal. In December, 1978, the glacier terminus retreated from Heather Island, and retreat has accelerated each year since then, except during a period of anomalously low calving in 1980. Although the glacier has not terminated on Heather Island since 1978, a portion of the terminus remained on the crest of the moraine shoal until the fall of 1983. By December 8, 1983, that feature had receded more than 300 m from the crest of the shoal, and by December 14, 1984, had disappeared completely, leaving most of the terminus more than 2000 meters behind the crest of the shoal. Recession of the glacier from the shoal has placed the terminus in deeper water, although the glacier does not float. The active calving face of the glacier now terminates in seawater that is about 300 meters deep at the glacier centerline. Rapid calving appears to be associated with buoyancy effects due to deep water at the terminus and subglacial runoff. 12 refs., 10 figs.

  6. 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.

  7. The role of thrust faulting in the formation of the eastern Alaska Range: Thermochronological constraints from the Susitna Glacier Thrust Fault region of the intracontinental strike-slip Denali Fault system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Riccio, Steven J.; Fitzgerald, Paul G.; Benowitz, Jeff A.; Roeske, Sarah M.

    2014-11-01

    Horizontal-slip along restraining bends of strike-slip faults is often partitioned into a vertical component via splay faults. The active Susitna Glacier Thrust Fault (SGTF), as shown by its initiation of the 2002 M7.9 Denali Fault earthquake, lies south of, and intersects the dextral strike-slip Denali Fault. Geochronology and thermochronology data from samples across the SGTF constrain the region's tectonic history and the role of thrusting in the formation of the eastern Alaska Range south of the Denali fault. U-Pb zircon ages indicate intrusion of plutons in the footwall (~57 Ma) and hanging wall (~98 Ma). These U-Pb zircon ages correlate to those from the Ruby Batholith/Kluane Terrane ~400 km east along the Denali Fault, supporting geologic correlations and hence constraints on long-term slip rates. 40Ar/39Ar mica and K-feldspar data from footwall and hanging wall samples (~54 to ~46 Ma) reflect cooling following magmatism and/or regional Eocene metamorphism related to ridge subduction. Combined with apatite fission track data (ages 43-28 Ma) and thermal models, both sides of the SGTF acted as a coherent block during the Eocene and early Oligocene. Contrasting apatite (U-Th)/He ages across the Susitna Glacier (~25 Ma footwall, ~15 Ma hanging wall) suggest initiation of faulting during the middle Miocene. Episodic cooling and exhumation is related to thrusting on known or hypothesized faults that progressively activate due to varying partition of strain along the Denali Fault associated with changing kinematics and plate interaction (Yakutat microplate collision, flat-slab subduction and relative plate motion change) at the southern Alaskan plate margin.

  8. Implications of Glacier Volume Change for Ice-Ocean Interactions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hood, E. W.; O'Neel, S.; Fellman, J.; Bidlack, A.; Arendt, A. A.; Arimitsu, M.; Spencer, R. G.

    2015-12-01

    Changes in climate are forcing complex glaciological responses that can be transmitted to downstream ecosystems via glacier runoff. Along the Gulf of Alaska, rates of glacier mass loss are among the highest measured on Earth. Changes in glacier volume in this region are altering the amount of glacier runoff delivered to the coastal ocean. Moreover, shifts in glacier extent are changing the location of the ice-ocean interface and, in cases where tidewater glaciers become grounded, fundamentally altering circulation in glacierized fjords. The runoff from glacier ecosystems is unique in terms of its physical and chemical properties when compared to runoff from non-glacial ecosystems. For example, the silt and chemical constituents in glacier discharge alter light penetration and the nutrient regime in near-shore marine ecosystems, which, in turn, influence levels of marine primary productivity. Future changes in the magnitude, timing, and location of glacier runoff have important implications for biogeochemical and ecological processes in glacially-dominated fjords and estuaries. This talk will highlight research from glacierized watersheds and fjords to synthesize what is known about the physical, chemical, and biological linkages that characterize icefield-ocean ecosystems along the Gulf of Alaska.

  9. 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...

  10. 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...

  11. 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...

  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 13.1116 - 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...

  14. 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...

  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 13.1150 - 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...

  17. 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...

  18. 36 CFR 13.1116 - Do I need a camping permit in Glacier Bay?

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-07-01

    ... 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...

  19. 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)

  20. Seasonal variability of organic matter composition in an Alaskan glacier outflow: insights into glacier carbon sources

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Spencer, Robert G. M.; Vermilyea, Andrew; Fellman, Jason; Raymond, Peter; Stubbins, Aron; Scott, Durelle; Hood, Eran

    2014-05-01

    Glacier ecosystems are a significant source of bioavailable, yet ancient dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Characterizing DOC in Mendenhall Glacier outflow (southeast Alaska) we document a seasonal persistence to the radiocarbon-depleted signature of DOC, highlighting ancient DOC as a ubiquitous feature of glacier outflow. We observed no systematic depletion in Δ 14C-DOC with increasing discharge during the melt season that would suggest mobilization of an aged subglacial carbon store. However, DOC concentration, δ 13C-DOC, Δ 14C-DOC and fluorescence signatures appear to have been influenced by runoff from vegetated hillslopes above the glacier during onset and senescence of melt. In the peak glacier melt period, the Δ 14C-DOC of stream samples at the outflow (-181.7 to -355.3‰) was comparable to the Δ 14C-DOC for snow samples from the accumulation zone (-207.2 to -390.9‰), suggesting that ancient DOC from the glacier surface is exported in glacier runoff. The pre-aged DOC in glacier snow and runoff is consistent with contributions from fossil fuel combustion sources similar to those documented previously in ice cores and thus provides evidence for anthropogenic perturbation of the carbon cycle. Overall, our results emphasize the need to further characterize DOC inputs to glacier ecosystems, particularly in light of predicted changes in glacier mass and runoff in the coming century.

  1. Antarctic Peninsula Tidewater Glacier Dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pettit, E. C.; Scambos, T. A.; Haran, T. M.; Wellner, J. S.; Domack, E. W.; Vernet, M.

    2015-12-01

    The northern Antarctic Peninsula (nAP, north of 66°S) is a north-south trending mountain range extending transverse across the prevailing westerly winds of the Southern Ocean resulting in an extreme west-to-east precipitation gradient. Snowfall on the west side of the AP is one to two orders of magnitude higher than the east side. This gradient drives short, steep, fast-flowing glaciers into narrow fjords on the west side, while longer lower-sloping glaciers flow down the east side into broader fjord valleys. This pattern in ice dynamics affects ice-ocean interaction on timescales of decades to centuries, and shapes the subglacial topography and submarine bathymetry on timescales of glacial cycles. In our study, we calculate ice flux for the western and eastern nAP using a drainage model that incorporates the modern ice surface topography, the RACMO-2 precipitation estimate, and recent estimates of ice thinning. Our results, coupled with observed rates of ice velocity from InSAR (I. Joughin, personal communication) and Landsat 8 -derived flow rates (this study), provide an estimate of ice thickness and fjord depth in grounded-ice areas for the largest outlet glaciers. East-side glaciers either still terminate in or have recently terminated in ice shelves. Sedimentary evidence from the inner fjords of the western glaciers indicates they had ice shelves during LIA time, and may still have transient floating ice tongues (tabular berg calvings are observed). Although direct oceanographic evidence is limited, the high accumulation rate and rapid ice flux implies cold basal ice for the western nAP glaciers and therefore weak subglacial discharge relative to eastern nAP glaciers and or other tidewater fjord systems such as in Alaska. Finally, despite lower accumulation rates on the east side, the large elongate drainage basins result in a greater ice flux funneled through fewer deeper glaciers. Due to the relation between ice flux and erosion, these east-side glaciers

  2. 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

  3. 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…

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Operation IceBridge Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Larsen, C.

    2015-12-01

    The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) has flown LiDAR missions for Operation IceBridge in Alaska each year since 2009, expanding upon UAF's airborne laser altimetry program which started in 1994. These observations show that Alaska's regional mass balance is -75+11/-16 Gt yr-1 (1994-2013) (Larsen et al., 2015). A surprising result is that the rate of surface mass loss observed on non-tidewater glaciers in Alaska is extremely high. At these rates, Alaska contributes ~1 mm to global sea level rise every 5 years. Given the present lack of adequate satellite resources, Operation IceBridge airborne surveys by UAF are the most effective and efficient method to monitor this region's impact on global sea level rise. Ice depth measurements using radar sounding have been part of these airborne surveys since 2012. Many of Alaska's tidewater glaciers are bedded significantly below sea level. The depth and extent of glacier beds below sea level are critical factors in the dynamics of tidewater retreat. Improved radar processing tools are being used to predict clutter using forward simulation. This is essential to properly sort out true bed returns, which are often masked or obscured by valley wall returns. This presentation will provide an overview of the program, highlighting recent findings and observations from the most recent campaigns, and focusing on techniques used for the extrapolation of surface elevation changes to regional mass balances.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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)

  10. 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.

  11. South Cascade Glacier bibliography

    SciTech Connect

    Fountain, A.G.; Fulk, M.A.

    1984-01-01

    South Cascade Glacier, in Washington State, resides in a well-defined basin with mainly unglacierized divides making it ideal for most glaciological and hydrological studies. This bibliography is divided into three cateogories: (1) studies done about South Cascade Glacier specifically; (2) studies that use data from South Cascade Glacier but do not focus on or give insight to the glacier itself; and (3) instrumentation studies and non-glacier projects including snow studies done in the basin. (ACR)

  12. 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 world’s 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.

  13. Differences in dissolved organic matter lability between alpine glaciers and alpine rock glaciers of the American West

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hall, E.; Fegel, T. S., II; Baron, J.; Boot, C. M.

    2015-12-01

    While alpine glaciers in montane regions represent the largest flux of dissolved organic matter (DOM) from global ice melt no research has examined the bioavailability of DOM melted out of glacial ice in the western continental United States. Furthermore, rock glaciers are an order of magnitude more abundant than ice glaciers in U.S., yet are not included in budgets for perennial ice carbon stores. Our research aims to understand differences in the bioavailability of carbon from ice glaciers and rock glaciers along the Central Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Identical microbial communities were fed standardized amounts of DOM from four different ice glacier-rock glaciers pairs. Using laboratory incubations, paired with mass spectrometry based metabolomics and 16S gene sequencing; we were able to examine functional definitions of DOM lability in glacial ice. We hypothesized that even though DOM quantities are similar in the outputs of both glacial types in our study area, ice glacial DOM would be more bioavailable than DOM from rock glaciers due to higher proportions of byproducts from microbial metabolism than rock glacier DOM, which has higher amounts of "recalcitrant" plant material. Our results show that DOM from ice glaciers is more labile than DOM from geologically and geographically similar paired rock glaciers. Ice glacier DOM represents an important pool of labile carbon to headwater ecosystems of the Rocky Mountains. Metabolomic analysis shows numerous compounds from varying metabolite pathways, including byproducts of nitrification before and after incubation, meaning that, similar to large maritime glaciers in Alaska and Europe, subglacial environments in the mountain ranges of the United States are hotspots for biological activity and processing of organic carbon.

  14. Glaciers of Europe

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1993-01-01

    ALPS: AUSTRIAN: An overview is provided on the occurrence of the glaciers in the Eastern Alps of Austria and on the climatic conditions in this area, Historical documents on the glaciers have been available since the Middle Ages. Special glaciological observations and topographic surveys of individual glaciers were initiated as early as 1846. Recent data in an inventory based on aerial photographs taken in 1969 show 925 glaciers in the Austrian Alps with a total area of 542 square kilometers. Present research topics include studies of mass and energy balance, relations of glaciers and climate, physical glaciology, a complete inventory of the glaciers, and testing of remote sensing methods. The location of the glacier areas is shown on Landsat multispectral scanner images; the improved capabilities of the Landsat thematic mapper are illustrated with an example from the Oztaler Alpen group. ALPS: SWISS: According to a glacier inventory published in 1976, which is based on aerial photography of 1973, there are 1,828 glacier units in the Swiss Alps that cover a total area of 1fl42 square kilometers. The Rhonegletscher, currently the ninth largest in the country, was one of the first to be studied in detail. Its surface has been surveyed repeatedly; velocity profiles were measured, and the fluctuations of its terminus were mapped and recorded from 1874 to 1914. Recent research on the glacier has included climatological, hydrological, and massbalance studies. Glaciological research has been conducted on various other glaciers in Switzerland concerning glacier hydrology, glacier hazards, fluctuations of glacier termini, ice mechanics, ice cores, and mass balance. Good maps are available showing the extent of glaciers from the latter decades of the 19th century. More recently, the entire country has been mapped at scales of 1:25,000, 1:50,000, 1:100,000, 1:200,000, and 1:500,000. The 1:25,000-scale series very accurately represents the glaciers as well as locates

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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?

  18. A century of glacier change in the American West

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fountain, A. G.

    2007-12-01

    Over the past 100 years glaciers in the American West (exclusive of Alaska) have largely receded. The magnitude of the recession varies across the west, with the greatest loss in Montana and California (>50% area loss) and the least loss on the stratovolcanoes (>35%) of the Pacific Northwest. The variations can be broadly characterized by elevation. Our results suggest that increased mass loss caused by increased summer temperatures affect all glaciers, whereas increasing winter temperatures, that change the phase of precipitation from snow to rain adversely affect those glaciers less than 3000m in elevation. The high glaciers (>3000m) of California and Colorado appear to be immune to variations in snowfall making them sensitive to variations in temperature alone. We infer that these very small, steep glaciers can only hold a given amount of snow beyond which extra snow avalanches or is blown off. Conversely, during winters of little direct snowfall, additional snow may be added through win drift from the surrounding terrain. The relatively little glacier shrinkage on the stratovolcanoes is due to the high altitude of the glacier accumulation zones. An east to west decrease in glacier shrinkage from Montana through Washington is due to enhanced winter precipitation along the west coast that somewhat buffers ice loss due to summer temperatures and winter precipitation phase changes.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wartes, D.

    2012-12-01

    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.

  20. 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.

  1. Patterns of Glacier Change in the American West

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fountain, A. G.; Basagic, H. J.; Hoffman, M. J.

    2008-12-01

    We examine a century of glacier area change in the American West, exclusive of Alaska, using historic photography, historic maps, and recent aerial photos. Of the approximately 3200 glaciers and permanent snow masses, we track about 400 glaciers across a region that spans from Washington to California and Colorado to Montana. All glaciers have retreated since 1900 with the greatest change in Montana (Lewis Range) and the Sierra Nevada of California, and the least change in Washington including the North Cascades and the Olympic Peninsula. The pattern since 1970s is more complex, with the majority of glaciers having retreated since the 1970s, some vastly more than others. The glaciers that exhibit relatively little retreat are largely restricted to the high stratovolcanoes >3500m in elevation. In these cases we infer elevated snow accumulation at higher elevations compensates for increased ablation (melt) at lower elevations. In addition, many of the most stable glaciers are debris covered in their lower elevations, due to rock fall from the relatively weak volcanic edifice. Small glaciers, <1 km2, show great variability in their behavior, with a few glaciers at equilibrium or slightly advancing, to the majority retreating, with some losing 67% of their area. These differences are more difficult to explain. We infer that local climatic/topographic influences play a dominant role in the magnitude of change while regional climate patterns control the sign of the change. Temporal patterns of glacier change are very similar across broad regions while the magnitude of that change is particular to individual glaciers.

  2. 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)

  3. 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.

  4. Observations and analysis of self-similar branching topology in glacier networks

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bahr, D.B.; Peckham, S.D.

    1996-01-01

    Glaciers, like rivers, have a branching structure which can be characterized by topological trees or networks. Probability distributions of various topological quantities in the networks are shown to satisfy the criterion for self-similarity, a symmetry structure which might be used to simplify future models of glacier dynamics. Two analytical methods of describing river networks, Shreve's random topology model and deterministic self-similar trees, are applied to the six glaciers of south central Alaska studied in this analysis. Self-similar trees capture the topological behavior observed for all of the glaciers, and most of the networks are also reasonably approximated by Shreve's theory. Copyright 1996 by the American Geophysical Union.

  5. Gulf of Alaska, Alaska

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    This MODIS true-color image shows the Gulf of Alaska and Kodiak Island, the partially snow-covered island in roughly the center of the image. Credit: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team

  6. 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

  7. Glaciers of Asia

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2010-01-01

    This chapter is the ninth to be released in U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1386, Satellite Image Atlas of Glaciers of the World, a series of 11 chapters. In each of the geographic area chapters, remotely sensed images, primarily from the Landsat 1, 2, and 3 series of spacecraft, are used to analyze the specific glacierized region of our planet under consideration and to monitor glacier changes. Landsat images, acquired primarily during the middle to late 1970s and early 1980s, were used by an international team of glaciologists and other scientists to study various geographic regions and (or) to discuss related glaciological topics. In each glacierized geographic region, the present areal distribution of glaciers is compared, wherever possible, with historical information about their past extent. The atlas provides an accurate regional inventory of the areal extent of glacier ice on our planet during the 1970s as part of a growing international scientific effort to measure global environmental change on the Earth?s surface. The chapter is divided into seven geographic parts and one topical part: Glaciers of the Former Soviet Union (F-1), Glaciers of China (F-2), Glaciers of Afghanistan (F?3), Glaciers of Pakistan (F-4), Glaciers of India (F-5), Glaciers of Nepal (F?6), Glaciers of Bhutan (F-7), and the Paleoenvironmental Record Preserved in Middle-Latitude, High-Mountain Glaciers (F-8). Each geographic section describes the glacier extent during the 1970s and 1980s, the benchmark time period (1972-1981) of this volume, but has been updated to include more recent information. Glaciers of the Former Soviet Union are located in the Russian Arctic and various mountain ranges of Russia and the Republics of Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Kazakstun. The Glacier Inventory of the USSR and the World Atlas of Ice and Snow Resources recorded a total of 28,881 glaciers covering an area of 78,938 square kilometers (km2). China includes many of the mountain-glacier

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.