Science.gov

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)

    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

  18. 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

  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. 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.

  6. 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.

  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. 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)

  13. 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.

  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. 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.

  17. 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.

  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

    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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  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. 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.

  3. 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.

  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. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  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. 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

  4. 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.

  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 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

  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. 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

  12. 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

  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. 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.

  20. 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.

  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. 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.

  4. 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)

  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. 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)

  9. 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.

  10. 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...

  11. 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...

  12. 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...

  13. 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...

  14. 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...

  15. 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...

  16. 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...

  17. 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...

  18. 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...

  19. 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...

  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. 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.

  12. 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)

  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. 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.

  19. 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.

  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. 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)

  2. 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.

  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. 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.

  8. 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

  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.

  11. Examining a Half Century of Northwestern North American Glacier Behavior

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Molnia, B. F.; Fahey, M. J.; Friesen, B.; Josberger, E. G.

    2015-12-01

    comparison to the 1950s maps will provide a unique survey of glacier change across western North America from Alaska to northwestern Washington. Each pair of glacier maps will be accompanied with a summary document describing the changes that have occurred at that glacier. From north to south, the nine IGY glaciers span a distance of more than 2,600 km.

  12. Integrated Ground-Based LiDAR and Global Fiducials Program Satellite Imagery Time Series Analysis of the Terminus of Bering Glacier, Alaska During the 2008-2011 Surge

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bawden, G. W.; Molnia, B. F.; Howle, J.; Bond, S.; Angeli, K.; Shuchman, R. A.

    2012-12-01

    Satellite imagery from the Global Fiducials Program (GFP: classified satellite imagery released to the general public for science use: http://gfl.usgs.gov) tracked the 2008-2011 surge of the Bering Glacier, the largest and longest glacier in North America. The terminus displacement began in late 2010, with maximum velocities of greater than 20 meters per day by late January 2011, as measured using feature tracking with GFP imagery. By July, the velocities had decreased to less than 10 m/d. We used the GFP imagery to locate three helicopter accessible targets on the terminus of the Bering Glacier to collect high-resolution (0.5-4 cm spot spacing) 4D time-series tripod/terrestrial LiDAR (T-LiDAR) data. During the week of July 24, 2011 we collected hourly and daily T-LiDAR data to resolve spatially and temporally varied advancement rates at each of the sites. The first site was located on the west side of Tashalich arm on the western side of the Bering Lobe terminus proximal to the region where the maximum GFP velocities had previously been measured. Using the T-LiDAR data, we found that the terminus advanced 5.4 m over 76 hours of observation. The hourly advancement rates for the same location are a very consistent 4.2 cm/h during our daylight hours of observation (0900-1800 local) and when daily rate are extrapolated to the full 76 hours, we should have measured 3.2 m of horizontal displacement: this is a discrepancy between the total and hourly measured displacements of an additional 2.2 m of motion during the night and early morning hours (1800-0900 local). The additional motion may be explained by accelerated terminus velocity associated with daily thermal heating and resulting melt. Motion may also be explained by rain on the second day of the survey that "lubricated" the glacier bed thereby allowing it to advance at a faster velocity. The second site was on Arrowhead Island, located on the eastern side of the terminus where the vertical relieve of the glacier

  13. Dynamic behavior of the Bering Glacier-Bagley icefield system during a surge, and other measurements of Alaskan glaciers with ERS SAR imagery

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lingle, Craig S.; Fatland, Dennis R.; Voronina, Vera A.; Ahlnaes, Kristina; Troshina, Elena N.

    1997-01-01

    ERS-1 synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery was employed for the measurement of the dynamics of the Bagley icefield during a major surge in 1993-1994, the measurement of ice velocities on the Malaspina piedmont glacier during a quiescent phase between surges, and for mapping the snow lines and the position of the terminus of Nabesna glacier on Mount Wrangell (a 4317 m andesitic shield volcano) in the heavily glacierized Saint Elias and Wrangell Mountains of Alaska. An overview and summary of results is given. The methods used include interferometry, cross-correlation of sequential images, and digitization of boundaries using terrain-corrected SAR imagery.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  16. Combination of Geophysical Methods for Measuring the Structure of Rock Glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ikeda, A.

    2007-12-01

    The internal structure of talus-derived rock glaciers was surveyed by a combination of electrical resistivity and refraction seismic measurements to study effects of lithological and thermal situations on the development of rock glaciers. P-wave velocity, direct current (DC) resistivity and/or year-round ground surface temperature were measured on 32 rock glaciers in the Alps and 6 rock glaciers in the Brooks Range, Alaska. In the Alps, two lithological situations were compared: one resulted in bouldery rock glaciers covered with matrix-free boulders and the other pebbly rock glaciers consisting of matrix-supported pebbles and cobbles. Different structure accompanying permafrost thawing was studied through the comparison of vegetated rock glaciers with (non- vegetated) bouldery/pebbly rock glaciers, because such vegetated rock glaciers have been regarded as relict in the Alps. In the Brooks Range located in the continuous permafrost area, bouldery rock glaciers are mostly vegetated but probably contain permafrost. The structural difference of rock glaciers between the Alps and much colder and drier Brooks Range is also discussed. In the Alps, subsurface P-wave velocity differed significantly between the bouldery/pebbly rock glaciers (>2 km/s) and the vegetated rock glaciers (<1 km/s). In addition, the bouldery/pebbly rock glaciers had lower surface temperatures than the vegetated rock glaciers. These results indicate the presence of permafrost in the former and the absence in the latter. DC resistivity differed between the bouldery (10-5000 kohmm) and pebbly (0.5-20 kohmm) rock glaciers, whereas the subsurface resistivity had similar values between the pebbly and vegetated types. The bouldery rock glaciers in the Brooks Range lacked high resistivity core (>100 kohmm). Thus, the difference in the resistivity does not reflect the ground temperature (e.g. frozen or unfrozen) but the structural difference (e.g. bouldery or pebbly). In particular, high resistivity

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-04-01

    In glacierized fjords, the ice-ocean boundary is a physically and biologically dynamic environment that is sensitive to both glacier flow and ocean circulation. Ocean ambient noise offers insight into processes and change at the ice-ocean boundary. Here we characterize fjord ambient noise and show that the average noise levels are louder than nearly all measured natural oceanic environments (significantly louder than sea ice and nonglacierized fjords). Icy Bay, Alaska, has an annual average sound pressure level of 120 dB (referenced to 1 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.

  18. Regional projections of glacier volume and runoff in response to twenty-first century climate scenarios (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Radic, V.; Bliss, A. K.; Hock, R.

    2013-12-01

    Changes in mass contained by mountain glaciers and ice caps can modify the Earth's hydrological cycle on multiple scales. On a global scale, the mass loss from glaciers contributes to sea level rise. On regional and local scales, glacier melt-water is an important contributor to and modulator of river flow. In this study we use an elevation-dependent glacier mass balance model to project annual volume changes and monthly runoff from all mountain glaciers and ice caps in the world (excluding those in the Antarctic periphery) for the 21st century forced by temperature and precipitation scenarios from 14 global climate models. The largest contributors to projected total volume loss are the glaciers in the Canadian and Russian Arctic, Alaska and glaciers peripheral to Greenland ice sheet. Although small contributors to global volume loss, glaciers in Central Europe, low-latitude South America, Caucasus, North Asia, and Western Canada and US are projected to lose more than 75% of their volume by 2100. The magnitude and sign of trends in annual runoff totals differ considerably among regions depending on the balance between enhanced melt and the reduction of the glacier reservoir by glacier retreat and shrinkage. Most regions show strong declines in glacier runoff indicating that the effect of glacier shrinkage is more dominant than increased melting rates. Some high-latitude regions (Arctic Canada North, Russian Arctic and Greenland) exhibit increases in runoff totals. Iceland and Svalbard show an increase in runoff followed by a multi-decadal decrease in annual runoff.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2009-04-01

    Glacier-dammed lakes typically form during glacier advance or retreat that is in phase with climate change. Most glacier-dammed lakes that have formed in the past century are located in closed basins created by glacier retreat and downwasting. However, tidewater glaciers can be relatively insensitive to climate and can advance when adjacent land-based glaciers are in retreat. The regimen of tidewater glaciers is strongly controlled by the nature of the terminus. When a morainal shoal or fjord constriction limits mass loss due to calving, the glacier may remain stable or advance even in a warming climate. However, a small perturbation in climate can cause the terminus to retreat off a shoal or beyond a constriction into deeper, open water. Once this happens, more mass is lost through calving than is replenished and the glacier may catastrophically retreat. Because many tidewater glaciers are large, this cycle can be several hundred years in length, thereby lagging climatic perturbations that affect other glaciers. Many tidewater glaciers have dammed lakes as they advanced over the past century. Brady Glacier, at the head of Taylor Bay in southeast Alaska, advanced through most of the 20th century. When George Vancouver's party mapped Taylor Bay in 1794, the glacier terminus was a steep calving front. In 1880 John Muir visited the glacier and commented that it was advancing onto an outwash plain that it had built. It continued to advance until the 1960s and has remained at almost the same position since then, despite thinning many tens of meters. As Brady Glacier advanced, it buried trees along the walls of the fjord and impounded large lakes in tributary valleys. At least two of these lakes formed on opposite sides of the glacier in areas occupied by mature forest. We collected incremental cores and discs of trees killed by overriding ice and rising lake waters in order to establish a dendrochronological history of the last glacier advance and the filling of the

  20. Identifying Dynamically Induced Variability in Glacier Mass-Balance Records

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Christian, J. E.; Siler, N.; Koutnik, M. R.; Roe, G.

    2015-12-01

    Glacier mass-balance (i.e., accumulation vs. ablation) provides a direct indicator of a glacier's relationship with climate. However, mass-balance records contain noise due to internal climate variability (i.e., from stochastic fluctuations in large-scale atmospheric circulation), which can obscure or bias trends in these relatively short timeseries. This presents a challenge in correctly identifying the signature of anthropogenic change. "Dynamical adjustment" is a technique that identifies patterns of variance shared between a climate timeseries of interest (e.g., mass-balance) and independent "predictor" variables associated with large-scale circulation (e.g., Sea Level Pressure, SLP, or Sea Surface Temperature, SST). Extracting the component of variance due to internal variability leaves a residual timeseries for which trends can more confidently be attributed to external forcing. We apply dynamical adjustments based on Partial Least Squares Regression to mass-balance records from South Cascade Glacier in Washington State and Wolverine and Gulkana Glaciers in Alaska, independently analyzing seasonal balance records to assess the dynamical influences on winter accumulation and summer ablation. Seasonally averaged North Pacific SLP and SST fields perform comparably as predictor variables, explaining 50-60% of the variance in winter balance and 30-40% of variance in summer balance for South Cascade and Wolverine Glaciers. Gulkana glacier, located further inland than the other two glaciers, is less closely linked to North Pacific climate variability, with the predictors explaining roughly one-third of variance in its winter and summer balance. We analyze the significance of linear trends in the raw and adjusted mass-balance records, and find that for all three glaciers, a) summer balance shows a statistically significant downward trend that is not substantially altered when dynamically induced variability is removed, and b) winter balance shows no statistically

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-12-01

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

  2. Using Global Fiducials Program Imagery to Document 50 Years of North American Glacier Change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Josberger, E. G.; Fahey, M. J.; Friesen, B. A.; Molnia, B. F.

    2012-12-01

    As part of the International Geophysical Year (IGY), nine glaciers in Alaska and Washington were imaged and mapped at a 1:10,000 scale by the American Geographical Society (AGS) to: "provide the basis for more satisfactory and more accurate interpretation of the response of these glaciers to meteorological and other factors." Prophetic words indeed. In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the publication of these maps, the Global Fiducials Program (GFP) systematically re-photographed these glaciers, along with several additional glacier sites, to determine the extent of change at each of these sites. In a new US Geological Survey (USGS) series, maps produced from recently collected GFP imagery, closely following AGS's original map format, are being made for the original nine glaciers. New maps will also be produced for the USGS' three benchmark glaciers and for four new sites--two in California, one in Montana, and one in Nevada. All are either current or proposed GFP sites. Newly acquired and historical imagery will be used to determine changes in terminus position, produce digital elevation models (DEMs), and generate velocity fields from crevasse migration. Where possible, area and volume changes are being determined. Each pair of glacier maps will be accompanied with a summary document describing the changes that have occurred at that glacier. Changes mapped for the Benchmark Glaciers are in agreement with the annual mass balance records compiled by detailed USGS field investigations.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dyurgerov, M.; McCabe, G.J.

    2006-01-01

    Low-elevation glaciers in coastal regions of Alaska, the Canadian Arctic, individual ice caps around the Greenland ice sheet, and the Patagonia Ice Fields have an aggregate glacier area of about 332 ?? 103 km 2 and account for approximately 42% of all the glacier area outside the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. They have shown volume loss, especially since the end of the 1980s, increasing from about 45% in the 1960s to nearly 67% in 2003 of the total wastage from all glaciers on Earth outside those two largest ice sheets. Thus, a disproportionally large contribution of coastal glacier ablation to sea level rise is evident. We examine cumulative standardized departures (1961-2000 reference period) of glacier mass balances and air temperature data in these four coastal regions. Analyses indicate a strong association between increases in glacier volume losses and summer air temperature at regional and global scales. Increases in glacier volume losses in the coastal regions also coincide with an accelerated rate of ice discharge from outlet glaciers draining the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets. These processes imply further increases in sea level rise. ?? 2006 Regents of the University of Colorado.

  4. A strategy for monitoring glaciers

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1997-01-01

    Glaciers are important features in the hydrologic cycle and affect the volume, variability, and water quality of runoff. Assessing and predicting the effect of glaciers on water resources require a monitoring program to provide basic data for this understanding. The monitoring program of the U.S. Geological Survey employs a nested approach whereby an intensively studied glacier is surrounded by less intensively studied glaciers and those monitored solely by remote sensing. Ideally, each glacierized region of the United States would have such a network of glaciers. The intensively studied glacier provides a detailed understanding of the physical processes and their temporal changes that control the mass exchange of the glaciers in that region. The less intensively studied glaciers are used to assess the variability of such processes within the region.

  5. Bruggen Glacier, Chile

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

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

  6. Gulf of Alaska as seen from STS-59

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1994-01-01

    The spring thaw along the coast of the Gulf of Alaska has not touched the St. Elias Mountains, southeast of Yakutat Bay and Malaspina Glacier. A prominent glacier flows from Mt. Fairweather (15,300 feet) at right center, to form Cape Fairweather. Another glacier to the northwest almost reaches the sea; the valley of the Alsek River forms a broad, braided plain at upper left. the low sun elevation and oblique angle of this photograph provide a 3-dimensional appearance to the black-and-white landscape.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-12-01

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

  8. Spatio-temporal Variation in Glacier Ice as Habitat for Harbor Seals in an Alaskan Tidewater Glacier Fjord

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-12-01

    Some of the largest aggregations of harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardii) in Alaska occur in tidewater glacier fjords where seals rest upon icebergs that are calved from tidewater glaciers into the marine environment. The distribution, amount, and size of floating ice in fjords are likely important factors influencing the spatial distribution and abundance of harbor seals; however, fine-scale characteristics of ice habitat that are used by seals have not been quantified using automated methods. We quantified the seasonal changes in ice habitat for harbor seals in Johns Hopkins Inlet, a tidewater glacier fjord in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska, using aerial photography, object-based image analysis, and spatial models. Aerial photographic surveys (n = 53) were conducted of seals and ice during the whelping (June) and molting (August) seasons from 2007-2014. Surveys were flown along a grid of 12 transects and high-resolution digital photos were taken directly under the plane using a vertically aimed camera. Seal abundance and spatial distribution was consistently higher during June (range: 1,672-4,340) than August (range: 1,075-2,582) and corresponded to the spatial distribution and amount of ice. Preliminary analyses from 2007 suggest that the average percent of icebergs (ice ≥ than 1.6m2) and brash ice (ice < 1.6m2) per scene were greater in June (icebergs: 1.8% ± 1.6%; brash ice: 43.8% ± 38.9%) than August (icebergs: 0.2% ± 0.7%; brash ice; 15.8% ± 26.4%). Iceberg angularity (an index of iceberg shape) was also greater in June (1.7 ± 0.9) than August (0.9 ± 0.9). Potential factors that may influence the spatio-temporal variation in ice habitat for harbor seals in tidewater glacier fjords include frontal ablation rates of glaciers, fjord circulation, and local winds. Harbor seals exhibit high seasonal fidelity to tidewater glacier fjords, thus understanding the relationships between glacier dynamics and harbor seal distribution will be critical for

  9. The Glaciers of HARMONIE

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mottram, Ruth; Gleeson, Emily; Pagh Nielsen, Kristian

    2016-04-01

    Developed by the large ALADIN-HIRLAM consortium, the numerical weather prediction (NWP) model system HARMONIE is run by a large number of national weather services and research institutions in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa for weather forecasting. It is now being adopted for climate research purposes as a limited area model in a form known as HCLIM. It is currently run for a number of domains, mostly in Europe but also including Greenland, at a very high resolution (~2.5 km). HARMONIE is a convection permitting non-hydrostatic model that includes the multi-purpose SURFEX surface model. By improving the characterization of glacier surfaces within SURFEX we show that weather forecast errors over both the Greenland ice sheet and over Icelandic glaciers can be significantly reduced. The improvements also facilitate increasingly accurate ice melt and runoff computations, which are important both for ice surface mass balance estimations and hydropower forecasting. These improvements will also benefit the operational HARMONIE domains that cover the Svalbard archipelago, the Alps and the Scandinavian mountain glaciers. Future uses of HCLIM for these regions, where accurately characterizing glacial terrain will be crucial for climate and glaciological applications, are also expected to benefit from this improvement. Here, we report the first results with a new glacier surface scheme in the HARMONIE model, validated with observations from the PROMICE network of automatic weather stations in Greenland. The scheme upgrades the existing surface energy balance over glaciers by including a new albedo parameterization for bare glacier ice and appropriate coefficients for calculating the turbulent fluxes. In addition the snow scheme from the SURFEX land surface module has been upgraded to allow the retention and refreezing of meltwater in the snowpack. These changes allow us to estimate surface mass balance over glaciers at a range of model resolutions that can take full

  10. The GLIMS Glacier Database

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2007-12-01

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

  11. 36 CFR 13.1312 - Climbing and walking on Exit Glacier.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-07-01

    ... 36 Parks, Forests, and Public Property 1 2012-07-01 2012-07-01 false Climbing and walking on Exit Glacier. 13.1312 Section 13.1312 Parks, Forests, and Public Property NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM UNITS IN ALASKA Special Regulations-Kenai Fjords National...

  12. 36 CFR 13.1312 - Climbing and walking on Exit Glacier.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-07-01

    ... 36 Parks, Forests, and Public Property 1 2014-07-01 2014-07-01 false Climbing and walking on Exit Glacier. 13.1312 Section 13.1312 Parks, Forests, and Public Property NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM UNITS IN ALASKA Special Regulations-Kenai Fjords National...

  13. 36 CFR 13.1312 - Climbing and walking on Exit Glacier.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-07-01

    ... 36 Parks, Forests, and Public Property 1 2013-07-01 2013-07-01 false Climbing and walking on Exit Glacier. 13.1312 Section 13.1312 Parks, Forests, and Public Property NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM UNITS IN ALASKA Special Regulations-Kenai Fjords National...

  14. 36 CFR 13.1312 - Climbing and walking on Exit Glacier.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... 36 Parks, Forests, and Public Property 1 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Climbing and walking on Exit Glacier. 13.1312 Section 13.1312 Parks, Forests, and Public Property NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM UNITS IN ALASKA Special Regulations-Kenai Fjords National...

  15. 36 CFR 13.1312 - Climbing and walking on Exit Glacier.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... 36 Parks, Forests, and Public Property 1 2011-07-01 2011-07-01 false Climbing and walking on Exit Glacier. 13.1312 Section 13.1312 Parks, Forests, and Public Property NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM UNITS IN ALASKA Special Regulations-Kenai Fjords National...

  16. Karakoram glacier surge dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-09-01

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

  17. Perfect plastic approximation revisited: a flowline network model for calving glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ultee, E.; Bassis, J. N.

    2015-12-01

    Accurate modeling of outlet glacier dynamics requires knowledge of many factors—ice thickness, bed topography, air/ocean temperature, precipitation rate—specific to individual glaciers, and for which only limited data exists. Furthermore, key processes such as iceberg calving remain poorly understood and difficult to include in models. In light of these challenges to even the most sophisticated models, there is great value in simple, computationally efficient models that can capture first-order effects. Many of the simplest models currently in use produce glacier profiles along a central flowline, either ignoring the contribution of tributaries or relying on a measure of "equivalent width" to handle those contributions. Here, we present a simple model that generalizes Nye's 1953 perfect plastic approximation so that it also predicts the position of the glacier terminus based on the yield strength. Moreover, our model simulates not only a central flowline, but the interactions of a network of tributaries. The model requires only minimal information: glacier geometry (network structure and bed topography, available from observation for select glaciers) and basal shear strength (a reasonably-constrained parameter). We apply the model to Columbia Glacier, Alaska and show that, despite its simplicity, the model is able to reproduce observed centerline profiles and terminus retreat for the main branch as well as selected tributaries. Finally, we illustrate how our model can be applied to constrain the calving contribution of individual glaciers to 21st century sea level rise.

  18. Greenland Glacier Albedo Variability

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

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

  19. Climate regime of Asian glaciers revealed by GAMDAM glacier inventory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sakai, A.; Nuimura, T.; Fujita, K.; Takenaka, S.; Nagai, H.; Lamsal, D.

    2015-05-01

    Among meteorological elements, precipitation has a large spatial variability and less observation, particularly in high-mountain Asia, although precipitation in mountains is an important parameter for hydrological circulation. We estimated precipitation contributing to glacier mass at the median elevation of glaciers, which is presumed to be at equilibrium-line altitude (ELA) such that mass balance is zero at that elevation, by tuning adjustment parameters of precipitation. We also made comparisons between the median elevation of glaciers, including the effect of drifting snow and avalanche, and eliminated those local effects. Then, we could obtain the median elevation of glaciers depending only on climate to estimate glacier surface precipitation. The calculated precipitation contributing to glacier mass can elucidate that glaciers in arid high-mountain Asia receive less precipitation, while much precipitation makes a greater contribution to glacier mass in the Hindu Kush, the Himalayas, and the Hengduan Shan due to not only direct precipitation amount but also avalanche nourishment. We classified glaciers in high-mountain Asia into summer-accumulation type and winter-accumulation type using the summer-accumulation ratio and confirmed that summer-accumulation-type glaciers have a higher sensitivity than winter-accumulation-type glaciers.

  20. Climate regime of Asian glaciers revealed by GAMDAM Glacier Inventory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sakai, A.; Nuimura, T.; Fujita, K.; Takenaka, S.; Nagai, H.; Lamsal, D.

    2014-07-01

    Among meteorological elements, precipitation has a large spatial variability and less observation, particularly in High Mountain Asia, although precipitation in mountains is an important parameter for hydrological circulation. We estimated precipitation contributing to glacier mass at median elevation of glaciers, which is presumed to be at equilibrium-line altitude (ELA) so that mass balance is zero at that elevation, by tuning adjustment parameters of precipitation. We also made comparisons between median elevation of glaciers, including the effect of drifting snow and avalanche, and eliminated those local effects. Then, we could obtain median elevation of glaciers depending only on climate to estimate glacier surface precipitation. The calculated precipitation contributing to glacier mass can elucidate that glaciers in the arid High Mountain Asia have very less precipitation, while much precipitation contribute to glacier mass in the Hindu Kush, the Himalayas, and the Hengduan Shan due to not only direct precipitation amount but also avalanche nourishment. We classified glaciers in High Mountain Asia into summer-accumulation type and winter-accumulation type using the summer accumulation ratio, and confirmed that summer-accumulation type glaciers have a higher sensitivity than winter-accumulation type glaciers.

  1. Svalbard surging glacier landsystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-05-01

    The percentage of Svalbard glaciers thought to be of surge-type is somewhere between 13-90% according to different sources variously based on statistical analysis and observations of diagnostic glaciological and geomorphological features, e.g. looped moraines. Developing a better understanding of which of these figures, if either, is most realistic is important in the context of glacier dynamics and related contributions of small glaciers and ice caps to sea level change in the immediate future. We present detailed geomorphological assessments of the margins of several known surge-type glaciers in Svalbard in order to update and improve the existing framework by which they are identified, and to provide a foundation for future reassessments of the surge-type glacier population based on distinct landform-sediment assemblages. Three landsystems are proposed: (1) Surges of small valley glaciers produce a prominent ice-cored latero-frontal moraine at their surge maximum and are characterised by an inner zone of ice stagnation terrain (hummocky topography, kettle lakes, debris flows) with no or only very few poorly-defined bedforms (crevasse squeeze ridges, eskers and flutes) and no recessional moraines. Many of these glaciers may have surged in the past but show no signs that they have the capability to do so again in the future. (2) Larger land-terminating glaciers, often with several tributaries, typically produce a push moraine complex which contains evidence for multiple advances, as identified from ridge-meltwater channel relationships. The inner zone often contains a large lagoon, partly dammed by the push moraine complex, and widespread ice stagnation terrain. Crevasse squeeze ridges, eskers and flutes are well-defined but small and limited in number and distribution. (3) Surges of large tidewater glaciers produce distinctive, often multi-generational, landform assemblages both in submarine and lateral terrestrial positions. The well-preserved submarine record

  2. Glacier generated floods

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1997-01-01

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

  3. Pine Island Glacier

    Atmospheric Science Data Center

    2013-04-16

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koppes, MichèLe; Hallet, Bernard

    2006-06-01

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

  5. Progress toward Consensus Estimates of Regional Glacier Mass Balances for IPCC AR5

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arendt, A. A.; Gardner, A. S.; Cogley, J. G.

    2011-12-01

    Glaciers are potentially large contributors to rising sea level. Since the last IPCC report in 2007 (AR4), there has been a widespread increase in the use of geodetic observations from satellite and airborne platforms to complement field observations of glacier mass balance, as well as significant improvements in the global glacier inventory. Here we summarize our ongoing efforts to integrate data from multiple sources to arrive at a consensus estimate for each region, and to quantify uncertainties in those estimates. We will use examples from Alaska to illustrate methods for combining Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), elevation differencing and field observations into a single time series with related uncertainty estimates. We will pay particular attention to reconciling discrepancies between GRACE estimates from multiple processing centers. We will also investigate the extent to which improvements in the glacier inventory affect the accuracy of our regional mass balances.

  6. A Comparison of Seismic Records of Calving Glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walter, Fabian; Amundson, Jason M.; O'Neel, Shad; Clinton, John F.; Luethi, Martin P.; Bassis, Jeremy; Fricker, Helen Amanda

    2010-05-01

    Glacier calving is a key process in the cryosphere's contribution to sea level rise. It is responsible for virtually all of Antarctica's ice mass loss to the ocean and about half of Greenland's negative mass balance. As glacier calving is a highly complicated and variable phenomenon, its physical laws are poorly understood. For this reason "dynamical mass loss" is one of the critical mechanisms that have yet to be incorporated into large-scale ice sheet models that aim to predict future sea level variations. As calving environments are almost always difficult to access, data pertaining to calving processes are usually gathered remotely. Seismometers have recently proven to be a valuable tool for studying calving, even though they may be located far away from the calving front. Pre-existing global and regional seismic networks thus constitute a valuable resource for the study of glacier calving as they allow for automatic detection and monitoring of calving activity. Various sources occurring nearly simultaneously give rise to calving seismicity. Potential source mechanisms include fracturing, hydraulic transients, glacier acceleration, ocean wave action, and icebergs scraping the fjord walls, bottom, or terminus. Fracturing and hydraulic transients emit seismic energy above 1 Hz and are only recorded locally, whereas glacier acceleration, iceberg scraping, and ocean waves may produce waveforms with periods of 100's or 1000's of seconds and can be recorded by far-field seismometers. We present examples of such low-frequency seismicity from Jakobshavn Isbrae, Greenland, and Columbia and Yahtse Glaciers, Alaska. Finally, we discuss the possibility of remotely investigating calving behavior by comparing the seismic signature of individual calving events from different glaciological settings.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2009-01-01

    Conventional and reference-surface mass-balance data from Gulkana and Wolverine Glaciers, Alaska, USA, are used to address the questions of how rapidly these glaciers are adjusting (or 'responding') to climate, whether their responses are stable, and whether the glaciers are likely to survive in today's climate. Instability means that a glacier will eventually vanish, or at least become greatly reduced in volume, if the climate stabilizes at its present state. A simple non-linear theory of response is presented for the analysis. The response of Gulkana Glacier is characterized by a timescale of several decades, but its stability and therefore its survival in today's climate are uncertain. Wolverine seems to be responding to climate more slowly, on the timescale of one to several centuries. Its stability is also uncertain, but a slower response time would make it more susceptible to climate changes.

  8. Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2001-01-01

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

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

    Recently, Robert Bindschadler, a glaciologist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center discovered in Landsat 7 imagery a newly-formed crack traversing the Pine Island Glacier. This crack

  9. Alaska volcanoes guidebook for teachers

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Adleman, Jennifer N.

    2011-01-01

    Alaska’s volcanoes, like its abundant glaciers, charismatic wildlife, and wild expanses inspire and ignite scientific curiosity and generate an ever-growing source of questions for students in Alaska and throughout the world. Alaska is home to more than 140 volcanoes, which have been active over the last 2 million years. About 90 of these volcanoes have been active within the last 10,000 years and more than 50 of these have been active since about 1700. The volcanoes in Alaska make up well over three-quarters of volcanoes in the United States that have erupted in the last 200 years. In fact, Alaska’s volcanoes erupt so frequently that it is almost guaranteed that an Alaskan will experience a volcanic eruption in his or her lifetime, and it is likely they will experience more than one. It is hard to imagine a better place for students to explore active volcanism and to understand volcanic hazards, phenomena, and global impacts. Previously developed teachers’ guidebooks with an emphasis on the volcanoes in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Mattox, 1994) and Mount Rainier National Park in the Cascade Range (Driedger and others, 2005) provide place-based resources and activities for use in other volcanic regions in the United States. Along the lines of this tradition, this guidebook serves to provide locally relevant and useful resources and activities for the exploration of numerous and truly unique volcanic landscapes in Alaska. This guidebook provides supplemental teaching materials to be used by Alaskan students who will be inspired to become educated and prepared for inevitable future volcanic activity in Alaska. The lessons and activities in this guidebook are meant to supplement and enhance existing science content already being taught in grade levels 6–12. Correlations with Alaska State Science Standards and Grade Level Expectations adopted by the Alaska State Department of Education and Early Development (2006) for grades six through eleven are listed at

  10. Seismic Tremor Reveals Subglacial Discharge at Tidewater Glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bartholomaus, T. C.; Larsen, C. F.; O'Neel, S.; West, M. E.; Amundson, J. M.; Walter, J. I.; Catania, G. A.; Stearns, L. A.; Walker, R. T.; Sutherland, D.; Shroyer, E.; Nash, J. D.

    2014-12-01

    Subglacial discharge from the termini of tidewater glaciers drives submarine terminus melting, influences fjord circulation, erodes and redeposits subglacial sediment, and is a central component of proglacial marine ecosystems. The timing and variability of subglacial discharge can also exert a strong influence on the upstream flow of tidewater glaciers through hydrology-mediated changes in basal motion. However, a lack of observations of subglacial discharge at the ice-ocean interface hinders progress in understanding these processes and contributes to some of the largest uncertainties in sea level rise projections. Here we demonstrate that passive seismic observations collected adjacent to glaciers can meet this observational need. At tidewater and lake-terminating glaciers in Alaska and Greenland, we observe hourly to seasonal variations in low-amplitude, background seismic noise, termed glacio-hydraulic tremor. Variations in tremor amplitude correlate with discharge during the drainage of a glacially-dammed lake and reveal increases in discharge efficiency over the course of the melt season. Recordings of glacio-hydraulic tremor across a range of settings suggest widespread utility for our method. Reliable prediction of future sea level rise requires observations of subglacial discharge that elicit physical insight and can validate models. Our findings provide a platform for new understanding of ice-ocean interactions and related oceanographic, geologic, and ecological disciplines.

  11. A World of Changing Glaciers: Hazards, Opportunities, and Measures of Global Climate Change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kargel, J. S.; Wessels, R.; Kieffer, H. H.

    2002-05-01

    Glaciers around the world are, with rare exceptions, stagnating or in hasty retreat. Whether growing or shrinking, significant changes in the extent of glaciers have major impacts on nature and humanity in their immediate vicinity, because land uses are utterly different depending on whether the land is covered by ice. Upon glacier retreat, new land uses may become possible: (1) Transportation corridors may become feasible where previously there were barriers. (2) Exposure of the lithosphere may yield mineral riches that previously were inaccessible. (3) New wildlife habitat and migration routes may develop, thus promoting genetic diffusion/interbreeding of previously isolated populations. Glacier impacts go well beyond the locality where they occur. Many glaciers regulate water flow, and contribute to annual water availability and hydropower production. In some regions, such in the Hindu Kush-Himlaya (HKH), especially the western provinces of China, the carrying capacity of the land and further economic development and well-being of the populace is partly dependent on melting glaciers. In India, \\8 billion worth of hydroelectric power (at U.S. electric rates) is generated each year; 50% of that is attributable to runoff from Himalayan glaciers and high-altitude snow fields. Nearly \\1 billion worth of hydroelectric power is due to the current negative mass balance of glaciers. In Nepal, glaciogenic hydropower is even more crucial. Although it may be many decades in coming, the ongoing sharp reduction in glacier area in the HKH will eventually be reflected in heightened water shortages in a region where water already is in short supply. Other glaciers store large amounts of meltwater and release it suddenly, causing havoc and taking lives downstream. This is a major problem in the HKH region and is significant locally in other heavily glaciated regions, such as Alaska. Sea level is a global issue impacted significantly by melting glaciers wherever they occur

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-05-01

    compared with ongoing thinning rates due to higher ablation. In the long term perspective, San Rafael is a good example of the tidewater calving cycle described for several glaciers in Alaska and Patagonia. At the eastern side glaciers, frontal retreats have been bigger than at San Rafael in recent years, but in the long term (since the Little Ice Age), San Rafael experienced a much stronger frontal recession (more than 12 km). This contrasting calving behavior between eastern and western margin glaciers, is only enhancing ice losses differences, but not changing ongoing receding trends.;

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mood, Bryan J.; Smith, Dan J.

    2015-11-01

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

  14. 2011 Updates on the Long-term Glacier Monitoring Program in Denali National Park and Preserve

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-12-01

    +/- 29 m/year with a positive trend. Monitoring glacier behavior and trends using a variety of techniques provides insight to the complexity of glacier change and increases our ability to distinguish local effects from regional and global trends. Parkwide analysis of glacier extent change since the 1950's shows a consistent trend of retreat, except for glaciers that have surged. Longitudinal surface elevation profiling and comparative photography shows relative stability in larger glaciers, but dramatic long-term mass loss on small, relatively low elevation, valley glaciers characteristic of the eastern portion of DENA. These patterns of ice loss are somewhat unique to the Alaska Range and contrast with big losses of ice mass from large glaciers that border the Gulf of Alaska.

  15. Listening to Glaciers: Passive hydroacoustics near marine-terminating glaciers

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pettit, E.C.; Nystuen, J.A.; O'Neel, Shad

    2012-01-01

    The catastrophic breakup of the Larsen B Ice Shelf in the Weddell Sea in 2002 paints a vivid portrait of the effects of glacier-climate interactions. This event, along with other unexpected episodes of rapid mass loss from marine-terminating glaciers (i.e., tidewater glaciers, outlet glaciers, ice streams, ice shelves) sparked intensified study of the boundaries where marine-terminating glaciers interact with the ocean. These dynamic and dangerous boundaries require creative methods of observation and measurement. Toward this effort, we take advantage of the exceptional sound-propagating properties of seawater to record and interpret sounds generated at these glacial ice-ocean boundaries from distances safe for instrument deployment and operation.

  16. Determining basin geometry, stability, and flow dynamics of valley glaciers with ground-penetrating radar

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Campbell, Seth William

    Mountain glaciers and ice caps (GICs) currently contribute ~0% to annual sea level rise. Most are temperate, therefore having the potential for rapid retreat from rising atmospheric temperatures. This climate sensitivity makes GIC stability and their impact on sea level rise a scientific problem with societal implications. To accurately predict impacts from GIC changes, knowledge of glacier components (e.g., basin geometry, mass balance, and dynamics) is needed. The goal of my dissertation research is to determine information about glacier geometry, snow-fire, and englacial stratigraphy using ground-penetrating radar (GPR) to enhance our understanding of valley glacier mass balance, dynamics, and stability. I first examine glacier basin geometry and ice volume of two temperate glaciers (Jarvis Glacier, Alaska and Nisqually Glacier, Washington) and demonstrate that significant errors (≥30-50%) can arise when using empirically-based volume estimates without geophysical constraints. I next determine spatial variability of accumulation across the temperate Juneau Icefield in Alaska usina GPR to interpolate between snowpits. To accomplish this, the dependence of radar velocity on snow density (~.3-0.7 g cm -3) and water content (0-9% by volume) needs to be addressed. Results show that on average, 2.1+/-0.5 m (water equivalent) of winter snow accumulates across the icefield with accumulation patterns depending on elevation, aspect, and proximity to moisture source. The third component of my dissertation combines locally measured accumulation rates, ice flow velocities, and englacial structures imaged with GPR to calculate that a negative mass balance (-0.25 cm a -1) has existed in valley glaciers of the Pensacola Mountains, West Antarctica over the past 1200 years. Finally, 1 use a 3-dimensional finite element non-Newtonian model to characterize the stress fields and current dynamics of a small ice divide. GPR-derived basin geometry is used for model boundary

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Anderson, J. H. (Principal Investigator)

    1973-01-01

    The author has identified the following significant results. The vegetation map in preparation at the time of the last report was refined and labeled. This map is presented as an indication of the spatial and classificatory detail possible from interpretations of enlarged ERTS-1 color photographs. Using this map, areas covered by the several vegetation types characterized by white spruce were determined by planimetry. A 1:63,360 scale land use map of the Juneau area was drawn. This map incorporates the land use classification system now under development by the U.S. Geological Survey. The ERTS-1 images used in making the Juneau map were used to determine changes in surface area of the terminal zones of advancing and receding glaciers, the Taku, Norris, and Mendenhall. A new 1:63,360 scale land use map of the Bonanza Creek Experimental Forest and vicinity was drawn. Several excellent new sciences of test areas were received from NASA in color-infrared transparency format. These are being used for making photographic prints for analysis and mapping according to procedures outlined in this report.

  18. Chernobyl fallout on Alpine glaciers

    SciTech Connect

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

    1989-01-01

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

  19. A Multifaceted View of a Glacier Speed-Up Event

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harper, J. T.; Pfeffer, W. T.; Humphrey, N. F.; Lazar, B.

    2004-12-01

    We present a suite of observations that elucidate the subglacial and englacial conditions leading to an eight fold speed-up of a valley glacier. Data were collected on the 7.5 km long temperate Bench Glacier, Chugach Mountains, Alaska. We documented the speed-up event, which lasted for approximately one week of June, with data that include: 1) subglacial water pressure measured in a grid of 16 closely spaced boreholes to the bed; 2) water pressure measured in an additional 31 boreholes at 14 locations spanning the length of the glacier; 3) discharge of the terminus outlet stream; 4) GPS measurements of surface velocity and elevation at 4 locations spaced along the glacier; 5) optical surveys of the velocity and uplift of a network of 24 stakes; 5) vertical strain along two boreholes; 6) borehole slug and pump tests; and, 7) direct observation of englacial and subglacial water flow via borehole video camera. The speed-up event consisted of a two stage velocity increase to a maximum level eight times the background deformational velocity. The speed-up was associated a slight drop in subglacial water pressure (not a pressure rise). Numerous anomalous events occurred in conjunction with the accelerated sliding, for example: pressure variations that were unusually uniform over space, surface uplift due to bed separation, and an episode of massive up-welling and refreezing of englacial waters. Our interpretation of the speed-up cycle is that it began with an initial enhanced sliding event that propagated up-glacier as an insatiability within a thin but widespread layer of subglacial water. After a small displacement, stability was regained and sliding temporarily terminated. This initial event, however, initiated connections between the bed and a large volume of englacial water contained within void spaces, which caused widespread basal flooding, bed separation, and resumed sliding. Sliding accelerated until well developed drainage pathways were established, leading to

  20. Reconstructing Glaciers on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hubbard, A., II; Brough, S.; Hubbard, B. P.

    2015-12-01

    Mars' mid-latitudes host a substantial volume of ice, equivalent to a ~1 - 2.5 m-thick global layer or the sum of Earth's glaciers and ice caps outside of Antarctica and Greenland. These deposits are the remnants of what is believed to have been a once far larger 'ice age', culminating in a last martian glacial maximum. Despite the identification of >1,300 glacier-like forms (GLFs) - the first order component of Mars' glacial landsystem - in Mars' mid-latitudes, little is known about their composition, dynamics or former extent. Here, we reconstruct the former 3D extent of a well-studied GLF located in eastern Hellas Planitia. We combine high-resolution geomorphic and topographic data, obtained from the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera, to reconstruct the GLF's former limits. We then apply a perfect plasticity rheological model, to generate multiple flow-parallel ice-surface transects. These are combined with the GLF's boundary to guide interpolation using ArcGIS' 'Topo to Raster' function to produce a continuous 3D surface for the reconstructed former GLF. Our results indicate that, since its reconstructed 'recent maximum' extent, the GLF's volume has reduced by 0.31 km3 and its area by 6.85 km2, or 70%. On-going research is addressing the degree to which this change is typical of Mars' full GLF population.

  1. Polythermal Glacier Hydrology: A Review

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Irvine-Fynn, Tristram D. L.; Hodson, Andrew J.; Moorman, Brian J.; Vatne, Geir; Hubbard, Alun L.

    2011-11-01

    The manner by which meltwater drains through a glacier is critical to ice dynamics, runoff characteristics, and water quality. However, much of the contemporary knowledge relating to glacier hydrology has been based upon, and conditioned by, understanding gleaned from temperate valley glaciers. Globally, a significant proportion of glaciers and ice sheets exhibit nontemperate thermal regimes. The recent, growing concern over the future response of polar glaciers and ice sheets to forecasts of a warming climate and lengthening summer melt season necessitates recognition of the hydrological processes in these nontemperate ice masses. It is therefore timely to present an accessible review of the scientific progress in glacial hydrology where nontemperate conditions are dominant. This review provides an appraisal of the glaciological literature from nontemperate glaciers, examining supraglacial, englacial, and subglacial environments in sequence and their role in hydrological processes within glacierized catchments. In particular, the variability and complexity in glacier thermal regimes are discussed, illustrating how a unified model of drainage architecture is likely to remain elusive due to structural controls on the presence of water. Cold ice near glacier surfaces may reduce meltwater flux into the glacier interior, but observations suggest that the transient thermal layer of near surface ice holds a hydrological role as a depth-limited aquifer. Englacial flowpaths may arise from the deep incision of supraglacial streams or the propagation of hydrofractures, forms which are readily able to handle varied meltwater discharge or act as locations for water storage, and result in spatially discrete delivery of water to the subglacial environment. The influence of such drainage routes on seasonal meltwater release is explored, with reference to summer season upwellings and winter icing formation. Moreover, clear analogies emerge between nontemperate valley glacier and

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2007-01-01

    Alpine glaciers have generally receded during the past century (post-“Little Ice Age”) because of climate warming (Oerlemans and others, 1998; Mann and others, 1999; Dyurgerov and Meier, 2000; Grove, 2001). This general retreat has accelerated since the mid 1970s, when a shift in atmospheric circulation occurred (McCabe and Fountain, 1995; Dyurgerov and Meier, 2000). The loss in glacier cover has had several profound effects. First, the shrinkage of glaciers results in a net increase in stream flow, typically in late summer when water supplies are at the lowest levels (Fountain and Tangborn, 1985). This additional water is important to ecosystems (Hall and Fagre, 2003) and to human water needs (Tangborn, 1980). However, if shrinkage continues, the net contribution to stream flow will diminish, and the effect upon these benefactors will be adverse. Glacier shrinkage is also a significant factor in current sea level rise (Meier, 1984; Dyurgerov and Meier, 2000). Second, many of the glaciers in the West Coast States are located on stratovolcanoes, and continued recession will leave oversteepened river valleys. These valleys, once buttressed by ice are now subject to failure, creating conditions for lahars (Walder and Driedger, 1994; O’Connor and others, 2001). Finally, reduction or loss of glaciers reduce or eliminate glacial activity as an important geomorphic process on landscape evolution and alters erosion rates in high alpine areas (Hallet and others, 1996). Because of the importance of glaciers to studies of climate change, hazards, and landscape modification, glacier inventories have been published for Alaska (Manley, in press), China (http://wdcdgg.westgis.ac.cn/DATABASE/Glacier/Glacier.asp), Nepal (Mool and others, 2001), Switzerland (Paul and others, 2002), and the Tyrolian Alps of Austria (Paul, 2002), among other locales. To provide the necessary data for assessing the magnitude and rate of glacier change in the American West, exclusive of Alaska

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2011-12-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-12-01

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

  5. Beardmore Glacier proposals wanted

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Proposals for research projects to be conducted in the upper Beardmore Glacier area of Antarctica during the 1985-1986 field season are being accepted by t h e National Science Foundation (NSF) through August 15. Later proposal submissions should be discussed with the appropriate program managers (see below).A temporary camp with helicopter support will be established in the region. Occupation by scientific parties will likely be between mid-November 1985 and mid-January 1986. Transportation in the field will be by UH1-N twin-engine Huey helicopters (with a range of approximately 185 km) and by motor toboggans. Satellite tent camps will be established within the range of the helicopters. The exact position of the main camp will be determined in November. Likely candidates, however, are Buckley Island Quadrangle, in the area of the Walcott Névé or the Bowden Névé, near Coalsack Bluff or Mount Sirius.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  7. Observing Changes in Near-Polar Glaciers in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barrand, Nicholas E.; Machguth, Horst; Hagen, Jon Ove

    2013-06-01

    Approximately 50 researchers attended the Ice2sea North/South Glacier Workshop at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS). The aim of the workshop was to highlight the importance of changes in Northern and Southern Hemisphere near-polar glacier systems, which are subject to rapid climate warming from the atmosphere and ocean. Other goals of the workshop were to identify the observations required to understand the changes in these glacier systems and to determine difficulties and opportunities for making future projections. The meeting also served to bring together a new community of researchers working on similar glaciological problems in distinct geographic regions (e.g., the Arctic, including Alaska; Patagonia; and the Antarctic Peninsula). Full details of the workshop agenda and organizing committee can be found in the workshop report at http://www.ice2sea.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Ice2sea_NSWorkshop_FINALREPORT_nosummary.pdf.

  8. Alaska Resource Data File, Noatak Quadrangle, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grybeck, Donald J.; Dumoulin, Julie A.

    2006-01-01

    This report gives descriptions of the mineral occurrences in the Noatak 1:250,000-scale quadrangle, Alaska. The data presented here are maintained as part of a statewide database on mines, prospects and mineral occurrences throughout Alaska.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1998-01-01

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

  10. Biogeochemistry of glacial runoff along the Gulf of Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-04-01

    Glaciers and ice sheets represent the second largest reservoir of water in the global hydrologic system and glacier ecosystems cover 10% of the Earth, however the biogeochemistry of glacier discharge has not been well characterized. Preliminary investigations have shown that runoff from glaciers can be an important contributor of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and macro- and micro- nutrients such as P and Fe to downstream aquatic ecosystems. There is also mounting evidence that glacier ecosystems may be a source of anthropogenically derived constituents such as fossil fuel combustion by-products and persistent organic pollutants that are deposited in precipitation and released in melting glacier ice. As a result, it is critical to develop our understanding of glacial biogeochemistry, particularly in near-shore marine ecosystems along glacially-dominated coastal margins that receive large volumes of glacial runoff. To examine the spatial and temporal variability in the biogeochemical properties of glacial runoff, we sampled snow, ice melt, and glacial runoff at the Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau, Alaska during the summer of 2012. Mendenhall Glacier extends from near-sea level to >1700 m.a.s.l. and encompasses ~120 km2 of the 3900 km2 Juneau Icefield. The main sub-glacial drainage channel was sampled weekly throughout the glacier melt season (May-October) for a suite of physical (temperature, conductivity, suspended sediment) and biogeochemical (C, N, P, Fe and trace metals) parameters. In addition, we did opportunistic sampling of snow in the glacier accumulation zone and supra-glacial meltwater streams on the glacier surface. We also analyzed particulate and dissolved Hg in glacial runoff to quantify the export of Hg to downstream aquatic ecosystems. Preliminary results show that concentrations of dissolved organic carbon in snow, ice melt, and sub-glacial runoff were typically low (<0.5 mg C/L) and not well correlated with discharge. Recent research has shown that

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-12-01

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

  12. Ocean Observing System Demonstrated in Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schoch, G. Carl; Chao, Yi

    2010-05-01

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

  13. Glacier Sensitivity Across the Andes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2010-12-01

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

  14. Modelling Greenland Outlet Glaciers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    vanderVeen, Cornelis; Abdalati, Waleed (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

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

  15. Aletsch Glacier, Switzerland

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    Aletsch Glacier, the largest glacier of Europe, covers more than 120 square kilometers (more than 45 square miles)in southern Switzerland. At its eastern extremity lies a glacierlake, Mdrjelensee (2,350 meters/7,711 feet above sea level). To the west rises Aletschhorn (4,195 meters/13,763 feet), which was first climbed in 1859. The Rhone River flows along the southern flank of the mountains.

    This image was acquired on July 23, 2001 by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA's Terra satellite. With its 14 spectral bands from the visible to the thermal infrared wavelength region, and its high spatial resolution of 15 to 90 meters (about 50 to 300 feet), ASTER will image Earth for the next 6 years to map and monitor the changing surface of our planet. ASTER is one of five Earth-observing instruments launched December 18, 1999, on NASA's Terra satellite. The instrument was built by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. A joint U.S./Japan science team is responsible for validation and calibration of the instrument and the data products.

    The broad spectral coverage and high spectral resolution of ASTER will provide scientists in numerous disciplines with critical information for surface mapping, and monitoring dynamic conditions and temporal change. Example applications are: monitoring glacial advances and retreats; monitoring potentially active volcanoes; identifying crop stress; determining cloud morphology and physical properties; wetlands evaluation; thermal pollution monitoring; coral reef degradation; surface temperature mapping of soils and geology; and measuring surface heat balance.

    Dr. Anne Kahle at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, is the U.S. Science team leader; Bjorn Eng of JPL is the project manager. The Terra mission is part of NASA's Earth Science Enterprise, a long-term research and technology program designed to examine Earth's land, oceans, atmosphere, ice and life as

  16. Monitoring Popocatepetl volcano's glaciers (Mexico): case study of glacier extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Delgado, H.; Julio, P.; Huggel, C.; Brugman, M.

    2003-04-01

    Popocatépetl volcano is located 60 km southeast of Mexico City and is one of the three ice-clad volcanoes in Mexico. The two glaciers of Popocatépetl became extinct after a strong retreat due to the combination of at least three causes: global change, change in regional meteorological conditions (induced by the vicinity to highly polluted areas) and local enforcement (namely volcanic eruption). Glacier dimensions of Popocatépetl glaciers have been measured by photogrammetric means, and even though continuous monitoring was not feasible for decades, in recent years availability of aerial photographs allowed a better documentation of glacier areal changes. The first inventory made in 1958 threw an areal extent of 0.89 km2. A second inventory of the areal extent of the two small glaciers of Popocatépetl in 1982 reported 0.56 km2. Average retreat rate resulted nearly 14,000 m2/year. An areal measurement for 1996 resulted in an-order-of-magnitude smaller retreat rate (more than 1,500 m2/year). In early 1997, the retreat rate was nearly 12,500 m2/year, an order of magnitude similar as that of the 1958-1982 period. This scheme changed strongly in the following years when retreat rate was twice in 1998 and more than 7 times greater in 1999. By the end of the year 2000, the retreat rate remained in the same order of magnitude as in early 1999. Since the year 2000 and up to the present, the glaciers are just a series of independent ice masses (seracs) and the bedrock is seen in between them. GPR determinations made in 1995 showed a 40 m average ice thickness. During ice drilling in the year 2000 at nearly the same spot where GPR determinations were made in 1995, a thickness of 4 m was found. Therefore, glacier shrinkage has been documented not only by areal restriction but also by strong changes in thickness. The strong retreat experienced by Popocatépetl’s glaciers along the last decades, were possibly due to global climatic enforcement and proximity to industrial

  17. From Glaciers to Icebergs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Wendy

    I will describe works from a collaboration between physics and glaciology that grew out of interactions at the Computations in Science seminar Leo Kadanoff organized at the University of Chicago. The first project considers the interaction between ocean waves and Antarctic ice shelves, large floating portions of ice formed by glacial outflows. Back-of-envelop calculation and seismic sensor data suggest that crevasses may be distributed within an ice shelf to shield it from wave energy. We also examine numerical scenarios in which changes in environmental forcing causes the ice shelf to fail catastrophically. The second project investigates the aftermath of iceberg calving off glacier terminus in Greenland using data recorded via time-lapse camera and terrestrial radar. Our observations indicate that the mélange of icebergs within the fjord experiences widespread jamming during a calving event and therefore is always close to being in a jammed state during periods of terminus quiescence. Joint work with Jason Amundson, Ivo R. Peters, Julian Freed Brown, Nicholas Guttenberg, Justin C Burton, L. Mac Cathles, Ryan Cassotto, Mark Fahnestock, Kristopher Darnell, Martin Truffer, Dorian S. Abbot and Douglas MacAyeal. Kadanoff Session DCMP.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2011-01-01

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

  19. Arctic polynya and glacier interactions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Edwards, Laura

    2013-04-01

    Major uncertainties surround future estimates of sea level rise attributable to mass loss from the polar ice sheets and ice caps. Understanding changes across the Arctic is vital as major potential contributors to sea level, the Greenland Ice Sheet and the ice caps and glaciers of the Canadian Arctic archipelago, have experienced dramatic changes in recent times. Most ice mass loss is currently focused at a relatively small number of glacier catchments where ice acceleration, thinning and calving occurs at ocean margins. Research suggests that these tidewater glaciers accelerate and iceberg calving rates increase when warming ocean currents increase melt on the underside of floating glacier ice and when adjacent sea ice is removed causing a reduction in 'buttressing' back stress. Thus localised changes in ocean temperatures and in sea ice (extent and thickness) adjacent to major glacial catchments can impact hugely on the dynamics of, and hence mass lost from, terrestrial ice sheets and ice caps. Polynyas are areas of open water within sea ice which remain unfrozen for much of the year. They vary significantly in size (~3 km2 to > ~50,000 km2 in the Arctic), recurrence rates and duration. Despite their relatively small size, polynyas play a vital role in the heat balance of the polar oceans and strongly impact regional oceanography. Where polynyas develop adjacent to tidewater glaciers their influence on ocean circulation and water temperatures may play a major part in controlling subsurface ice melt rates by impacting on the water masses reaching the calving front. Areas of open water also play a significant role in controlling the potential of the atmosphere to carry moisture, as well as allowing heat exchange between the atmosphere and ocean, and so can influence accumulation on (and hence thickness of) glaciers and ice caps. Polynya presence and size also has implications for sea ice extent and therefore potentially the buttressing effect on neighbouring

  20. Early 21st Century Area and Mass Change of Alpine Glaciers in Western Northern America

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Menounos, B.; Pelto, B. M.; Fountain, A. G.; Gardner, A. S.; Beedle, M. J.; Riedel, J. L.; Marshall, S. J.; Demuth, M. N.; Vogt, R.; Pelto, M. S.; McNeil, C.; Anslow, F. S.

    2015-12-01

    Exceptionally warm, dry conditions in the Pacific Northwest and southern latitudes of western Canada commenced in 2013 and continue today. The winter of 2014/2015, for example, saw freezing levels in the Cascade Mountains rise to elevations not seen in the instrumental record. Record thin snow packs have similarly occurred for many regions with some mountains lacking any measurable snow cover at the end of the accumulation season. Our study objectives are twofold: First, we quantify recent changes in glacier area and mass and evaluate these changes against longer term records from the region. Second, we address the importance of extreme mass change events for long-term glacier fluctuations and mass change. Our data are derived from air- (LiDAR and 1-m resolution aerial photographs) and space-borne platforms (Landsat 8, WorldView) in addition to direct mass balance measurements of key glaciers throughout the region. WorldView stereo imagery is currently being acquired for select glaciers where we routinely fly LiDAR surveys. Use of varied methods for mass and area change assessment allows us to quantify methodological biases and uncertainties. Long term trends in glacier shrinkage are controlled by warming air temperatures whereas precipitation is an important factor in decadal variability. Glacier retreat, particularly in maritime environments, slowed during the period 2005-2013 relative to retreat rates observed during 1985-2005. Retreat rates for the past two years, however, have strongly accelerated. Our results from Washington, British Columbia and Southeast Alaska indicate that 2014/2015 will be a record year of glacier mass and area loss for the region.

  1. Glacier Mass Balance measurements in Bhutan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jackson, Miriam; Tenzin, Sangay; Tashi, Tshering

    2014-05-01

    Long-term glacier measurements are scarce in the Himalayas, partly due to lack of resources as well as inaccessibility of most of the glaciers. There are over 600 glaciers in Bhutan in the Eastern Himalayas, but no long-term measurements. However, such studies are an important component of hydrological modelling, and especially relevant to the proposed expansion of hydropower resources in this area. Glaciological studies are also critical to understanding the risk of jøkulhlaups or GLOFS (glacier lake outburst floods) from glaciers in this region. Glacier mass balance measurements have been initiated on a glacier in the Chamkhar Chu region in central Bhutan by the Department of Hydro-Met Services in co-operation with the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate. Chamkhar Chu is the site of two proposed hydropower plants that will each generate over 700 MW, although the present and future hydrological regimes in this basin, and especially the contribution from glaciers, are not well-understood at present. There are about 94 glaciers in the Chamkhar Chhu basin and total glacier area is about 75 sq. km. The glaciers are relatively accessible for the Himalayas, most of them can be reached after only 4-5 days walk from the nearest road. One of the largest, Thana glacier, has been chosen as a mass balance glacier and measurements were initiated in 2013. The glacier area is almost 5 sq. km. and the elevation range is 500 m (5071 m a.s.l. to 5725 m a.s.l.) making it suitable as a benchmark glacier. Preliminary measurements on a smaller, nearby glacier that was visited in 2012 and 2013 showed 1 m of firn loss (about 0.6 m w.eq.) over 12 months.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Curran, Janet H.

    2007-01-01

    Hydrologic and hydraulic updates for Duck Creek and the lower part of Jordan Creek in Juneau, Alaska, included computation of new estimates of peak streamflow magnitudes and new water-surface profiles for the 10-, 50-, 100-, and 500-year floods. Computations for the 2-, 5-, 10-, 25-, 50-, 100-, 200-, and 500-year recurrence interval flood magnitudes for both streams used data from U.S. Geological Survey stream-gaging stations weighted with regional regression equations for southeast Alaska. The study area for the hydraulic model consisted of three channels: Duck Creek from Taku Boulevard near the stream's headwaters to Radcliffe Road near the end of the Juneau International Airport runway, an unnamed tributary to Duck Creek from Valley Boulevard to its confluence with Duck Creek, and Jordan Creek from a pedestrian bridge upstream from Egan Drive to Crest Street at Juneau International Airport. Field surveys throughout the study area provided channel geometry for 206 cross sections, and geometric and hydraulic characteristics for 29 culverts and 15 roadway, driveway, or pedestrian bridges. Hydraulic modeling consisted of application of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Hydrologic Engineering Center River Analysis System (HEC-RAS) for steady-state flow at the selected recurrence intervals using an assumed high tide of 20 feet and roughness coefficients refined by calibration to measured water-surface elevations from a 2- to 5-year flood that occurred on November 21, 2005. Model simulation results identify inter-basin flow from Jordan Creek to the southeast at Egan Drive and from Duck Creek to Jordan Creek downstream from Egan Drive at selected recurrence intervals.

  3. Longitudinal surface structures (flowstripes) on Antarctic glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-03-01

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

  4. Get Close to Glaciers with Satellite Imagery.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hall, Dorothy K.

    1986-01-01

    Discusses the use of remote sensing from satellites to monitor glaciers. Discusses efforts to use remote sensing satellites of the Landsat series for examining the global distribution, mass, balance, movements, and dynamics of the world's glaciers. Includes several Landsat images of various glaciers. (TW)

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-12-01

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

  6. Erosion by an Alpine glacier.

    PubMed

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

    2015-10-01

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

  7. Temperature-index modeling of mass balance and runoff in the Valdez Glacier catchment in 2012 and 2013

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davis, Jennifer L.

    Glaciers play an important role in both storage and generation of runoff within individual watersheds. The Valdez Glacier catchment (342 km2), located in southern Alaska in the Chugach mountains off of Prince William Sound, is characterized by large annual volumes of rain- and snowfall. As Valdez Glacier and other glaciers within the catchment (comprising 58% of the catchment area) continue to melt in a warming climate, it is unclear how the runoff will be affected. Temperature-index modeling is one method used to estimate glacier mass balance and runoff in highly glacierized catchments, and may be suitable for predicting future runoff regimes. In this study, we used a combination of field measurements (air temperature, glacier mass balance, streamflow, and ground-penetrating radar (GPR)-derived snow water equivalent (SWE) from a parallel study) and modeled climate data (PRISM) to a) calibrate a temperature-index model to glacier mass balance in 2012; b) validate the model to laser altimetry; and c) calibrate a temperature-index model to runoff measurements in fall of 2012 and in spring, summer and fall of 2013. We calibrated the snow-radiation coefficient (rsnow), ice-radiation coefficient (rice), and melt factor (MF) of the temperature-index model to glacier mass balance measurements from 2012. Using the calibrated- rsnow, r ice, and MF (i.e. rsnow, rice, and MF = 0.20, 0.50 and 4.0, respectively), we calculated 2012 annual glacier mass balance (Ba) at 0.05 +/- 0.49 meters water equivalent (m w.eq.). We next validated the model to 2012 laser altimetry annual glacier mass balance estimates (Ba = 0.20 +/- 0.6 m w.eq.). We then modeled glacier mass balance in 2013 using rsnow, rice, and MF from the 2012 calibration. The model underestimated summer glacier mass balance in 2013, resulting in annual glacier mass balance (Ba = 0.55 m w.eq.) that did not fall within the 2013 laser altimetry annual balance estimate (Ba = -1.15 +0.29/-0.30 m w.eq.). We therefore re

  8. Glaciers as a source of ancient and labile organic matter to the marine environment.

    PubMed

    Hood, Eran; Fellman, Jason; Spencer, Robert G M; Hernes, Peter J; Edwards, Rick; D'Amore, David; Scott, Durelle

    2009-12-24

    Riverine organic matter supports of the order of one-fifth of estuarine metabolism. Coastal ecosystems are therefore sensitive to alteration of both the quantity and lability of terrigenous dissolved organic matter (DOM) delivered by rivers. The lability of DOM is thought to vary with age, with younger, relatively unaltered organic matter being more easily metabolized by aquatic heterotrophs than older, heavily modified material. This view is developed exclusively from work in watersheds where terrestrial plant and soil sources dominate streamwater DOM. Here we characterize streamwater DOM from 11 coastal watersheds on the Gulf of Alaska that vary widely in glacier coverage (0-64 per cent). In contrast to non-glacial rivers, we find that the bioavailability of DOM to marine microorganisms is significantly correlated with increasing (14)C age. Moreover, the most heavily glaciated watersheds are the source of the oldest ( approximately 4 kyr (14)C age) and most labile (66 per cent bioavailable) DOM. These glacial watersheds have extreme runoff rates, in part because they are subject to some of the highest rates of glacier volume loss on Earth. We estimate the cumulative flux of dissolved organic carbon derived from glaciers contributing runoff to the Gulf of Alaska at 0.13 +/- 0.01 Tg yr(-1) (1 Tg = 10(12) g), of which approximately 0.10 Tg is highly labile. This indicates that glacial runoff is a quantitatively important source of labile reduced carbon to marine ecosystems. Moreover, because glaciers and ice sheets represent the second largest reservoir of water in the global hydrologic system, our findings indicate that climatically driven changes in glacier volume could alter the age, quantity and reactivity of DOM entering coastal oceans. PMID:20033045

  9. Mesoscale Icefield Breezes over Athbasca Glacier.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Conway, J. P.; Helgason, W.; Pomeroy, J. W.; Sicart, J. E.

    2015-12-01

    Atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) dynamics over glaciers are of great interest as they can modify the response of glacier mass balance to large scale climate forcing. A key feature of the glacier ABL is formation of katabatic winds driven by turbulent sensible heat exchange with a cooler underlying ice surface. These winds can markedly alter the spatio-temporal distribution of air temperature over glacier surfaces from the environmental lapse rate, which in turn affects the distribution of melt. An intensive field campaign was conducted over 13 days in June 2015 at Athabasca Glacier, an outlet of Columbia Icefield in the Rocky Mountains of Canada. Multiple automatic weather stations, eddy covariance systems, distributed temperature sensors, SODAR and kite profiling systems were used to characterise how the glacier ABL evolved spatially and temporally, how the differences in glacier ABL properties were related to valley and regional circulation and what effect these differences had on surface lapse rates. In general strong daytime down-glacier winds were observed over the glacier. These winds extended well beyond the glacier into the proglacial area and through the depth of lower ice-free valley. On most days wind speed was consistent or increasing through to the top of the above-glacier profiles (100 to 200 m), indicating a quite well mixed surface boundary layer. A wind speed maximum in the lowest few metres above the glacier surface, characteristic of a katabatic wind, was only observed on one day. The dominant circulation within the valley appears to be what could be termed an 'icefield breeze'; strong down-glacier winds driven by mesoscale pressure gradients that are set up by differential suface heating over the non-glaciated valleys and much the larger Columbia Icefield upstream of the glacier. The effect of the different circulations on lapse rates will be explored with a view to developing variable lapse rates for modelling glacier mass balance.

  10. Glacier recession in Iceland and Austria

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hall, Dorothy K.; Williams, Richard S., Jr.; Bayr, Klaus J.

    1992-01-01

    It has been possible to measure glacier recession on the basis of Landsat data, in conjunction with comparisons of the magnitude of recession of a glacier margin with in situ measurements at fixed points along the same margin. Attention is presently given to the cases of Vatnajokull ice cap, in Iceland, and the Pasterze Glacier, in Austria, on the basis of satellite data from 1973-1987 and 1984-1990, respectively. Indications of a trend toward negative mass balance are noted. Nevertheless, while most of the world's small glaciers have been receding, some are advancing either due to local climate or the tidewater glacier cycle.

  11. Glacier recession in Iceland and Austria

    SciTech Connect

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

    1992-03-01

    It has been possible to measure glacier recession on the basis of Landsat data, in conjunction with comparisons of the magnitude of recession of a glacier margin with in situ measurements at fixed points along the same margin. Attention is presently given to the cases of Vatnajokull ice cap, in Iceland, and the Pasterze Glacier, in Austria, on the basis of satellite data from 1973-1987 and 1984-1990, respectively. Indications of a trend toward negative mass balance are noted. Nevertheless, while most of the world's small glaciers have been receding, some are advancing either due to local climate or the tidewater glacier cycle. 21 refs.

  12. Indicators of recent environmental change in Alaska

    SciTech Connect

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

    1997-12-31

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

  13. The contribution of glacier melt to streamflow

    SciTech Connect

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

    2012-09-13

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

  14. Spatially heterogeneous wastage of Himalayan glaciers

    PubMed Central

    Fujita, Koji; Nuimura, Takayuki

    2011-01-01

    We describe volumetric changes in three benchmark glaciers in the Nepal Himalayas on which observations have been made since the 1970s. Compared with the global mean of glacier mass balance, the Himalayan glaciers showed rapid wastage in the 1970s–1990s, but similar wastage in the last decade. In the last decade, a glacier in an arid climate showed negative but suppressed mass balance compared with the period 1970s–1990s, whereas two glaciers in a humid climate showed accelerated wastage. A mass balance model with downscaled gridded datasets depicts the fate of the observed glaciers. We also show a spatially heterogeneous distribution of glacier wastage in the Asian highlands, even under the present-day climate warming. PMID:21808042

  15. Four+ Years of Measurements from the Mendenhall Glacier Terminus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heavner, M.; Fatland, D. R.

    2012-12-01

    We describe the instrumentation, power, communications, and lessons learned from ongoing four+ years of measurements at the terminus of Mendenhall Glacier. In this presentation we focus on the most successful microserver deployment. The microserver is a simple rugged computer with a radio modem that can survive and operate outdoors in harsh environments like Antarctica. The system is called a microserver because of the networking capabilities, particularly as it may act as anchor points for localized lightweight sensor networks. SEAMONSTER, the SouthEast Alaska MOnitoring Network for Science, Technology, Education and Research, is a demonstration sensor web effort. The microserver design for SEAMONSTER is intended to provide general capabilities that could be used in harsh environments specifically for cryospheric observations. At the Mendenhall terminus the observations included meteorologic data and repeat digital photography. Other SEAMONSTER stations included snow accumulation and density, precision GPS, seismic, water pressure, and other measurements. Power generation at the Mendenhall deployment is both solar and wind.

  16. Mountain Glaciers and Ice Caps

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2011-01-01

    Projections of future rates of mass loss from mountain glaciers and ice caps in the Arctic focus primarily on projections of changes in the surface mass balance. Current models are not yet capable of making realistic forecasts of changes in losses by calving. Surface mass balance models are forced with downscaled output from climate models driven by forcing scenarios that make assumptions about the future rate of growth of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. Thus, mass loss projections vary considerably, depending on the forcing scenario used and the climate model from which climate projections are derived. A new study in which a surface mass balance model is driven by output from ten general circulation models (GCMs) forced by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) A1B emissions scenario yields estimates of total mass loss of between 51 and 136 mm sea-level equivalent (SLE) (or 13% to 36% of current glacier volume) by 2100. This implies that there will still be substantial glacier mass in the Arctic in 2100 and that Arctic mountain glaciers and ice caps will continue to influence global sea-level change well into the 22nd century.

  17. UV - GLACIER NATIONAL PARK MT

    EPA Science Inventory

    Brewer 134 is located in Glacier NP, measuring ultraviolet solar radiation. Irradiance and column ozone are derived from this data. Ultraviolet solar radiation is measured with a Brewer Mark IV, single-monochrometer, spectrophotometer manufactured by SCI-TEC Instruments, Inc. of ...

  18. Microbial Habitat on Kilimanjaro's Glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ponce, A.; Beaty, S. M.; Lee, C.; Lee, C.; Noell, A. C.; Stam, C. N.; Connon, S. A.

    2011-03-01

    Kilimanjaro glaciers captured a history of microbial diversity and abundance of supraglacial habitats. We show that a majority of bacterial clones, as determined by bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequencing, are most closely related to those isolated from cold-water environments.

  19. The current disequilibrium of North Cascade glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pelto, Mauri S.

    2006-03-01

    Three lines of evidence indicate that North Cascade (Washington, USA) glaciers are currently in a state of disequilibrium. First, annual balance measured on nine glaciers yields a mean cumulative balance for the 1984-2004 period of -8.58 m water equivalent (w.e.), a net loss of ice thickness exceeding 9.5 m. This is a significant loss for glaciers that average 30-50 m in thickness, representing 18-32% of their entire volume.Second, longitudinal profiles completed in 1984 and 2002 on 12 North Cascade glaciers confirm this volume change indicating a loss of -5.7 to -6.3 m in thickness (5.0-5.6 m w.e.) between 1984 and 2002, agreeing well with the measured cumulative balance of -5.52 m w.e. for the same period. The change in thickness on several glaciers has been equally substantial in the accumulation zone and the ablation zone, indicating that there is no point to which the glacier can retreat to achieve equilibrium. Substantial thinning along the entire length of a glacier is the key indicator that a glacier is in disequilibrium.Third, North Cascade glacier retreat is rapid and ubiquitous. All 47 glaciers monitored are currently undergoing significant retreat or, in the case of four, have disappeared. Two of the glaciers where mass balance observations were begun, Spider Glacier and Lewis Glacier, have disappeared. The retreat since 1984 of eight Mount Baker glaciers that were all advancing in 1975 has averaged 297 m. These observations indicate broad regional continuity in glacial response to climate.

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Alaska Review of Social and Economic Conditions, 1987

    1987-01-01

    This review describes Alaska's economic boom of the early 1980s, the current recession, and economic projections for the 1990s. Alaska's economy is largely influenced by oil prices, since petroleum revenues make up 80% of the state government's unrestricted general fund revenues. Expansive state spending was responsible for most of Alaska's…

  1. Alaska Natives & the Land.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Arnold, Robert D.; And Others

    Pursuant to the Native land claims within Alaska, this compilation of background data and interpretive materials relevant to a fair resolution of the Alaska Native problem seeks to record data and information on the Native peoples; the land and resources of Alaska and their uses by the people in the past and present; land ownership; and future…

  2. Sea otter studies in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bodkin, J.L.; Kloecker, K.A.; Esslinger, G.G.; Monson, D.H.; DeGroot, J.D.; Doherty, J.

    2002-01-01

    Following translocations to the outer coast of Southeast Alaska in 1965, sea otters have been expanding their range and increasing in abundance. We began conducting surveys for sea otters in Cross Sound, Icy Strait, and Glacier Bay, Alaska in 1994, following initial reports (in 1993) of their presence in Glacier Bay. Since 1995, the number of sea otters in Glacier Bay proper has increased from around 5 to more than 1500. Between 1993 and 1997 sea otters were apparently only occasional visitors to Glacier Bay, but in 1998 long-term residence was established as indicated by the presence of adult females and their dependent pups. Sea otter distribution is limited to the Lower Bay, south of Sandy Cove, and is not continuous within that area. Concentrations occur in the vicinity of Sita Reef and Boulder Island and between Pt. Carolus and Rush Pt. on the west side of the Bay (Figure 1). We describe the diet of sea otters during 2001 in Glacier Bay based on visual observations of prey during 456 successful forage dives. In Glacier Bay, diet consisted of 62% clam, 15% mussel, 9% crab, 7% unidentified, 4& urchins, and 4% other. Most prey recovered by sea otters are commercially, socially, or ecologically important species. Species of clam include Saxidomus gigantea, Protothaca staminea, and Mya truncata. Urchins are primarily Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis and the mussel is Modiolus modiolus. Crabs include species of three genera: Cancer, Chinoecetes, and Telmessus. Although we characterize diet at broad geographic scales, we found diet to vary between sites separated by as little as several hundred meters. Dietary variation among and within sites can reflect differences in prey availability and individual specialization. We estimated species composition, density, biomass, and sizes of subtidal clams, urchins, and mussels at 9 sites in lower Glacier Bay. All sites were selected based on the presence of abundant clam siphons. Sites were not selected to allow inference to

  3. Virtual Globes and Glacier Research: Integrating research, collaboration, logistics, data archival, and outreach into a single tool

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nolan, M.

    2006-12-01

    Virtual Globes are a paradigm shift in the way earth sciences are conducted. With these tools, nearly all aspects of earth science can be integrated from field science, to remote sensing, to remote collaborations, to logistical planning, to data archival/retrieval, to PDF paper retriebal, to education and outreach. Here we present an example of how VGs can be fully exploited for field sciences, using research at McCall Glacier, in Arctic Alaska.

  4. OMEGA - an operational glacier monitoring system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pellikka, P. K. E.

    2003-04-01

    Glacier changes reflect local climate changes and are one of the most important direct indicators of global climate change. In general, the glaciers are retreating in Europe, but some glaciers are advancing. However, even in small areas glacier responses can be different. The application of glaciers as indicators requires sufficient amount of glaciers, which is possible only with remote sensing methods. Remote sensing data have been used for glacier monitoring from the late 19th century, first as terrestrial photographs, but later as aerial photographs. A new era began in the 1970’s as optical satellite data became available. Since late 1990’s the glacier monitoring could be performed with numerous satellite and airborne sensors ranging from satellite radar data to airborne laser scanner data. All together, the development of new remote sensing technologies and methods provides many possibilities for studies of glacier features and parameters. The glacier parameters of interest in operational monitoring are the changes of glacier area and volume, and the variation of glacier zones, such as snow, firn and ice. These parameters enable the estimation of relative volume change, AAR and equilibrium line, for example. Operational monitoring involves that the remote sensing data to be used is available continuously, the image processing methods are accurate and the processing chain is developed so that the derivation of the aimed parameters works fluently. The OMEGA project aims at the development of an operational glacier monitoring system applying all the potential remote sensing data. The objectives are to develop workflows and semi-automatic image processing methodologies for different data types in order to retrieve glacier parameters, to construct databases of the study glaciers and to develop the prototype of an operational monitoring system. The test glaciers are Hintereisferner in Austria and Engabreen in Norway. The deliverable of the project is the OMEGA

  5. Glacier area changes in Northern Eurasia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-01-01

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

  6. Glaciers in the Rupal Valley (Nanga Parbat)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schmidt, Susanne; Nüsser, Marcus

    2014-05-01

    The widely discussed controversy about Himalayan glacier changes instigated a current boom in studies on a regional scale. In contrast to often simplified assumptions of general and mostly rapid glacier retreat, recent studies show a more complex pattern with stable, advancing and retreating glaciers. Furthermore, changes of debris covered glaciers are discussed controversial. Due to the great vertical span and steep relief, large ice streams in the Himalaya and Karakoram are often primarily fed by avalanches. Their impact on glacier mass balances is often unconsidered in present studies. However, Hewitt (2014) highlighted the crucial role of snow and ice re-distribution by avalanches for Karakoram glaciers. He used a concept of glacier typology based on different nourishment processes introduced at the beginning of the 20th century. By using this concept, Hewitt classified large glaciers in order to identify the effect of avalanches on the mass balance, because many Karakoram glaciers show low down-wasting or even thickening processes described as the "Karakoram anomaly" (Hewitt 2005). Also in the Nanga Parbat region, the western corner of the High Himalaya, the topography is characterized by steep rock walls with vertical distances up to 4700 m. The debris covered glaciers reach down to 2920 m a.s.l. and are regularly fed by small and large avalanches. Our field based investigations show that the glaciers are characterized by small retreating rates since 1857, when Adolph Schlagintweit has mapped them for the first time; others such as the Raikot Glacier are fluctuating since 1934. Furthermore, the extent of down-wasting varies between different glaciers. By using multi-temporal satellite data, topographical maps, sketches and terrestrial photographs changes of glacier lengths were measured. In order to calculate the down-wasting rates, a digital elevation model (DEM) with a spatial resolution of 30x30 m² was derived from the digitized contour lines of the

  7. Hasty retreat of glaciers in northern Patagonia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paul, Frank; Mölg, Nico

    2014-05-01

    Mapping glacier extent from optical satellite data has become a most efficient tool to create or update glacier inventories and determine glacier changes over time. A most valuable archive in this regard is the nearly 30-year time series of Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) data that is freely available (already orthorectified) for most regions in the world from the USGS. One region with a most dramatic glacier shrinkage and a missing systematic assessment of changes, is the Palena province in Chile, located south of Puerto Montt in northern Patagonia. A major bottleneck for accurate determination of glacier changes in this region is related to the huge amounts of snow falling in this very maritime region, hiding the perimeter of glaciers throughout the year. Consequently, we found only three years with Landsat scenes that can be used to map glacier extent through time. We here present the results of a glacier change analysis from six Landsat scenes (path-rows 232-89/90) acquired in 1985, 2000 and 2011 covering the Palena district in Chile and neighbouring regions. Clean glacier ice was mapped automatically with a standard technique (TM3/TM band ratio) and manual editing was applied to remove wrongly classified lakes and to add debris-covered glacier parts. The digital elevation model (DEM) from ASTER (GDEM2) was used to derive drainage divides, determine glacier specific topographic parameters, and analyse the area changes in regard to topography. The scene from the year 2000 has the best snow conditions and was used to eliminate seasonal snow in the other two scenes by digital combination of the binary glacier masks and neighbourhood analysis. The derived mean relative area loss over the entire study area is 25%, showing a large spatial variability and a strong dependence on elevation. While small mountain glaciers at high elevations and steep slopes show only little change over the 26-year period, ice at low elevations from large valley glaciers shows a dramatic

  8. Modelling the behaviour of tidewater glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nick, Faezeh Maghami

    2006-09-01

    More than half of the annual mass transfer from whole cryosphere to the world's oceans occurs through calving. Uncertainties in predicting future sea level are partly caused by a lack of knowledge of the behaviour of calving glaciers. A better understanding of the factors that control the response of calving glaciers to climate change is needed to interpret the past or predict the future behaviour of these glaciers in a warmer climate. Over the past years, interest in the response of calving glaciers to climate change has increased considarably. Many bservational and modelling studies have been carried out to investigate the dynamics of the calving process and the associated response of the glacier terminus. It has been suggested that calving glaciers are inherently unstable showing a periodic advance and retreat that may be nearly independent of climate. The cycle of slow advance and rapid retreat of calving glaciers is mainly a function of fjord geometry, water depth at the glacier terminus, and sedimentation at the glacier front. Some other studies show that climate acts as a first-order control on the advance/retreat. Hence, the diverse behaviour of calving glaciers is a result of both internal dynamics and climate. In this thesis the dynamics of tidewater glaciers (temperate grounded calving glaciers) and the involved processes such as iceberg calving, basal sliding, and proglacial moraine bank are investigated. A numerical ice-flow model is developed, which simulates the rapid retreat and slow advance of tidewater glaciers very well. To construct a time-evolving numerical model that simulates the behaviour of calving glaciers, it is necessary to formulate realistic calving boundary conditions. Empirical studies provide two different calving schemes, the flotation and the water-depth model. We introduce two numerical ice-flow models using the water-depth and the flotation scheme. The results show that any model in which the loss of ice at the glacier front

  9. Generation of the relationship between glacier area and volume for a tropical glacier in Bolivian Andes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, T.; Kinouchi, T.; Hasegawa, A.; Tsuda, M.; Iwami, Y.; Asaoka, Y.; Mendoza, J.

    2015-12-01

    In Andes, retreat of tropical glaciers is rapid, thus water resources currently available from glacierized catchments would be changed in its volume and temporal variations due to climate change and glacier shrinkage. The relationship between glacier area and volume is difficult to define however which is important to monitor glaciers especially those are remote or inaccessible. Water resources in La Paz and El Alto in Bolivia, strongly depend on the runoff from glacierized headwater catchments in the Cordillera Real, Andes, which is therefore selected as our study region.To predict annual glacier mass balances, PWRI-Distributed Hydrological Model (PWRI-DHM) was applied to simulate runoff from the partially glacierized catchments in high mountains (i.e. Condoriri-Huayna West headwater catchment located in the Cordillera Real, Bolivian Andes). PWRI-DHM is based on tank model concept in a distributed and 4-tank configuration including surface, unsaturated, aquifer, and river course tanks. The model was calibrated and validated with observed meteorological and hydrological data from 2011 to 2014 by considering different phases of precipitation, various runoff components from glacierized and non-glacierized areas, and the retarding effect by glacial lakes and wetlands. The model is then applied with MRI-AGCM outputs from 1987 to 2003 considering the shrinkage of glacier outlines since 1980s derived from Landsat data. Annual glacier mass balance in each 100m-grid was reproduced, with which the glacier area-volume relationship was generated with reasonable initial volume setting. Out study established a method to define the relationship between glacier area and volume by remote sensing information and glacier mass balances simulated by distributed hydrological model. Our results demonstrated that the changing trend of local glacier had a consistency the previous observed glacier area-volume relationship in the Cordillera Real.

  10. Using Metaphorical Models for Describing Glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Felzmann, Dirk

    2014-11-01

    To date, there has only been little conceptual change research regarding conceptions about glaciers. This study used the theoretical background of embodied cognition to reconstruct different metaphorical concepts with respect to the structure of a glacier. Applying the Model of Educational Reconstruction, the conceptions of students and scientists regarding glaciers were analysed. Students' conceptions were the result of teaching experiments whereby students received instruction about glaciers and ice ages and were then interviewed about their understandings. Scientists' conceptions were based on analyses of textbooks. Accordingly, four conceptual metaphors regarding the concept of a glacier were reconstructed: a glacier is a body of ice; a glacier is a container; a glacier is a reflexive body and a glacier is a flow. Students and scientists differ with respect to in which context they apply each conceptual metaphor. It was observed, however, that students vacillate among the various conceptual metaphors as they solve tasks. While the subject context of the task activates a specific conceptual metaphor, within the discussion about the solution, the students were able to adapt their conception by changing the conceptual metaphor. Educational strategies for teaching students about glaciers require specific language to activate the appropriate conceptual metaphors and explicit reflection regarding the various conceptual metaphors.

  11. Remote Sensing of Rock Avalanches onto Glaciers in northwest North America

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Delaney, K. B.; Evans, S. G.

    2011-12-01

    Rock avalanches onto glaciers are a common occurrence in the mountains of northwest North America (Washington, British Columbia, Yukon, and Alaska). The combination of remote sensing and GIS methods allows for data collection and analysis of isolated events at high elevations, over large areas, which would otherwise be difficult to obtain. Utilizing a range of satellite imagery, aerial photos, and digital terrain data, our inventory shows that over 40 events with volumes larger than 1 Mm3 have occurred in this region during the period of 1947-2010. These include the largest event, the July, 2007 Mt. Steele rock avalanche (~80 Mm3) in the Yukon Territory, and the most recent event, the August, 2010 Mt. Meager (~48 Mm3) rock avalanche, British Columbia. We compare resolution and accuracy of digital terrain data obtained from national topographic databases, large-scale photogrammetry and high-resolution LiDAR in obtaining geomorphological characteristics of a number of rock avalanches in the inventory. The geometry of rock avalanches onto glaciers is often characterized by longer run-outs and thinner average depths, compared to rock avalanches with similar volumes on non-glaciated surfaces. This reflects the lower frictional values associated with emplacement over glacial ice and the limited entrainment of additional earth materials. A magnitude and frequency relationship for these events shows that rock avalanches on glaciers occur more frequently in the low magnitude range than rock avalanches of similar volume in non-glaciated areas. Finally, successive satellite images or aerial photos of these events can also be used to track the down-glacier transport of rock avalanche debris on the glacial surface. This data can be used to estimate glacier velocity and together with other remotely sensed data can be used to calculate rock avalanche debris flux in the glacier system.

  12. Future glacier runoff at the global scale

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huss, Matthias; Hock, Regine

    2016-04-01

    Water resources in mountain areas worldwide importantly depend on the runoff contribution by glaciers. Glacial water storage acts as an equilibrating element in the global hydrological cycle on various temporal scales. With ongoing and future glacier retreat a growing concern regarding water supply security in glacier-fed basins arises. However, glacier runoff projections at the regional or global scale are still rare and better models are urgently needed for planning and adaptation measures to cope with a changing seasonal distribution of water yields. Moreover, it is still an open debate in which region "peak water" - the maximum contribution of melting glaciers to runoff - has already been reached, i.e. whether increasing or declining annual runoff volumes must be expected. Here, we present results of a novel global glacier model for calculating the 21st century response of surface mass balance, three-dimensional glacier geometry and monthly water discharge for each individual glacier around the globe. The current surface geometry and thickness distribution for each of the world's roughly 200'000 glaciers is extracted from the Randolph Glacier Inventory and terrain models. Our simulations are driven with 14 Global Circulation Models from the CMIP5 project using the RCP4.5, RCP8.5 and RCP2.6 scenarios. We focus on the timing of peak water from glacierized catchments in all climatic regions of the earth and the corresponding importance of changes in the runoff regime on hydrological stress. The maximum rate of water release from glacial storage is subject to a high spatio-temporal variability depending on glacier characteristics and the transient response to climatic change. Furthermore, we discuss the significance of projected variations in glacier runoff in relation to the hydrology of the world's large-scale drainage basins and population distribution, and highlight 'hot spot' regions where the wastage of current ice volume is particularly relevant.

  13. Glacial runoff strongly influences food webs in Gulf of Alaska fjords

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arimitsu, M.; Piatt, J. F.; Mueter, F. J.

    2015-12-01

    Melting glaciers contribute large volumes of freshwater to the Gulf of Alaska coast. Rates of glacier volume loss have increased markedly in recent decades, raising concern about the eventual loss of glaciers as a source of freshwater in coastal waters. To better understand the influence of glacier melt water on fjord ecosystems, we sampled oceanography, nutrients, zooplankton, forage fish, and seabirds within four fjords in the coastal Gulf of Alaska. We used generalized additive models and geostatistics to identify the range of influence of glacier runoff in fjords of varying estuarine and topographic complexity. We also modeled the responses of chlorophyll a concentration, copepod biomass, fish and seabird abundance to physical, nutrient and biotic predictor variables. Physical and nutrient signatures of glacial runoff extended 10-20 km into coastal fjords. Glacially modified physical gradients and among-fjord differences explained 66% of the variation in phytoplankton abundance, which drives ecosystem structure at higher trophic levels. Copepod, euphausiid, fish and seabird distribution and abundance were also related to environmental gradients that could be traced to glacial freshwater input. Seabird density was predicted by prey availability and silica concentrations, which may indicate upwelling areas where this nutrient is in excess. Similarities in ecosystem structure among fjords were due to influx of cold, fresh, sediment and nutrient laden water, while differences were due to fjord topography and the relative importance of estuarine vs. ocean influences. We anticipate continued changes in the volume and magnitude of glacial runoff will affect coastal marine food webs in the future.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Monnier, S.; Kinnard, C.

    2012-04-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mayer, H.; Herzfeld, U. C.

    2003-12-01

    The Chugach-St.-Elias Mountains in North America hold the largest non-polar connected glaciated area of the world. Most of its larger glaciers are surge-type glaciers. In the summer of 2003, we collected aerial photographic and GPS data over numerous glaciers in the eastern St. Elias Mountains, including the Glacier Bay area. Observed glaciers include Davidson, Casement, McBride, Riggs, Cushing, Carroll, Rendu, Tsirku, Grand Pacific, Melbern, Ferris, Margerie, Johns Hopkins, Lamplugh, Reid, Burroughs, Morse, Muir and Willard Glaciers, of which Carroll, Rendu, Ferris, Grand Pacific, Johns Hopkins and Margerie Glaciers are surge-type glaciers. Our approach utilizes a quantitative analysis of surface patterns, following the principles of structural geology for the analysis of brittle-deformation patterns (manifested in crevasses) and ductile deformation patterns (visible in folded moraines). First results will be presented.

  16. Active seismoelectric exploration of glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kulessa, B.; Murray, T.; Rippin, D.

    2006-04-01

    Repeatable and strong seismoelectric signals were recorded on Glacier de Tsanfleuron, Switzerland, using a vertical sounding geometry. Electromagnetic waves are inferred to be generated by electrokinetic conversion of seismic energy within the snow pack and near the dry-wet ice and ice-bed interfaces. A simple gradient-based scheme allows such electrokinetic interface responses (EIRs) to be isolated from noise. EIRs depend sensitively on the azimuthal orientation of the receiving array of electrical dipoles. Seismoelectric techniques promise to allow mapping even of thin water-bearing strata within or beneath glaciers or frozen ground, estimation of hydraulic or fluid properties of such strata, as well as monitoring of ice fracturing or basal properties and processes at improved spatial resolution.

  17. Attribution of glacier fluctuations to climate change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oerlemans, J.

    2012-04-01

    Glacier retreat is a worlwide phenomenon, which started around the middle of the 19th century. During the period 1800-1850 the number of retreating and advancing glaciers was roughly equal (based on 42 records from different continents). During the period 1850-1900 about 92% of all mountain glaciers became shorter (based on 65 records). After this, the percentage of shrinking glaciers has been around 90% until the present time. The glacier signal is rather coherent over the globe, especially when surging and calving glaciers are not considered (for such glaciers the response to climate change is often masked by length changes related to internal dynamics). From theoretical studies as well as extensive meteorological work on glaciers, the processes that control the response of glaciers to climate change are now basically understood. It is useful to make a difference between geometric factors (e.g. slope, altitudinal range, hypsometry) and climatic setting (e.g. seasonal cycle, precipitation). The most sensitive glaciers appear to be flat glaciers in a maritime climate. Characterizing the dynamic properties of a glacier requires at least two quantities: the climate sensitivity, expressing how the equilibrium glacier state depends on the climatic conditions, and the response time, indicating how fast a glacier approaches a new equilibrium state after a stepwise change in the climatic forcing. These quantities can be estimated from relatively simple theory, showing that differences among glaciers are substantial. For larger glaciers, climate sensitivities (in terms of glacier length) vary from 1 to 8 km per 100 m change in the equilibrium-line altitude. Response times are mainly in the range of 20 to 200 years, with most values between 30 and 80 years. Changes in the equilibrium-line altitude or net mass balance of a glacier are mainly driven by fluctuations in air temperature, precipitation, and global radiation. Energy-balance modelling for many glaciers shows that

  18. Rainstorm-induced event sedimentation at the tidewater front of a temperate glacier

    SciTech Connect

    Cowan, E.A.; Powell, R.D.; Smith, N.D.

    1988-05-01

    Runoff from a late summer storm drained rapidly to a subglacial stream of McBride Glacier, southeast Alaska. The stream transported large volumes of sediment that discharged from the glacier's tidewater front directly into fjord water at 40 m depth. Measurements of salinity, temperature, and suspended-sediment concentration indicate that the sediment was transported by interflows within brackish fjord water. Sedimentation rates were exceptionally high (up to five times normal). Laminated fine sand accumulated in proximal sediment traps, and silty mud accumulated in distal traps. The low frequency of large storms late in the melt season indicates that the sedimentary products would be rare but significant marker horizons in temperate glaciomarine sequences.

  19. A reconciled estimate of glacier contributions to sea level rise: 2003 to 2009.

    PubMed

    Gardner, Alex S; Moholdt, Geir; Cogley, J Graham; Wouters, Bert; Arendt, Anthony A; Wahr, John; Berthier, Etienne; Hock, Regine; Pfeffer, W Tad; Kaser, Georg; Ligtenberg, Stefan R M; Bolch, Tobias; Sharp, Martin J; Hagen, Jon Ove; van den Broeke, Michiel R; Paul, Frank

    2013-05-17

    Glaciers distinct from the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets are losing large amounts of water to the world's oceans. However, estimates of their contribution to sea level rise disagree. We provide a consensus estimate by standardizing existing, and creating new, mass-budget estimates from satellite gravimetry and altimetry and from local glaciological records. In many regions, local measurements are more negative than satellite-based estimates. All regions lost mass during 2003-2009, with the largest losses from Arctic Canada, Alaska, coastal Greenland, the southern Andes, and high-mountain Asia, but there was little loss from glaciers in Antarctica. Over this period, the global mass budget was -259 ± 28 gigatons per year, equivalent to the combined loss from both ice sheets and accounting for 29 ± 13% of the observed sea level rise. PMID:23687045

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nuimura, T.; Sakai, A.; Taniguchi, K.; Nagai, H.; Lamsal, D.; Tsutaki, S.; Kozawa, A.; Hoshina, Y.; Takenaka, S.; Omiya, S.; Tsunematsu, K.; Tshering, P.; Fujita, K.

    2014-06-01

    We present a new glacier inventory for the high mountain Asia named "Glacier Area Mapping for Discharge from the Asian Mountains" (GAMDAM). Glacier outlines were delineated manually using more than 226 Landsat ETM+ scenes from the period 1999-2003, in conjunction with a digital elevation model (DEM) and high-resolution Google Earth imagery. Geolocations are consistent between the Landsat imagery and DEM due to systematic radiometric and geometric corrections made by the United States Geological Survey. We performed repeated delineation tests and rigorous peer review of all scenes used in order to maintain the consistency and quality of the inventory. Our GAMDAM Glacier Inventory (GGI) includes 82776 glaciers covering a total area of 87507 ± 13126 km2 in the high mountain Asia. Thus, our inventory represents a greater number (+4%) of glaciers but significantly less surface area (-31%) than a recent global glacier inventory (Randolph Glacier Inventory, RGI). The employed definition of the upper boundaries of glaciers, glacier recession since the 1970s, and misinterpretation of seasonal snow cover are likely causes of discrepancies between the inventories, though it is difficult to evaluate these effects quantitatively. The GGI will help improve the temporal consistency of the RGI, which incorporated glacier outlines from the 1970s for the Tibetan Plateau, and will provide new opportunities to study Asian glaciers.

  3. Antarctica: measuring glacier velocity from satellite images

    SciTech Connect

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

    1986-11-28

    Many Landsat images of Antarctica show distinctive flow and crevasse features in the floating part of ice streams and outlet glaciers immediately below their grounding zones. Some of the features, which move with the glacier or ice stream, remain visible over many years and thus allow time-lapse measurements of ice velocities. Measurements taken from Landsat images of features on Byrd Glacier agree well with detailed ground and aerial observations. The satellite-image technique thus offers a rapid and cost-effective method of obtaining average velocities, to a first order of accuracy, of many ice streams and outlet glaciers near their termini.

  4. Antarctica: Measuring glacier velocity from satellite images

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1986-01-01

    Many Landsat images of Antarctica show distinctive flow and crevasse features in the floating part of ice streams and outlet glaciers immediately below their grounding zones. Some of the features, which move with the glacier or ice stream, remain visible over many years and thus allow time-lapse measurements of ice velocities. Measurements taken from Landsat images of features on Byrd Glacier agree well with detailed ground and aerial observations. The satellite-image technique thus offers a rapid and cost-effective method of obtaining average velocities, to a first order of accuracy, of many ice streams and outlet glaciers near their termini.

  5. Internationally coordinated glacier monitoring: strategy and datasets

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-05-01

    Internationally coordinated monitoring of long-term glacier changes provide key indicator data about global climate change and began in the year 1894 as an internationally coordinated effort to establish standardized observations. Today, world-wide monitoring of glaciers and ice caps is embedded within the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) in support of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as an important Essential Climate Variable (ECV). The Global Terrestrial Network for Glaciers (GTN-G) was established in 1999 with the task of coordinating measurements and to ensure the continuous development and adaptation of the international strategies to the long-term needs of users in science and policy. The basic monitoring principles must be relevant, feasible, comprehensive and understandable to a wider scientific community as well as to policy makers and the general public. Data access has to be free and unrestricted, the quality of the standardized and calibrated data must be high and a combination of detailed process studies at selected field sites with global coverage by satellite remote sensing is envisaged. Recently a GTN-G Steering Committee was established to guide and advise the operational bodies responsible for the international glacier monitoring, which are the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS), the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), and the Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) initiative. Several online databases containing a wealth of diverse data types having different levels of detail and global coverage provide fast access to continuously updated information on glacier fluctuation and inventory data. For world-wide inventories, data are now available through (a) the World Glacier Inventory containing tabular information of about 130,000 glaciers covering an area of around 240,000 km2, (b) the GLIMS-database containing digital outlines of around 118,000 glaciers with different time stamps and

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2009-12-01

    The Gulf of Alaska drainage basin contains more than 75,000 km2 of glaciers, many of which are rapidly thinning and receding. We are using a paired watershed approach to evaluate how changes in glacier ecosystems will impact the export dissolved organic matter (DOM) into the Gulf of Alaska. Our primary study watersheds, Lemon Creek and Montana Creek, are similar in size, bedrock lithology and elevation range and extend from near sea level to the margin or interior of the Juneau Icefield. Lemon Creek has a glacial coverage of ~60%, while Montana Creek is free of glacier ice. Our goal is to evaluate seasonal differences in the quantity, chemical character and reactivity of DOM being exported from these watersheds to downstream near-shore marine ecosystems. In addition, we are monitoring a variety of physical parameters that influence instream DOM metabolism in both watersheds. Our initial results from the 2009 runoff season indicate that concentrations of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) are substantially higher in the non-glacial watershed. However, fluorescence analyses indicate that DOM from the glacier watershed has a higher protein and lower humic material content compared to DOM from the non-glacial watershed. After the spring snowmelt season, physical parameters between the two watersheds diverged, with higher streamflow and turbidity as well as colder water temperatures in the glacial watershed. Although our previous yield calculations show significantly higher DOC fluxes from the forested watershed, our results here suggest that glacier watersheds may be an important source of labile carbon to the near shore marine ecosystem. The contrast in the physical habitat between the two rivers (e.g glacier stream = cold, low light penetration, unstable substrate) supports the hypothesis that that in-stream DOM processing is limited within glacier dominated rivers, therefore delivering a higher percentage of labile DOM downstream.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Furuya, M.; Abe, T.

    2013-12-01

    Glacier surge exhibits order-of-magnitude faster velocity and km-scale terminus advance during its short active phase after a long quiescent period. The observations of glacier surge are still limited, and the mechanisms of glacier surge cycle remain elusive. Moreover, with the exception of several well-examined glaciers, the glacier dynamics during their quiescent periods remains even more uncertain due to the paucity of surface velocity measurement data. Here we examined spatial-temporal changes in the ice surface velocity of surge-type glaciers in the St. Elias Mountains near the border of Alaska and Yukon during the period from December 2006 to March 2011. We applied the offset-tracking (feature-tracking) technique to the L-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images derived from the Japanese Advanced Land Observation Satellite (ALOS). The Chitina, Anderson, Walsh, and Logan Glaciers, the major subpolar surge-type glaciers of the Chitina River valley system, could be examined with the highest temporal resolution because of the overlap of multiple satellite tracks. We have found significant upstream accelerations from fall to winter at a number of glaciers during their quiescence. Moreover, whereas the upstream propagating summer speed-up was observed, the winter speed-up propagated from upstream to downglacier. Although the winter speed-up seems to be at odds with the well-known summer speed-up, these observations are consistent with the fragmentary but well-known fact of glacier surge that often initiates in winter, suggesting that some of the mechanisms would be valid even during quiescent phases. Ice surface velocity at mountain glaciers and ice sheets typically exhibits the greatest acceleration from spring to early summer, followed by deceleration in mid-summer to fall, and is slowest in winter. These short-term velocity changes are attributed to subglacial slip associated with water pressure changes that occur because of the seasonal variability of

  8. NASA's DESDynI in Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2010-12-01

    In 2007 the National Research Council Earth Science Decadal Survey, Earth Science Applications from Space, recommended an integrated L-band InSAR and multibeam Lidar mission called DESDynI (Deformation, Ecosystem Structure, and Dynamics of Ice) and it is scheduled for launch in 2017. The NASA InSAR and Lidar mission is optimized for studying geohazards and global environmental change. The complex plate boundary in southern coastal Alaska provides an excellent setting for testing DESDynI capabilities to recover fundamental parameters of glacio-seismotectonic processes. Also, aircraft and satellites acquisitions of Lidar and L-band SAR have been made in this region in the last decade that can be used for DESDynI performance simulations. Since the Lidar observations would penetrate most vegetation, the accurate bald Earth elevation profiles will give new elevation information beyond the standard 30-m digital elevation models (DEM) and the Lidar-derived elevations will provide an accurate georeferenced surface for local and regional scale studies. In an earlier study we demonstrated how the Lidar observations could be used in combination with SAR to generate an improved InSAR derived DEM in the Barrow, Alaska region [Atwood et al., 2007]; here we discuss how Lidar could be fused with L-band SAR in more rugged, vegetated terrane. Based on simulations of multi-beam Lidar instrument performance over uplifted marine terraces, active faults and folds, uplift associated with the 1899 Yakataga seismic event (M=8), and elevation change on the glaciers in southern, coastal Alaska, we report on the significance of the DESDynI Lidar contiguous 25 m footprint elevation profiles for EarthScope related studies in Alaska. We are using the morphology and dynamics of glaciers derived from L-band SAR ice velocities to infer the large scale sub-ice structures that form the structural framework of the Seward-Bagley Basins. Using primarily winter acquisitions of L-band SAR data from ALOS

  9. Alaska Volcano Observatory

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Venezky, Dina Y.; Murray, Tom; Read, Cyrus

    2008-01-01

    Steam plume from the 2006 eruption of Augustine volcano in Cook Inlet, Alaska. Explosive ash-producing eruptions from Alaska's 40+ historically active volcanoes pose hazards to aviation, including commercial aircraft flying the busy North Pacific routes between North America and Asia. The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) monitors these volcanoes to provide forecasts of eruptive activity. AVO is a joint program of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAFGI), and the State of Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys (ADGGS). AVO is one of five USGS Volcano Hazards Program observatories that monitor U.S. volcanoes for science and public safety. Learn more about Augustine volcano and AVO at http://www.avo.alaska.edu.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-12-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2005-01-01

    We present evidence that Pacific sleeper sharks Somniosus pacificus co-occur with harbor seals Phoca vitulina in Glacier Bay, Alaska, and that these sharks scavenge or prey on marine mammals. In 2002, 415 stations were fished throughout Glacier Bay on a systematic sampling grid. Pacific sleeper sharks were caught at 3 of the 415 stations, and at one station a Pacific halibut Hippoglossus stenolepis was caught with a fresh bite, identified as the bite of a sleeper shark. All 3 sharks and the shark-bitten halibut were caught at stations near the mouth of Johns Hopkins Inlet, a glacial fjord with the highest concentration of seals in Glacier Bay. Using a bootstrap technique, we estimated the probability of sampling the sharks (and the shark-bitten halibut) in the vicinity of Johns Hopkins Inlet. If sharks were randomly distributed in Glacier Bay, the probability of sampling all 4 pots at the mouth of Johns Hopkins Inlet was very low (P = 0.00002). The highly non-random distribution of the sleeper sharks located near the largest harbor seal pupping and breeding colony in Glacier Bay suggests that these 2 species co-occur and may interact ecologically in or near Johns Hopkins Inlet.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2009-04-01

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

  13. Advances in Modelling of Valley Glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adhikari, Surendra

    For glaciological conditions typical of valley glaciers, the central idea of this research lies in understanding the effects of high-order mechanics and parameterizing these for simpler dynamical and statistical methods in glaciology. As an effective tool for this, I formulate a new brand of dynamical models that describes distinct physical processes of deformational flow. Through numerical simulations of idealized glacier domains, I calculate empirical correction factors to capture the effects of longitudinal stress gradients and lateral drag for simplified dynamical models in the plane-strain regime. To get some insights into real glacier dynamics, I simulate Haig Glacier in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. As geometric effects overshadow dynamical effects in glacier retreat scenarios, it appears that high-order physics are not very important for Haig Glacier, particularly for evaluating its fate. Indeed, high-order and reduced models all predict that Haig Glacier ceases to exist by about AD2080 under ongoing climate warming. This finding regarding the minimal role of high-order physics may not be broadly valid, as it is not true in advance scenarios at Haig Glacier and it may not be representative of other glaciological settings. Through a 'bulk' parameterization of high-order physics, geometric and climatic settings, sliding conditions, and transient effects, I also provide new insights into the volume-area relation, a widely used statistical method for estimating glacier volume. I find a steady-state power-law exponent of 1:46, which declines systematically to 1:38 after 100 years of sustained retreat, in good accord with the observations. I recommend more accurate scaling relations through characterization of individual glacier morphology and degree of climatic disequilibrium. This motivates a revision of global glacier volume estimates, of some urgency in sea level rise assessments.

  14. Alaska's renewable energy potential.

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    2009-02-01

    This paper delivers a brief survey of renewable energy technologies applicable to Alaska's climate, latitude, geography, and geology. We first identify Alaska's natural renewable energy resources and which renewable energy technologies would be most productive. e survey the current state of renewable energy technologies and research efforts within the U.S. and, where appropriate, internationally. We also present information on the current state of Alaska's renewable energy assets, incentives, and commercial enterprises. Finally, we escribe places where research efforts at Sandia National Laboratories could assist the state of Alaska with its renewable energy technology investment efforts.

  15. Mass-balance measurements in Alaska and suggestions for simplified observation programs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1999-01-01

    US Geological Survey glacier fieldwork in Alaska includes repetitious measurements, corrections for leaning or bending stakes, an ability to reliably measure seasonal snow as deep as 10 m, absolute identification of summer surfaces in the accumulation area, and annual evaluation of internal accumulation, internal ablation, and glacier-thickness changes. Prescribed field measurement and note-taking techniques help eliminate field errors and expedite the interpretative process. In the office, field notes are transferred to computerized spread-sheets for analysis, release on the World Wide Web, and archival storage. The spreadsheets have error traps to help eliminate note-taking and transcription errors. Rigorous error analysis ends when mass-balance measurements are extrapolated and integrated with area to determine glacier and basin mass balances. Unassessable errors in the glacier and basin mass-balance data reduce the value of the data set for correlations with climate change indices. The minimum glacier mass-balance program has at least three measurement sites on a glacier and the measurements must include the seasonal components of mass balance as well as the annual balance.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-08-22

    The ongoing global glacier retreat is affecting human societies by causing sea-level rise, changing seasonal water availability, and increasing geohazards. Melting glaciers are an icon of anthropogenic climate change. However, glacier response times are typically decades or longer, which implies that the present-day glacier retreat is a mixed response to past and current natural climate variability and current anthropogenic forcing. Here we show that only 25 ± 35% of the global glacier mass loss during the period from 1851 to 2010 is attributable to anthropogenic causes. Nevertheless, the anthropogenic signal is detectable with high confidence in glacier mass balance observations during 1991 to 2010, and the anthropogenic fraction of global glacier mass loss during that period has increased to 69 ± 24%. PMID:25123485

  17. Using Metaphorical Models for Describing Glaciers

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Felzmann, Dirk

    2014-01-01

    To date, there has only been little conceptual change research regarding conceptions about glaciers. This study used the theoretical background of embodied cognition to reconstruct different metaphorical concepts with respect to the structure of a glacier. Applying the Model of Educational Reconstruction, the conceptions of students and scientists…

  18. Microbial biodiversity in glacier-fed streams.

    PubMed

    Wilhelm, Linda; Singer, Gabriel A; Fasching, Christina; Battin, Tom J; Besemer, Katharina

    2013-08-01

    While glaciers become increasingly recognised as a habitat for diverse and active microbial communities, effects of their climate change-induced retreat on the microbial ecology of glacier-fed streams remain elusive. Understanding the effect of climate change on microorganisms in these ecosystems is crucial given that microbial biofilms control numerous stream ecosystem processes with potential implications for downstream biodiversity and biogeochemistry. Here, using a space-for-time substitution approach across 26 Alpine glaciers, we show how microbial community composition and diversity, based on 454-pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene, in biofilms of glacier-fed streams may change as glaciers recede. Variations in streamwater geochemistry correlated with biofilm community composition, even at the phylum level. The most dominant phyla detected in glacial habitats were Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria and Cyanobacteria/chloroplasts. Microorganisms from ice had the lowest α diversity and contributed marginally to biofilm and streamwater community composition. Rather, streamwater apparently collected microorganisms from various glacial and non-glacial sources forming the upstream metacommunity, thereby achieving the highest α diversity. Biofilms in the glacier-fed streams had intermediate α diversity and species sorting by local environmental conditions likely shaped their community composition. α diversity of streamwater and biofilm communities decreased with elevation, possibly reflecting less diverse sources of microorganisms upstream in the catchment. In contrast, β diversity of biofilms decreased with increasing streamwater temperature, suggesting that glacier retreat may contribute to the homogenisation of microbial communities among glacier-fed streams. PMID:23486246

  19. GIS-based glacier inventory of China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, X.; Wu, L.-Z.

    2003-04-01

    The project of the Glacier Inventory of China initialized in 1979 was just accomplished in 2000. This inventory was complied based on numerous LandSat TM images, aerial photographs, and topographic maps. More than 40 Chinese glaciologists made their great efforts in this work. With the newest statistics from the inventory, there are total 46,928 glaciers in China; the total area is 59,406 km2 and the ice volume is 5,598 km3. We launched a new project to digitize the 11 volumes of published glacier data and all the distribution maps of glaciers in China. Large-scale topographic maps were also used as reference to reconstruct a more accurate geographic coordinate system of the inventory. We paid particularly attention to the data quality control. The properties of both the spatial and attribute data were carefully examined with a few operations by manual and computerized checks. Since the digital inventory lays a baseline for the monitoring of glacier change, we are going to release the database on the Internet and with CD-ROMs. In additions, the second glacier inventory in some glaciered drainages were carried out. Chinese glaciologist are using new generation remote sensors such as ASTER and LandSat ETM+ to identify glacier change in many areas. Preliminary results showed that the change is significant.

  20. Glacier-derived August runoff in northwest Montana

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Clark, Adam; Harper, Joel T.; Fagre, Daniel B.

    2015-01-01

    The second largest concentration of glaciers in the U.S. Rocky Mountains is located in Glacier National Park (GNP), Montana. The total glacier-covered area in this region decreased by ∼35% over the past 50 years, which has raised substantial concern about the loss of the water derived from glaciers during the summer. We used an innovative weather station design to collect in situ measurements on five remote glaciers, which are used to parameterize a regional glacier melt model. This model offered a first-order estimate of the summer meltwater production by glaciers. We find, during the normally dry month of August, glaciers in the region produce approximately 25 × 106 m3 of potential runoff. We then estimated the glacier runoff component in five gaged streams sourced from GNP basins containing glaciers. Glacier-melt contributions range from 5% in a basin only 0.12% glacierized to >90% in a basin 28.5% glacierized. Glacier loss would likely lead to lower discharges and warmer temperatures in streams draining basins >20% glacier-covered. Lower flows could even be expected in streams draining basins as little as 1.4% glacierized if glaciers were to disappear.

  1. Glaciomarine deposits of Miocene through Holocene age in the Yakataga Formation along the Gulf of Alaska margin, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Plafker, George; Addicott, W.O.

    1976-01-01

    Perhaps the world's longest and most complete onshore sedimentary record of late Cenozoic glaciation is preserved in the Gulf of Alaska Tertiary province that extends 800 km along the coast of southern Alaska. The Yakataga Formation, with an aggregate outcrop thickness of about 5,000 m, is characterized by variable amounts of distinctive neritic marine tillite-like diamictite and laminated siltstone containing dropstones interpreted as ice-rafted glacial debris. The lithology, sedimentary structures and molluscan fauna of the formation suggest that active tidal glaciers or an ice shelf were present along the landward margin of the basin possibly beginning in early or early middle Miocene time. Dropstone distribution in outcrop sections indicates that glaciers reached tidewater intermittently during the Miocene and were almost continually present throughout the Pliocene and much of the Pleistocene. Paleomagnetic and nannoplankton dating of the upper 1,181 m of the Yakataga Formation at Middleton Island indicate that this part of the sequence probably was entirely deposited during the Matuyama reversed polarity epoch of the Pleistocene during which the sedimentation rate was of the order of 1 m/1,000 years. Lithologically similar deposits of poorly consolidated sandy mud and pebbly mud continue to accumulate locally near tidal glaciers in the same area, and older late Quaternary deposits are undoubtedly present offshore. The anomalous late Cenozoic glaciation recorded in the sediments along the Gulf of Alaska margin reflects a fortuitous combination of a subsiding shelf basin adjacent to an area of extremely high elevations and exceptionally heavy precipitation, an environment that persists to the present.

  2. Debris-covered Himalayan glaciers under a changing climate: observations and modelling of Khumbu Glacier, Nepal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rowan, Ann; Quincey, Duncan; Egholm, David; Gibson, Morgan; Irvine-Fynn, Tristram; Porter, Philip; Glasser, Neil

    2016-04-01

    Many mountain glaciers are characterised in their lower reaches by thick layers of rock debris that insulate the glacier surface from solar radiation and atmospheric warming. Supraglacial debris modifies the response of these glaciers to climate change compared to glaciers with clean-ice surfaces. However, existing modelling approaches to predicting variations in the extent and mass balance of debris-covered glaciers have relied on numerical models that represent the processes governing glaciers with clean-ice surfaces, and yield conflicting results. Moreover, few data exist describing the mass balance of debris-covered glaciers and many observations are only made over short periods of time, but these data are needed to constrain and validate numerical modelling experiments. To investigate the impact of supraglacial debris on the response of a glacier to climate change, we developed a numerical model that couples the flow of ice and debris to include important feedbacks between mass balance, ice flow and debris accumulation. We applied this model to a large debris-covered Himalayan glacier - Khumbu Glacier in the Everest region of Nepal. Our results demonstrate that supraglacial debris prolongs the response of the glacier to warming air temperatures and causes lowering of the glacier surface in situ, concealing the magnitude of mass loss when compared with estimates based on glacierised area. Since the Little Ice Age, the volume of Khumbu Glacier has reduced by 34%, while glacier area has reduced by only 6%. We predict a further decrease in glacier volume of 8-10% by AD2100 accompanied by dynamic and physical detachment of the debris-covered tongue from the active glacier within the next 150 years. For five months during the 2014 summer monsoon, we measured temperature profiles through supraglacial debris and proglacial discharge on Khumbu Glacier. We found that temperatures at the ice surface beneath 0.4-0.7 m of debris were sufficient to promote considerable

  3. Alaska Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Facility science data processing architecture

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hilland, Jeffrey E.; Bicknell, Thomas; Miller, Carol L.

    1991-01-01

    The paper describes the architecture of the Alaska SAR Facility (ASF) at Fairbanks, being developed to generate science data products for supporting research in sea ice motion, ice classification, sea-ice-ocean interaction, glacier behavior, ocean waves, and hydrological and geological study areas. Special attention is given to the individual substructures of the ASF: the Receiving Ground Station (RGS), the SAR Processor System, and the Interactive Image Analysis System. The SAR data will be linked to the RGS by the ESA ERS-1 and ERS-2, the Japanese ERS-1, and the Canadian Radarsat.

  4. Englacial Hydrology of Temperate Glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fountain, A. G.; Creyts, T. T.

    2015-12-01

    The englacial region of temperate glaciers is generally treated as a passive conveyor of water from the surface to the bed. Consequently, few studies have examined this region and relatively little is known. This is an important issue because englacial processes probably exert a first order control on the distribution of water to the subglacial hydraulic system. Controlling the water distribution probably controls the type of subglacial hydraulic features present and therefore sliding behavior. Certainly, englacial conduits play a major, if not primary, role in conveying water in the ablation zone. In regions of over-deepenings, areas highly crevassed, or in the accumulation zone, the importance of englacial conduits is less clear. Field studies have shown that intersecting englacial passageways in these regions are relatively common, implying that large water fluxes can drain efficiently through a network of fractures. Hypothetically, efficient drainage systems composed of englacial conduits develop in response to point input of large surface water fluxes. Where input is small and distributed, common to highly crevassed areas or the accumulation zone, water is probably routed through a network of englacial fractures. Glacier geometry may also play a role. Conduits may not develop in the over-deepened (closed basins) regions of a glacier requiring another flow pathway. That englacial fractures exist and can convey water presents a promising alternative. Measured rates of flow in fractures strongly suggest laminar conditions and a sufficient fracture density exists to accommodate the estimated water flux generated upstream by surface melt. The slow flow rates do not generate sufficient viscous heat to compensate expected rates of closure by freezing, however field observations and seismic evidence point to spontaneous fracture formation at depth that must regenerate the fracture network. It is unfortunate that englacial investigations are ignored in favor of

  5. Glaciers in 21st Century Himalayan Geopolitics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kargel, J. S.; Wessels, R.; Kieffer, H. H.

    2002-05-01

    Glaciers are ablating rapidly the world over. Nowhere are the rates of retreat and downwasting greater than in the Hindu Kush-Himalaya (HKH) region. It is estimated that over the next century, 40,000 square kilometers of present glacier area in the HKH region will become ice free. Most of this area is in major valleys and the lowest glaciated mountain passes. The existence and characteristics of glaciers have security impacts, and rapidly changing HKH glaciers have broad strategic implications: (1) Glaciers supply much of the fresh water and hydroelectric power in South and Central Asia, and so glaciers are valuable resources. (2) Shared economic interests in water, hydroelectricity, flood hazards, and habitat preservation are a force for common cause and reasoned international relations. (3) Glaciers and their high mountains generally pose a natural barrier tending to isolate people. Historically, they have hindered trade and intercultural exchanges and have protected against aggression. This has further promoted an independent spirit of the region's many ethnic groups. (4) Although glaciers are generally incompatible with human development and habitation, many of the HKH region's glaciers and their mountains have become sanctuaries and transit routes for militants. Siachen Glacier in Kashmir has for 17 years been "the world's highest battlefield," with tens of thousands of troops deployed on both sides of the India/Pakistan line of control. In 1999, that conflict threatened to trigger all-out warfare, and perhaps nuclear warfare. Other recent terrorist and military action has taken place on glaciers in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. As terrorists are forced from easily controlled territories, many may tend to migrate toward the highest ground, where definitive encounters may take place in severe alpine glacial environments. This should be a major concern in Nepali security planning, where an Army offensive is attempting to reign in an increasingly robust and brutal

  6. Dynamics and internal structure of an Alaskan debris-covered glacier from repeat airborne photogrammetry and surface geophysics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holt, John; Levy, Joseph; Petersen, Eric; Larsen, Chris; Fahnestock, Mark

    2016-04-01

    Debris-covered glaciers and rock glaciers encompass a range of compositions and activity, and can be useful paleoclimate indicators. They also respond differently to ongoing climate change than glaciers without a protective cover. Their flow dynamics are not well understood, and their unique surface morphologies, including lobate fronts and arcuate ridges, likely result from viscous flow influenced by a combination of composition, structure, and climatic factors. However, basic connections between flow kinematics and surface morphology have not yet been established, limiting our ability to understand these features. In order to begin to address this problem we have undertaken airborne and surface studies of multiple debris-covered glaciers in Alaska and the western U.S. Sourdough Rock Glacier in the St. Elias Mountains, Alaska, is completely debris-covered and exhibits numerous transverse compressional ridges. Its trunk also exhibits highly regular bumps and swales with a wavelength of ~175 m and amplitudes up to 12 m. In the middle trunk, lineations (boulder trains and furrows) bend around a point roughly 200m from the eastern edge. We acquired five high-resolution airborne surveys of Sourdough Rock Glacier between late 2013 and late 2015 using lidar and photogrammetry to assess annual and seasonal change at the sub-meter level. Differencing the DTMs provides vertical change while feature tracking in orthophotos provide horizontal velocities that indicate meters of annual motion. The flow field is highly correlated with surface features; in particular, compressional ridges in the lower lobe. Stranded, formerly active lobes are also apparent. Surface geophysical studies were undertaken to constrain internal structure and composition using a combination of ground-penetrating radar (GPR) at 50 and 100 MHz in six transects, and time-domain electromagnetic (TDEM) measurements at 47 locations, primarily in an along-flow transect and two cross-flow transects. We infer

  7. A summary of ERTS data applications in Alaska

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Miller, J. M.; Belon, A. E.

    1974-01-01

    ERTS has proven to be an exceedingly useful tool for the preparation of urgently needed resource surveys in Alaska. For this reason the wide utilization of ERTS data by federal, state and industrial agencies in Alaska is increasingly directed toward the solution of operational problems in resource inventories, environmental surveys, and land use planning. Examples of some applications are discussed in connection with surveys of potential agricultural lands; mapping of predicted archaeological sites; permafrost terrain and aufeis mapping; snow melt enhancement from Prudhoe Bay roads; geologic interpretations correlated ith possible new petroleum fields, with earthquake activity, and with plate tectonic motion along the Denali fault system; hydrology in monitoring surging glaciers and the break-up characteristics of the Chena River watershed; sea-ice morphology correlated with marine mammal distribution; and coastal sediment plume circulation patterns.

  8. Alaska Library Directory, 1996.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Jennings, Mary, Ed.

    This directory of Alaska's Libraries lists: members of the Alaska Library Association (AkLA) Executive Council and Committee Chairs; State Board of Education members; members of the Governor's Advisory Council on Libraries; school, academic and public libraries and their addresses, phone and fax numbers, and contact persons; personal,…

  9. Alaska geothermal bibliography

    SciTech Connect

    Liss, S.A.; Motyka, R.J.; Nye, C.J.

    1987-05-01

    The Alaska geothermal bibliography lists all publications, through 1986, that discuss any facet of geothermal energy in Alaska. In addition, selected publications about geology, geophysics, hydrology, volcanology, etc., which discuss areas where geothermal resources are located are included, though the geothermal resource itself may not be mentioned. The bibliography contains 748 entries.

  10. Renewable Energy in Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    2013-03-01

    This report examines the opportunities, challenges, and costs associated with renewable energy implementation in Alaska and provides strategies that position Alaska's accumulating knowledge in renewable energy development for export to the rapidly growing energy/electric markets of the developing world.

  11. South Central Alaska

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    Glacial silt along the Copper River in Alaska is picked up by the wind and carried out over the Gulf of Alaska. This true-color MODIS image from October 26, 2001, shows a large gray dust plume spreading out over the Gulf. West of the Copper River Delta, Cook Inlet is full of sediment.

  12. Holocene loess and paleosols in central Alaska: A proxy record of Holocene climate change

    SciTech Connect

    Bigelow, N.H.; Beget, J.E.

    1992-03-01

    Episodic Holocene loess deposition and soil formation in the sediments of the Nenana valley of Central Alaska may reflect Holocene climate change. Periods of loess deposition seem to correlate with times of alpine glacier activity, while paleosols correspond to times of glacial retreat These variations may reflect changes in solar activity Stuiver and Braziunas, 1989. Other mechanisms, such as orbitally forced changes in seasonality, volcanism, and atmospheric C02 variability may also have affected Holocene climates and loess deposition.

  13. Geologic map of the Gulkana B-1 quadrangle, south-central Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Richter, D.H.; Ratte, J.C.; Schmoll, H.R.; Leeman, W.P.; Smith, J.G.; Yehle, L.A.

    1989-01-01

    The quadrangle includes the Capital Mountain Volcano and the northern part of Mount Sanford Volcano in the Wrangell Mountains of south-central Alaska. The Capital Mountain volcano is a relatively small, andesitic shield volcano of Pleistocene age, which contains a 4-km-diameter summit caldera and a spectacular post-caldera radial dike swam. Lava flows from the younger Pleistocene Mount Sanford Volcano overlap the south side of the Capital Mountain Volcano. Copper-stained fractures in basaltic andesite related to a dike-filled rift of the North Sanford eruptive center are the only sign of mineralization in the quadrangle. Rock glaciers, deposits of Holocene and Pleistocene valley glaciers and Pleistocene Copper River basin glaciers mantle much of the volcanic bedrock below elevations of 5,500 ft.

  14. The GAMDAM glacier inventory: a quality-controlled inventory of Asian glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nuimura, T.; Sakai, A.; Taniguchi, K.; Nagai, H.; Lamsal, D.; Tsutaki, S.; Kozawa, A.; Hoshina, Y.; Takenaka, S.; Omiya, S.; Tsunematsu, K.; Tshering, P.; Fujita, K.

    2015-05-01

    We present a new glacier inventory for high-mountain Asia named "Glacier Area Mapping for Discharge from the Asian Mountains" (GAMDAM). Glacier outlines were delineated manually using 356 Landsat ETM+ scenes in 226 path-row sets from the period 1999-2003, in conjunction with a digital elevation model (DEM) and high-resolution Google EarthTM imagery. Geolocations are largely consistent between the Landsat imagery and DEM due to systematic radiometric and geometric corrections made by the United States Geological Survey. We performed repeated delineation tests and peer review of glacier outlines in order to maintain the consistency and quality of the inventory. Our GAMDAM glacier inventory (GGI) includes 87 084 glaciers covering a total area of 91 263 ± 13 689 km2 throughout high-mountain Asia. In the Hindu Kush-Himalaya range, the total glacier area in our inventory is 93% that of the ICIMOD (International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development) inventory. Discrepancies between the two regional data sets are due mainly to the effects of glacier shading. In contrast, our inventory represents significantly less surface area (-24%) than the recent global Randolph Glacier Inventory, version 4.0 (RGI), which includes 119 863 ± 9201 km2 for the entirety of high Asian mountains. Likely causes of this disparity include headwall definition, effects of exclusion of shaded glacier areas, glacier recession since the 1970s, and inclusion of seasonal snow cover in the source data of the RGI, although it is difficult to evaluate such effects quantitatively. Further rigorous peer review of GGI will both improve the quality of glacier inventory in high-mountain Asia and provide new opportunities to study Asian glaciers.

  15. Black soot and the survival of Tibetan glaciers.

    PubMed

    Xu, Baiqing; Cao, Junji; Hansen, James; Yao, Tandong; Joswia, Daniel R; Wang, Ninglian; Wu, Guangjian; Wang, Mo; Zhao, Huabiao; Yang, Wei; Liu, Xianqin; He, Jianqiao

    2009-12-29

    We find evidence that black soot aerosols deposited on Tibetan glaciers have been a significant contributing factor to observed rapid glacier retreat. Reduced black soot emissions, in addition to reduced greenhouse gases, may be required to avoid demise of Himalayan glaciers and retain the benefits of glaciers for seasonal fresh water supplies. PMID:19996173

  16. Black soot and the survival of Tibetan glaciers

    PubMed Central

    Xu, Baiqing; Cao, Junji; Hansen, James; Yao, Tandong; Joswia, Daniel R.; Wang, Ninglian; Wu, Guangjian; Wang, Mo; Zhao, Huabiao; Yang, Wei; Liu, Xianqin; He, Jianqiao

    2009-01-01

    We find evidence that black soot aerosols deposited on Tibetan glaciers have been a significant contributing factor to observed rapid glacier retreat. Reduced black soot emissions, in addition to reduced greenhouse gases, may be required to avoid demise of Himalayan glaciers and retain the benefits of glaciers for seasonal fresh water supplies. PMID:19996173

  17. Quantifying global warming from the retreat of glaciers

    SciTech Connect

    Oerlemans, J. )

    1994-04-08

    Records of glacier fluctuations compiled by the World Glacier Monitoring Service can be used to derive an independent estimate of global warming during the last 100 years. Records of different glaciers are made comparable by a two-step scaling procedure; one allowing for differences in glacier geometry, the other for differences in climate sensitivity. The retreat of glaciers during the last 100 years appears to be coherent over the globe. On the basis of modeling of the climate sensitivity of glaciers, the observed glacier retreat can be explained by a linear warming trend of 0.66 kelvin per century.

  18. In-stream net ecosystem metabolism differences across a glacial coverage gradient in southeast Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nassry, M. Q.; Hood, E. W.; Scott, D.; Vermilyea, A.

    2010-12-01

    As glacier ice gives way to successional vegetation, streams located in glacier-containing watersheds receive decreased contributions from glacial meltwater and increased contributions from terrestrial landscapes. Aquatic communities in streams receiving varying amounts of glacial meltwater were compared during this research to determine the effect of changing inputs of glacial meltwater on net ecosystem metabolism (NEM). In particular, we tested the hypothesis that decreased inputs of glacier meltwater will result in increased NEM in coastal streams in southeast Alaska. Dissolved oxygen and temperature measurements were collected at 5-minute increments using multi-sensor probes for 48 hours at four study streams. Additionally, discharge and velocity measurements were collected along with surface water samples during each of three replicate study periods at all four streams. Single station diel curves of in-stream oxygen concentration and water temperature changes were generated to establish community respiration (CR24) and gross primary production (GPP) values. The study watersheds, all of which are adjacent to the Juneau Icefield, range in area from 23-158 km2 and in watershed glacial coverage from 0-40%. This research will provide new insights into how changes in runoff from rapidly thinning and receding glaciers in southeast Alaska will affect aquatic community metabolism in downstream ecosystems. Ultimately, this will provide a better understanding of the changing in-stream processing capabilities in watersheds affected by land cover changes resulting from glacial recession.

  19. Little Ice Age Glaciation in Alaska: A record of recent global climatic change

    SciTech Connect

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

    1992-03-01

    General global cooling and temperature fluctuation accompanied by expansion of mountain glaciers characterized the Little Ice Age of about A.D. 1200 through A.D. 1900. The effects of such temperature changes appear first and are strongest at high latitudes. Therefore the Little Ice Age record of glacial fluctuation in Alaska may provide a good proxy for these events and a test for models of future climatic change. Holocene expansions began here as early as 7000 B.P. and locally show a periodicity of 350 years after about 4500 years B.P. The Little Ice Age followed a late Holocene interval of minor ice advance and a subsequent period of ice margin recession lasting one to seven centuries. The timing of expansions since about A.D. 1200 have often varied between glaciers, but these are the most pervasive glacial events of the Holocene in Alaska and frequently represent ice marginal maxima for this interval. At least two major expansions are, apparent in forefields of both land-terminating and fjord-calving glaciers, but the former display the most reliable and detailed climatic record. Major maxima occurred by the 16th century and into the mid-18th century. Culmination of advances occurred throughout Alaska during the 19th century followed within a few decades by general glacial retreat. Concurrently, equilibrium line altitudes have been raised 100-400 m, representing a rise of 2-3 deg C in mean summer temperature.

  20. Glaciers in Patagonia: Controversy and prospects

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kargel, J. S.; Alho, P.; Buytaert, W.; Célleri, R.; Cogley, J. G.; Dussaillant, A.; Guido, Z.; Haeberli, W.; Harrison, S.; Leonard, G.; Maxwell, A.; Meier, C.; Poveda, G.; Reid, B.; Reynolds, J.; Rodríguez, C. A. Portocarrero; Romero, H.; Schneider, J.

    2012-05-01

    Lately, glaciers have been subjects of unceasing controversy. Current debate about planned hydroelectric facilities—a US7- to 10-billion megaproject—in a pristine glacierized area of Patagonia, Chile [Romero Toledo et al., 2009; Vince, 2010], has raised anew the matter of how glaciologists and global change experts can contribute their knowledge to civic debates on important issues. There has been greater respect for science in this controversy than in some previous debates over projects that pertain to glaciers, although valid economic motivations again could trump science and drive a solution to the energy supply problem before the associated safety and environmental problems are understood. The connection between glaciers and climate change—both anthropogenic and natural—is fundamental to glaciology and to glaciers' practical importance for water and hydropower resources, agriculture, tourism, mining, natural hazards, ecosystem conservation, and sea level [Buytaert et al., 2010; Glasser et al., 2011]. The conflict between conservation and development can be sharper in glacierized regions than almost anywhere else. Glaciers occur in spectacular natural landscapes, but they also supply prodigious exploitable meltwater.

  1. Glacier Monitoring: Opportunities, Accomplishments, and Limitations.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meier, M. F.; Dyurgerov, M. B.

    2001-12-01

    Glaciers and ice caps, exclusive of the two major ice sheets, have been monitored for more than a century. Initially sparked by interest in the effect of glaciers on the landscape and their sensitive response to changes of climate, glacier study is now additionally motivated because of impacts on cold-regions ecology and hydrology as well as global sea-level rise. Glacier observations in many areas provide the only real data on climate change in the mountains. A substantial number of mass balance programs were initiated during the 1960s that improved our understanding of spatial and temporal changes in climate, and provided a basis for projecting future changes to glaciers and sea level. These results show a general increase in both snow accumulation and ice melting during the last 40 years (but with net wastage predominating), and a marked increase in the sensitivity of ice wastage to air temperature since the late 1980s. The World Data Center system provided unrestricted exchange of data among glaciologists during the `cold war.' The World Glacier Monitoring Service together with the National Snow and Ice Data Center and several individuals now provide ready access to glacier data. Remaining problems include inadequate access to digital data, a size bias to small glaciers, some traditional methodologies which limit the usefulness of the results, slow incorporation of new technologies, complexity of incorporating glacier dynamics in mass balance analysis, and insufficient attention by some investigators to reporting observational error. Perhaps the most difficult problems are the extension of limited data to the synthesis of broad regional or global conclusions, and a general dwindling of support for monitoring activities.

  2. Classification of debris-covered glaciers and rock glaciers in the Andes of central Chile

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Janke, Jason R.; Bellisario, Antonio C.; Ferrando, Francisco A.

    2015-07-01

    In the Dry Andes of Chile (17 to 35° S), debris-covered glaciers and rock glaciers are differentiated from true glaciers based on the percentage of surface debris cover, thickness of surface debris, and ice content. Internal ice is preserved by an insulating cover of thick debris, which acts as a storage reservoir to release water during the summer and early fall. These landforms are more numerous than glaciers in the central Andes; however, the existing legislation only recognizes uncovered or semicovered glaciers as a water resource. Glaciers, debris-covered glaciers, and rock glaciers are being altered or removed by mining operations to extract valuable minerals from the mountains. In addition, agricultural expansion and population growth in this region have placed additional demands on water resources. In a warmer climate, as glaciers recede and seasonal water availability becomes condensed over the course of a snowmelt season, rock glaciers and debris-covered glaciers contribute a larger component of base flow to rivers and streams. As a result, identifying and locating these features to implement sustainable regional planning for water resources is important. The objective of this study is to develop a classification system to identify debris-covered glaciers and rock glaciers based on the interpretation of satellite imagery and aerial photographs. The classification system is linked to field observations and measurements of ice content. Debris-covered glaciers have three subclasses: surface coverage of semi (class 1) and fully covered (class 2) glaciers differentiates the first two forms, whereas debris thickness is critical for class 3 when glaciers become buried with more than 3 m of surface debris. Based on field observations, the amount of ice decreases from more than 85%, to 65-85%, to 45-65% for semi, fully, and buried debris-covered glaciers, respectively. Rock glaciers are characterized by three stages. Class 4 rock glaciers have pronounced

  3. A graph-based approach to glacier flowline extraction: An application to glaciers in Switzerland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Le Moine, Nicolas; Gsell, Pierre-Stéphane

    2015-12-01

    In this paper we propose a new, graph-based approach to glacier segmentation and flowline extraction. The method, which requires a set of glacier contours and a Digital Elevation Model (DEM), consists in finding an optimum branching that connects a set of vertices belonging to the topological skeleton of each glacier. First, the challenges associated with glacier flowline extraction are presented. Then, the three main steps of the method are described: the skeleton extraction and pruning algorithm, the definition and computation of a travel cost between all pairs of skeleton vertices, and the identification of the directed minimum spanning tree in the resulting directed graph. The method, which is mainly designed for valley glaciers, is applied to glaciers in Switzerland.

  4. Alaska Problem Resource Manual: Alaska Future Problem Solving Program. Alaska Problem 1985-86.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gorsuch, Marjorie, Ed.

    "Alaska's Image in the Lower 48," is the theme selected by a Blue Ribbon panel of state and national leaders who felt that it was important for students to explore the relationship between Alaska's outside image and the effect of that image on the federal programs/policies that impact Alaska. An overview of Alaska is presented first in this…

  5. Step-wise changes in glacier flow speed coincide with calving and glacial earthquakes at Helheim Glacier, Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nettles, M.; Larsen, T. B.; Elósegui, P.; Hamilton, G. S.; Stearns, L. A.; Ahlstrøm, A. P.; Davis, J. L.; Andersen, M. L.; de Juan, J.; Khan, S. A.; Stenseng, L.; Ekström, G.; Forsberg, R.

    2008-12-01

    Geodetic observations show several large, sudden increases in flow speed at Helheim Glacier, one of Greenland's largest outlet glaciers, during summer, 2007. These step-like accelerations, detected along the length of the glacier, coincide with teleseismically detected glacial earthquakes and major iceberg calving events. No coseismic offset in the position of the glacier surface is observed; instead, modest tsunamis associated with the glacial earthquakes implicate glacier calving in the seismogenic process. Our results link changes in glacier velocity directly to calving-front behavior at Greenland's largest outlet glaciers, on timescales as short as minutes to hours, and clarify the mechanism by which glacial earthquakes occur.

  6. Interaction between glacier and glacial lake in the Bhutan, Himalaya

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tsutaki, S.; Fujita, K.; Yamaguchi, S.; Sakai, A.; Nuimura, T.; Sugiyama, S.; Komori, J.; Takenaka, S.; Tshering, P.

    2012-12-01

    Recession of mountain glaciers in the Himalayas has been reported in the context of global warming. Associated with the glacier retreat, supraglacial lakes have been formed on the termini of debris-covered glaciers. Although it has been said that lake-terminating glaciers flow faster than land-terminating glaciers, observational evidence was scarce. We observationally investigated the influence of the presence/absence of glacial lakes on changes in surface elevation through glacier dynamics in two debris-covered glaciers, Thorthormi Glacier (land-terminating) and Lugge Glacier (lake-terminating), in the Lunana region, the Bhutan Himalaya. We surveyed the surface elevation of debris-covered areas of the two glaciers in 2004 and 2011 by a differential GPS. Change in surface elevation of the lake-terminating Lugge Glacier was much more negative than that of the land-terminating Thorthormi Glacier. Considering almost flat slope and location at lower elevation, however, larger ice thinning rate of the Thorthormi Glacier should have been expected than the Lugge Glacier. We measured surface flow speed of the two glaciers during 2009-2010 by multitemporal orthorectified The Panchromatic Remote-sensing Instrument for Stereo Mapping (PRISM) images of ALOS. Surface flow speed of the Thorthormi Glacier was faster in the upper reaches and reduced toward the downstream. In contrast, the flow speed at the Lugge Glacier measured in the same periods was greatest at the lower most part. Observed spatial distribution of surface flow speed at both glaciers are evaluated by a two-dimensional numerical flow model. The model shows that contribution of basal sliding to surface flow velocity is large in the lower part of both glaciers. Particularly in the Thorthormi Glacier, approximately 100% of surface flow velocity attribute to basal sliding. Calculated emergence velocity at the Thorthormi Glacier is larger than that at the Lugge Glacier. This result suggests that decreasing in flow

  7. Glacier Instability, Rapid Glacier Lake Growth and Related Hazards at Belvedere Glacier, Macugnaga, Italy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huggel, C.; Kaeaeb, A.; Haeberli, W.; Mortara, G.; Chiarle, M.; Epifani, F.

    2002-12-01

    Starting in summer 2000, Belvedere Glacier, near Macugnaga, Italian Alps, developed an extraordinary change in flow, geometry and surface appearance. A surge-type flow acceleration started in the lower parts of the Monte-Rosa east face, leading to strong crevassing and deformation of Belvedere Glacier, accompanied by bulging of its orographic right margin. In September 2001, a small supraglacial lake developed on the glacier. High water pressure and accelerated movement lasted into winter 2001/2002. The ice, in places, started to override moraines from the Little Ice Age. In late spring and early summer 2002, the supraglacial lake grew at extraordinary rates reaching a maximum area of more than 150'000 m2 by end of June. The evolution of such a large supraglacial lake, a rather unique feature in the Alps, was probably enabled by changes in the subglacial drainage system in the course of the surge-like developments with high water pressure in the glacier. At the end of June, an enhanced growth of the lake level with a rise of about 1 m per day was observed such that the supraglacial lake became a urgent hazard problem for the community of Macugnaga. Emergency measures had to be taken by the Italian Civil Protection. The authors thereby acted as the official expert advisers. Temporal evacuations were ordered and a permanent monitoring and alarm system was installed. Pumps with a maximum output of 1 m3/s were brought to the lake. Bathymetric studies yielded a maximum lake depth of 55 m and a volume of 3.3 millions of cubic meters of water. Aerial photography of 1995, 1999, September 2001 and October 2001 was used to calculate ice flow velocities and changes in surface altitude. Compared to the period of 1995 to 1999, the flow accelerated by about five times in 2001 (max. speeds up to 200 m/yr). Surface uplift measured was about 10-15 m/yr. The results of the photogrammetric studies were used to evaluate different possible lake-outburst scenarios, in particular

  8. Thermal structure of Svalbard glaciers and implications for thermal switch models of glacier surging

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sevestre, Heïdi; Benn, Douglas I.; Hulton, Nicholas R. J.; Bælum, Karoline

    2015-10-01

    Switches between cold- and warm-based conditions have long been invoked to explain surges of High Arctic glaciers. Here we compile existing and new data on the thermal regime of six glaciers in Svalbard to test the applicability of thermal switch models. Two of the large glaciers of our sample are water terminating while one is land terminating. All three have a well-known surge history. They have a thick basal layer of temperate ice, superimposed by cold ice. A cold terminus forms during quiescence but is mechanically removed by calving on tidewater glaciers. The other three glaciers are relatively small and are either entirely cold or have a diminishing warm core. All three bear evidence of former warm-based thermal regimes and, in two cases, surge-like behavior during the Little Ice Age. In Svalbard, therefore, three types of glaciers have switched from slow to fast flow: (1) small glaciers that underwent thermal cycles during and following the Little Ice Age (switches between cold- and warm-based conditions), (2) large terrestrial glaciers which remain warm based throughout the entire surge cycle but develop cold termini during quiescence, and (3) large tidewater glaciers that remain warm based throughout the surge cycle. Our results demonstrate that thermal switching cannot explain the surges of large glaciers in Svalbard. We apply the concept of enthalpy cycling to the spectrum of surge and surge-like behavior displayed by these glaciers and demonstrate that all Svalbard surge-type glaciers can be understood within a single conceptual framework.

  9. Repeat Photography of Alaskan Glaciers and Landscapes as Both Art and as a Means of Communicating Climat Change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Molnia, B. F.

    2013-12-01

    For nearly 15 years, I have used repeat photography of Alaskan glaciers and landscapes to communicate to fellow scientists, policymakers, the media, and society that Alaskan glaciers and landscapes have been experiencing significant change in response to post-Little Ice Age climate change. I began this pursuit after being contacted by a U.S. Department of the Interior senior official who requested unequivocal and unambiguous documentation that climate change was real and underway. After considering several options as to how best respond to this challenge, I decided that if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a pair of photographs, both with the same field of view, spanning a century or more, and showing dramatic differences, would speak volumes to documenting that dynamic climate change is occurring over a very broad region of Alaska. To me, understating the obvious with photographic pairs was the best mechanism to present irrefutable, unambiguous, nonjudgmental, as well as unequivocal visual documentation that climate change was both underway and real. To date, more than 150 pairs that meet these criteria have been produced. What has surprised me most is that the many of the photographs contained in the pairs present beautiful images of stark, remote landscapes that convey the majestic nature of this dynamic region with its unique topography and landscapes. Typically, over periods of just several decades, the photographed landscapes change from black and white to blue and green. White ice becomes blue water and dark rock becomes lush vegetation. Repeat photography is a technique in which a historical photograph and a modern photograph, both having the same field of view, are compared and contrasted to quantitatively and qualitatively determine their similarities and differences. I have used this technique from both ground-based photo stations and airborne platforms at Alaskan locations in Kenai Fjords National Park, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

  10. Himalayan glaciers: understanding contrasting patterns of glacier behavior using multi-temporal satellite imagery

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Racoviteanu, A.

    2014-12-01

    High rates of glacier retreat for the last decades are often reported, and believed to be induced by 20th century climate changes. However, regional glacier fluctuations are complex, and depend on a combination of climate and local topography. Furthermore, in ares such as the Hindu-Kush Himalaya, there are concerns about warming, decreasing monsoon precipitation and their impact on local glacier regimes. Currently, the challenge is in understanding the magnitude of feedbacks between large-scale climate forcing and small-scale glacier behavior. Spatio-temporal patterns of glacier distribution are still llimited in some areas of the high Hindu-Kush Himalaya, but multi-temporal satellite imagery has helped fill spatial and temporal gaps in regional glacier parameters in the last decade. Here I present a synopsis of the behavior of glaciers across the Himalaya, following a west to east gradient. In particular, I focus on spatial patterns of glacier parameters in the eastern Himalaya, which I investigate at multi-spatial scales using remote sensing data from declassified Corona, ASTER, Landsat ETM+, Quickbird and Worldview2 sensors. I also present the use of high-resolution imagery, including texture and thermal analysis for mapping glacier features at small scale, which are particularly useful in understanding surface trends of debris-covered glaciers, which are prevalent in the Himalaya. I compare and contrast spatial patterns of glacier area and élévation changes in the monsoon-influenced eastern Himalaya (the Everest region in the Nepal Himalaya and Sikkim in the Indian Himalaya) with other observations from the dry western Indian Himalaya (Ladakh and Lahul-Spiti), both field measurements and remote sensing-based. In the eastern Himalaya, results point to glacier area change of -0.24 % ± 0.08% per year from the 1960's to the 2006's, with a higher rate of retreat in the last decade (-0.43% /yr). Debris-covered glacier tongues show thinning trends of -30.8 m± 39 m

  11. Climatology of Andean glaciers: A framework to understand glacier response to climate change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-04-01

    Recent glacial and climate models suggest that glaciers located in contrasting climates could respond with different magnitudes to identical climatic perturbations. This implies that to understand the response of glaciers to a particular climate perturbation or to compare glacial fluctuations between different regions, climate conditions that permit glaciers to exist must be taken into account. In this study we systematize, classify, and identify the spatial distribution of the climates that permit the occurrence of present-day glaciers in the climatically diverse Andes. A first approximation suggests that a sample of 234 Andean glaciers exist under three distinctive combinations of temperature and precipitation conditions: i) cold and dry, ii) intermediate, and iii) warm and wet conditions. Cluster analysis (CA) and Principal Component analysis (PCA) of temperature, precipitation, and humidity reveal seven climatic configurations that support present-day Andean glaciers and suggest that these configurations have a distinctive geographical distribution. The groups are: 1) inner tropics and Tierra del Fuego, 2) wetter outer tropics, 3) drier outer tropics, 4) subtropics, 5) central Chile-Argentina (semi-arid), 6) northern and central Patagonia, and 7) southern Patagonia. This classification provides a basis to examine the spatial variability of glacier sensitivity to climate change, to unravel the causes of past glacial fluctuations, to understand the climatic signals driving present-day glacier fluctuations, and perhaps to predict the response of glaciers to future climate changes.

  12. A Revised Glacier Inventory of Bhaga Basin Himachal Pradesh, India : Current Status and Recent Glacier Variations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Birajdar, F.; Venkataraman, G.; Bahuguna, I.; Samant, H.

    2014-11-01

    Himalayan glaciers show large uncertainty regarding their present and future state due to their sensitive reaction towards change in climatic condition. Himalayan glaciers are unique as they are located in tropical, high altitude regions, predominantly valley type and many are covered with debris. The great northern plains of India sustain on the perennial melt of glaciers meeting the water requirements of agriculture, industries, domestic sector even in the months of summer when large tracts of the country go dry. Therefore, it is important to monitor and assess the state of snow and glaciers and to know the sustainability of glaciers in view of changing global scenarios of climate and water security of the nation. Any information pertaining to Himalayan glaciers is normally difficult to be obtained by conventional means due to its harsh weather and rugged terrains. Due to the ecological diversity and geographical vividness, major part of the Indian Himalaya is largely un-investigated. Considering the fact that Himalayan glaciers are situated in a harsh environment, conventional techniques of their study is challenging and difficult both in terms of logistics and finances whereas the satellite remote sensing offers a potential mode for monitoring glaciers in long term. In order to gain an updated overview of the present state of the glacier cover and its changes since the previous inventories, an attempt has been made to generate a new remotesensing- derived glacier inventory on 1:50,000 scale for Bhaga basin (N32°28'19.7'' - N33°0'9.9'' ; E76°56'16.3'' - E77°25'23.7'' ) Western Himalaya covering an area of 1695.63 km2. having 231 glaciers and occupying glacierized area of 385.17 ±3.71 km2. ranging from 0.03 km2. to 29.28 km2. Glacier inventory has been carried out using high resolution IRS P6 LISS III data of 2011, ASTER DEM and other ancillary data. Specific measurements of mapped glacier features are the inputs for generating the glacier inventory data

  13. Biogeochemistry of glacier and rock glacier outflow in the western United States

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-12-01

    Glaciers are melting at unprecedented rates worldwide, releasing bioavailable minerals and nutrients and altering downstream biogeochemistry. Though much research has focused on the recession of ice-glaciers in alpine environments, far less is known about the melt dynamics and biogeochemistry of rock glaciers. Rock glaciers, which are mixtures of ice and rocks that flow like a glacier, are far more abundant in mountainous regions of the western United States than ice glaciers. Little is known about their influence on downstream hydrology and water quality. We report here preliminary results of a west-wide survey of the influence of glaciers and rock glaciers on headwater properties. Measurements of specific conductance, nitrate (NO3-), ammonium (NH4+), dissolved silica, and dissolved organic matter were compared between glaciers, rock glaciers, and snow-fed reference streams from three basins in the Colorado Front Range. Samples were collected from ice, where possible, and downstream at 500m intervals from the first flowing water to tree line. UV and fluorescence data were analyzed using excitation emission matrices (EEMs) and PARAFAC modeling. High concentrations of NH4+ were only found in ice and the most upstream locations; NH4+ was below detection at all lower elevation sites, whereas NO3- concentrations were low in the headwaters and higher downstream. The fluorescence spectrum of DOC from both ice and the highest elevations had a strong autochthonous (microbial or algal) signal that was replaced by a more allochtonous, terrestrially-derived DOC as it approached tree line. Rock glacier stream chemistry was intermediate between glacier-fed streams and strictly snow fed drainages. DOC levels for ice glaciers ranged 2-3mg/L with increasing values downstream, while rock glaciers ranged from 1-2.5 mg/L with attenuation downstream. Snowfed only streams had DOC values at detection <0.5mg/L, with the exception at Lake Husted outflow, with an upland wetland, unlike the

  14. Comprehensive spatiotemporal glacier and ice sheet velocity measurements from Landsat 8

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moon, Twila; Fahnestock, Mark; Scambos, Ted; Klinger, Marin; Haran, Terry

    2015-04-01

    Combining newly developed software with Landsat 8 image returns, we are now producing broad-coverage ice velocity measurements on weekly to monthly scales across ice sheets and glaciers. Using new image-to-image cross correlation software, named PyCorr, we take advantage of the improved radiometric resolution of the Landsat 8 panchromatic band to create velocity maps with sub-pixel accuracy. Landsat 8's 12-bit radiometric resolution supports measurement of ice flow in uncrevassed regions based on persistent sastrugi patterns lasting weeks to a few months. We also leverage these improvements to allow for ice sheet surface roughness measurements. Landsat 8's 16-day repeat orbit and increased image acquisition across the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets supports development of seasonal to annual ice sheet velocity mosaics with full coverage of coastal regions. We also create time series for examining sub-seasonal change with near real time processing in areas such as the Amundsen Sea Embayment and fast flowing Greenland outlet glaciers. In addition, excellent geolocation accuracy enables velocity mapping of smaller ice caps and glaciers, which we have already applied in Alaska and Patagonia. Finally, PyCorr can be used for velocity mapping with other remote sensing imagery, including high resolution WorldView satellite data.

  15. Processes of deposition of interlaminated sand-and-mud at a temperate tidewater glacier

    SciTech Connect

    Cowan, E.A.; Duncker, J.D.; Powell, R.D.

    1985-01-01

    Interlaminated sand-and-mud is the most common lithofacies deposited proximal (<1km) to McBride Glacier, Glacier Bay, Alaska. Two main sediment sources are a subglacial melt-water stream discharging at 100m depth that rises to form turbid overflow plumes and subaqueous sediment gravity flows. Traps collected sediment settling from turbid overflows within 300m of the glacier face at an average rate of 780mg dry sediment cm/sup -2/ day/sup -1/ (about. 06 cm/sup -2/ day /sup -1/). Very-fine sand or silt laminae (0.5mm to a few grains thick) trapped over several days, have sharp basal contacts and grade into thicker mud laminae. These couplets, termed cyclopels, are produced about twice daily, and result from plume interaction with diurnal tidal currents, fluctuations in melt water discharge and variations in spatial distribution of the overflow. Short cores from McBride Inlet include: sediment gravity flow deposits, cyclopels, ice-rafted debris, and homogeneous mud. Sediment gravity flow deposits predominate in cores from ice-proximal locations, and cyclopels are observed primarily in cores from distal locations (>1km) where they are not obscured by sediment gravity flow deposits. Ice-rafted debris is found as laminae in cores throughout the inlet because of high calving rates of debris-rich ice and the wide areal dispersal of bergs.

  16. Marine predator surveys in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bodkin, James L.; Kloecker, Kimberly A.; Coletti, Heather A.; Esslinger, George G.; Monson, Daniel H.; Ballachey, Brenda E.

    2002-01-01

    Since 1999, vessel based surveys to estimate species composition, distribution and relative abundance of marine birds and mammals have been conducted along coastal and pelagic (offshore) transects in Glacier Bay, Alaska. Surveys have been conducted during winter (November-March) and summer (June). This annual report presents the results of those surveys conducted in March and June of 2001. Following completion of surveys in 2002 we will provide a final report of the results of all surveys conducted between 1999 and 2002. Glacier Bay supports diverse and abundant assemblages of marine birds and mammals. In 2001 we identified 58 species of bird, 7 species of marine mammal, and 6 species of terrestrial mammal on transects sampled during winter and summer. Of course all species are not equally abundant. Among all taxa, in both seasons, sea ducks were the numerically dominant group. In their roles as consumers and because of their generally large size, marine mammals are also likely important in the consumption of energy produced in the Glacier Bay ecosystem. Most common and abundant marine birds and mammals can be placed in either a fish based (e.g. alcids and pinnipeds), or a benthic invertebrate (e.g. sea ducks and sea otters) based food web. Distinct differences in the species composition and abundance of marine birds were observed between winter and summer surveys. Winter marine bird assemblages were dominated numerically (> 11,000; 65% of all birds) by a relatively few species of sea ducks (scoters, goldeneye, Bufflehead, Harlequin and Long-tailed ducks). The sea ducks were distributed almost exclusively along near shore habitats. The prevalence of sea ducks during the March surveys indicates the importance of Glacier Bay as a wintering area for this poorly understood group of animals that occupy a high trophic position in a principally benthic invertebrate (mussel and clam) food web. Marine mammal assemblages were generally consistent between seasons, although

  17. Alaska Resource Data File, Wiseman quadrangle, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Britton, Joe M.

    2003-01-01

    Descriptions of the mineral occurrences shown on the accompanying figure follow. See U.S. Geological Survey (1996) for a description of the information content of each field in the records. The data presented here are maintained as part of a statewide database on mines, prospects and mineral occurrences throughout Alaska.

  18. Geometric evolution of the Horcones Inferior Glacier (Mount Aconcagua, Central Andes) during the 2002-2006 surge

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pitte, Pierre; Berthier, Etienne; Masiokas, Mariano H.; Cabot, Vincent; Ruiz, Lucas; Ferri Hidalgo, Lidia; Gargantini, Hernán.; Zalazar, Laura

    2016-01-01

    The Central Andes of Chile and Argentina (31-35°S) contain a large number and variety of ice masses, but only two surging glaciers have been studied in this region. We analyzed the 2002-2006 surge of the Horcones Inferior Glacier, Mount Aconcagua, Argentina, based on medium spatial resolution (15-30 m) satellite images and digital elevation models. During the buildup phase the glacier was stagnant, with velocities lower than 0.1 m/d. In the active-phase velocities reached 14 m/d and the glacier front advanced 3.1 km. At the peak of the active phase (2003-2004), the area-averaged elevation change was -42 m in the reservoir zone (2.53 km2) and +30 m in the receiving zone (3.31 km2). The estimated ice flux through a cross section located at 4175 meter above sea level was 108 m3 during a period of 391 days, a flux that suggests a mean glacier thickness at this location of ~90 m. The depletion phase showed a recovery of the reservoir zone elevation, the down wasting of the receiving zone (-17 m, 2007-2014), and a return to quiescent velocities. The short active phase, the abrupt change in the velocities, and the high level of the proglacial stream indicate a hydrological switch (Alaska type) trigger. The 2002-2006 and 1984-1990 surges of Horcones Inferior were synchronous with the surges of nearby Grande del Nevado Glacier. These events occurred after periods of positive mass balance, so we hypothesize a climate driver.

  19. Libraries in Alaska: MedlinePlus

    MedlinePlus

    ... this page: https://medlineplus.gov/libraries/alaska.html Libraries in Alaska To use the sharing features on ... JavaScript. Anchorage University of Alaska Anchorage Alaska Medical Library 3211 Providence Drive Anchorage, AK 99508-8176 907- ...

  20. Distinct patterns of seasonal Greenland glacier velocity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moon, Twila; Joughin, Ian; Smith, Ben; Broeke, Michiel R.; Berg, Willem Jan; Noël, Brice; Usher, Mika

    2014-10-01

    Predicting Greenland Ice Sheet mass loss due to ice dynamics requires a complete understanding of spatiotemporal velocity fluctuations and related control mechanisms. We present a 5 year record of seasonal velocity measurements for 55 marine-terminating glaciers distributed around the ice sheet margin, along with ice-front position and runoff data sets for each glacier. Among glaciers with substantial speed variations, we find three distinct seasonal velocity patterns. One pattern indicates relatively high glacier sensitivity to ice-front position. The other two patterns are more prevalent and appear to be meltwater controlled. These patterns reveal differences in which some subglacial systems likely transition seasonally from inefficient, distributed hydrologic networks to efficient, channelized drainage, while others do not. The difference may be determined by meltwater availability, which in some regions may be influenced by perennial firn aquifers. Our results highlight the need to understand subglacial meltwater availability on an ice sheet-wide scale to predict future dynamic changes.

  1. Complex Greenland outlet glacier flow captured

    PubMed Central

    Aschwanden, Andy; Fahnestock, Mark A.; Truffer, Martin

    2016-01-01

    The Greenland Ice Sheet is losing mass at an accelerating rate due to increased surface melt and flow acceleration in outlet glaciers. Quantifying future dynamic contributions to sea level requires accurate portrayal of outlet glaciers in ice sheet simulations, but to date poor knowledge of subglacial topography and limited model resolution have prevented reproduction of complex spatial patterns of outlet flow. Here we combine a high-resolution ice-sheet model coupled to uniformly applied models of subglacial hydrology and basal sliding, and a new subglacial topography data set to simulate the flow of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Flow patterns of many outlet glaciers are well captured, illustrating fundamental commonalities in outlet glacier flow and highlighting the importance of efforts to map subglacial topography. Success in reproducing present day flow patterns shows the potential for prognostic modelling of ice sheets without the need for spatially varying parameters with uncertain time evolution. PMID:26830316

  2. Stabilizing feedbacks in glacier-bed erosion.

    PubMed

    Alley, R B; Lawson, D E; Larson, G J; Evenson, E B; Baker, G S

    2003-08-14

    Glaciers often erode, transport and deposit sediment much more rapidly than nonglacial environments, with implications for the evolution of glaciated mountain belts and their associated sedimentary basins. But modelling such glacial processes is difficult, partly because stabilizing feedbacks similar to those operating in rivers have not been identified for glacial landscapes. Here we combine new and existing data of glacier morphology and the processes governing glacier evolution from diverse settings to reveal such stabilizing feedbacks. We find that the long profiles of beds of highly erosive glaciers tend towards steady-state angles opposed to and slightly more than 50 per cent steeper than the overlying ice-air surface slopes, and that additional subglacial deepening must be enabled by non-glacial processes. Climatic or glaciological perturbations of the ice-air surface slope can have large transient effects on glaciofluvial sediment flux and apparent glacial erosion rate. PMID:12917679

  3. Complex Greenland outlet glacier flow captured.

    PubMed

    Aschwanden, Andy; Fahnestock, Mark A; Truffer, Martin

    2016-01-01

    The Greenland Ice Sheet is losing mass at an accelerating rate due to increased surface melt and flow acceleration in outlet glaciers. Quantifying future dynamic contributions to sea level requires accurate portrayal of outlet glaciers in ice sheet simulations, but to date poor knowledge of subglacial topography and limited model resolution have prevented reproduction of complex spatial patterns of outlet flow. Here we combine a high-resolution ice-sheet model coupled to uniformly applied models of subglacial hydrology and basal sliding, and a new subglacial topography data set to simulate the flow of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Flow patterns of many outlet glaciers are well captured, illustrating fundamental commonalities in outlet glacier flow and highlighting the importance of efforts to map subglacial topography. Success in reproducing present day flow patterns shows the potential for prognostic modelling of ice sheets without the need for spatially varying parameters with uncertain time evolution. PMID:26830316

  4. Towards a complete World Glacier Inventory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zemp, Michael

    2013-04-01

    The need for an inventory of the world's glaciers evolved during the International Hydrological Decade (1965-74). As a result, guidelines were established in the mid 1970s to compile a worldwide detailed inventory of existing perennial snow and ice masses. Following these international guidelines, several countries started compiling national glacier inventories based primarily on aerial photographs and maps. In the 1980s, the World Glacier Inventory (WGI) database was launched together with a status report about global and regional glacierised surface areas for the second half of the 20th century. These estimates were based on the detailed inventory data together with preliminary estimates of the remaining glacierised regions derived from early satellite imagery. In the late 1990s, the Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) database was initiated to continue the inventory task with space-borne sensors. In the WGI, glaciers are represented by geographical point coordinates. The GLIMS database includes digital outlines. Both include exact time stamps and tabular information on glacier classifications, length, area, orientation, and altitude range. Both are regularly updated with newly available data: the WGI stores point information for the second half of the 20th century whereas the GLIMS includes digital outlines for the 21st century. Since these detailed glacier inventories are not (yet) globally complete, there have been several efforts towards preliminary estimates of the overall global glacier coverage. A first, well elaborated one was included in the original status report of the WGI, published in 1989, and was refined in 2005 with information from other sources by Dyurgerov and Meier. Other studies used the detailed WGI, or an extended format by Cogley, for regional or global up-scaling of glacier extents. In 2003, Cogley published a global map of percentage glacier coverage per 1°x1° grid box (GGHydro) that is widely used for modeling at global

  5. The fleeting glaciers of the Arctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bakke, Jostein; Røthe, Torgeir; van der Bilt, Willem; Paasche, Øyvind

    2015-04-01

    Glaciers and snow are the very symbol of the Arctic, covering large parts of its terrestrial surface throughout the year. The cool temperatures that have allowed for the widespread coverage of glaciers are now trending towards a warmer climate, and with this gradual shift we observe a non-linear response in the cryosphere of which glaciers are a key component. This change is manifested in retreating fronts and an overall thinning. Because the typology of Arctic glaciers is rich and varied, the response pattern to the on-going warming is not unison. Instead we observe large spatial variations due to the critical balance between summer temperature and winter precipitation, but also other factors such as aspect, altitude, geographical location, debris cover and so forth. Even so, minor variations is superimposed on a larger trends which suggests that in a not so distant future, glaciers will probably be less abundant than what has been common for the last 100 years. In the context of the last 10 000 years it is evident that arctic glaciers have changed significantly and they have even been smaller than they are today, which was the case 9000 to 5000 years ago. On Svalbard, three glacier lake sediment records foretell of large past variations, indicating a more articulated sensitivity to climate change than what is commonly perceived for the Arctic cryosphere. Based on the lake sediment studies we will discuss Arctic glaciers sensitivity to decadal to millenium scale climate fluctuations and discuss possible forcing mechanims behind suitable for explaining what we see.

  6. Fuzzy Cognitive Maps for Glacier Hazards Assessment: Application to Predicting the Potential for Glacier Lake Outbursts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Furfaro, R.; Kargel, J. S.; Fink, W.; Bishop, M. P.

    2010-12-01

    Glaciers and ice sheets are among the largest unstable parts of the solid Earth. Generally, glaciers are devoid of resources (other than water), are dangerous, are unstable and no infrastructure is normally built directly on their surfaces. Areas down valley from large alpine glaciers are also commonly unstable due to landslide potential of moraines, debris flows, snow avalanches, outburst floods from glacier lakes, and other dynamical alpine processes; yet there exists much development and human occupation of some disaster-prone areas. Satellite remote sensing can be extremely effective in providing cost-effective and time- critical information. Space-based imagery can be used to monitor glacier outlines and their lakes, including processes such as iceberg calving and debris accumulation, as well as changing thicknesses and flow speeds. Such images can also be used to make preliminary identifications of specific hazardous spots and allows preliminary assessment of possible modes of future disaster occurrence. Autonomous assessment of glacier conditions and their potential for hazards would present a major advance and permit systematized analysis of more data than humans can assess. This technical leap will require the design and implementation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms specifically designed to mimic glacier experts’ reasoning. Here, we introduce the theory of Fuzzy Cognitive Maps (FCM) as an AI tool for predicting and assessing natural hazards in alpine glacier environments. FCM techniques are employed to represent expert knowledge of glaciers physical processes. A cognitive model embedded in a fuzzy logic framework is constructed via the synergistic interaction between glaciologists and AI experts. To verify the effectiveness of the proposed AI methodology as applied to predicting hazards in glacier environments, we designed and implemented a FCM that addresses the challenging problem of autonomously assessing the Glacier Lake Outburst Flow

  7. Where glaciers meet water: Subaqueous melt and its relevance to glaciers in various settings

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Truffer, Martin; Motyka, Roman J.

    2016-03-01

    Glacier change is ubiquitous, but the fastest and largest magnitude changes occur in glaciers that terminate in water. This includes the most rapidly retreating glaciers, and also several advancing ones, often in similar regional climate settings. Furthermore, water-terminating glaciers show a large range in morphology, particularly when ice flow into ocean water is compared to that into freshwater lakes. All water-terminating glaciers share the ability to lose significant volume of ice at the front, either through mechanical calving or direct melt from the water in contact. Here we present a review of the subaqueous melt process. We discuss the relevant physics and show how different physical settings can lead to different glacial responses. We find that subaqueous melt can be an important trigger for glacier change. It can explain many of the morphological differences, such as the existence or absence of floating tongues. Subaqueous melting is influenced by glacial runoff, which is largely a function of atmospheric conditions. This shows a tight connection between atmosphere, oceans and lakes, and glaciers. Subaqueous melt rates, even if shown to be large, should always be discussed in the context of ice supply to the glacier front to assess its overall relevance. We find that melt is often relevant to explain seasonal evolution, can be instrumental in shifting a glacier into a different dynamical regime, and often forms a large part of a glacier's mass loss. On the other hand, in some cases, melt is a small component of mass loss and does not significantly affect glacier response.

  8. Integrated glacier and snow hydrological modelling in the Urumqi No.1 Glacier catchment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gao, Hongkai; Hrachowitz, Markus; Savenije, Hubert

    2015-04-01

    The glacier and snow melt water from mountainous area is an essential water resource in Northwest China, where the climate is arid. Therefore a hydrologic model including glacier and snow melt simulation is in an urgent need for water resources management and prediction under climate change in this region. In this study, the Urumqi No.1 Glacier catchment in Northwest China, with 51% area covered by glacier, was selected as the study site. An integrated daily hydrological model was developed to systematically simulate the hydrograph, runoff separation (glacier and non-glacier runoff), the glacier mass balance (GMB), the equilibrium line altitude (ELA), and the snow water equivalent (SWE). Only precipitation, temperature and sunshine hour data is required as forcing input. A combination method, which applies degree-day approach during dry periods and empirical energy balance formulation during wet seasons, was implemented to simulate snow and glacier melt. Detailed snow melt processes were included in the model, including the water holding capacity of snow pack, the liquid water refreezing process in snow pack, and the change of albedo with time. A traditional rainfall-runoff model (Xinanjiang) was applied to simulate the rainfall(snowmelt)-runoff process in non-glacierized area. Additionally, the influence of elevation on temperature and precipitation distribution, and the impact of different aspect on snow and glacier melting were considered. The model was validated, not only by long-term observed daily runoff data, but also by measured snow (SWE) and glacier data (GMB, ELA) of over 50 years. Furthermore, the calibrated model can be upscaled into a larger catchment, which further supports our proposed model and optimized parameter sets.

  9. Glacier speed-up events and water inputs on the lower Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kehrl, L. M.; Horgan, H.; Mackintosh, A. N.; Anderson, B. A.; Dadic, R.

    2012-12-01

    A glacier speed-up event occurs when a water input exceeds the capacity of the subglacial drainage system, and the subglacial water pressure increases. Several studies have suggested that glacier speed-up events do not affect overall glacier motion, as high ice-flow velocities during the event are offset by lower ice-flow velocities after the event due to a more efficient subglacial drainage system. In this study, we combine in-situ velocity measurements with a full Stokes glacier flowline model to explore the temporal and spatial variability in glacier flow on the lower Franz Josef Glacier, Southern Alps, New Zealand. Significant volumes of water enter the Franz Josef Glacier throughout the year due to high rainfall rates and year-round ablation. As a result, we infer that the subglacial drainage system is generally well-developed. In late summer (March) 2011, measured ice-flow velocities increased by up to 75% above background values because of rain events and by up to 32% above background values because of diurnal melt cycles. The observed speed-up events occurred at all survey locations within 4 ± 1 hours after the peak water input. We use a flowline model to show that a spatially-uniform subglacial water pressure, which increased during periods of heavy rain and glacier melt, can reproduce the measured ice-flow velocities across the lower glacier. From our results, we suggest that the variability in water inputs, rather than the mean water input to the system, is the primary driver in glacier speed-up events. If this is the case and the variability in water inputs is maintained, then glacier speed-up events can occur even if the subglacial drainage system is well-developed.

  10. Rheology of rock glaciers: a preliminary assessment

    SciTech Connect

    Giardino, J.R.; Vitek, J.D.; Hoskins, E.R.

    1985-01-01

    Movement of rock debris under the influence of gravity, i.e., mass movement, generates a range of phenomena from soil creep, through solifluction,debris flows and rock glaciers to rock falls. Whereas the resultant forms of these phenomena are different, common elements in the mechanics of movement are utilized in the basic interpretation of the processes of formation. Measurements of morphologic variables provide data for deductive analyses of processes that operate too slowly to observe or for processes that generated relict phenomena. External and internal characteristics or rock glacier morphometry and measured rates of motion serve as the basis for the development of a rheological model to explain phenomena classified as rock glaciers. A rock glacier in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Southern Colorado, which exhibits a large number of ridges and furrows and lichen bare fronts of lobes, suggests present day movement. A strain-net established on the surface provides evidence of movement characteristics. These data plus morphologic and fabric data suggest two rheological models to explain the flow of this rock glacier. Model one is based upon perfect plastic flow and model two is based upon stratified fluid movement with viscosity changing with depth. These models permit a better understanding of the movement mechanics and demonstrate that catastrophic events and slow creep contribute to the morphologic characteristics of this rock glacier.

  11. Creating improved ASTER DEMs over glacierized terrain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2006-12-01

    Digital elevation models (DEMs) produced from ASTER stereo imagery over glacierized terrain frequently contain data voids, which some software packages fill by interpolation. Even when interpolation is applied, the results are often not accurate enough for studies of glacier thickness changes. DEMs are created by automatic cross-correlation between the image pairs, and rely on spatial variability in the digital number (DN) values for this process. Voids occur in radiometrically homogeneous regions, such as glacier accumulation areas covered with uniform snow, due to lack of correlation. The same property that leads to lack of correlation makes possible the derivation of elevation information from photoclinometry, also known as shape-from-shading. We demonstrate a technique to produce improved DEMs from ASTER data by combining the results from conventional cross-correlation DEM-generation software with elevation information produced from shape-from-shading in the accumulation areas of glacierized terrain. The resulting DEMs incorporate more information from the imagery, and the filled voids more accurately represent the glacier surface. This will allow for more accurate determination of glacier hypsometry and thickness changes, leading to better predictions of response to climate change.

  12. Glacier area and length changes in Norway from repeat inventories

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Winsvold, S. H.; Andreassen, L. M.; Kienholz, C.

    2014-10-01

    In this study, we assess glacier area and length changes in mainland Norway from repeat Landsat TM/ETM+-derived inventories and digitized topographic maps. The multi-temporal glacier inventory consists of glacier outlines from three time ranges: 1947 to 1985 (GIn50), 1988 to 1997 (GI1990), and 1999 to 2006 (GI2000). For the northernmost regions, we include an additional inventory (GI1900) based on historic maps surveyed between 1895 and 1907. Area and length changes are assessed per glacier unit, 36 subregions, and for three main parts of Norway: southern, central, and northern. The results show a decrease in the glacierized area from 2994 km2 in GIn50 to 2668 km2 in GI2000 (total 2722 glacier units), corresponding to an area reduction of -326 km2, or -11% of the initial GIn50 area. The average length change for the full epoch (within GIn50 and GI2000) is -240 m. Overall, the comparison reveals both area and length reductions as general patterns, even though some glaciers have advanced. The three northernmost subregions show the highest retreat rates, whereas the central part of Norway shows the lowest change rates. Glacier area and length changes indicate that glaciers in maritime areas in southern Norway have retreated more than glaciers in the interior, and glaciers in the north have retreated more than southern glaciers. These observed spatial trends in glacier change are related to a combination of several factors such as glacier geometry, elevation, and continentality, especially in southern Norway.

  13. Economic impacts of the S. S. Glacier Bay oil spill: Social and economic studies. Technical report (Final)

    SciTech Connect

    Burden, P.; Isaacs, J.; Richardson, J.; Braund, S.; Witten, E.

    1990-11-01

    On July 2, 1987, an oil spill occurred in Cook Inlet when the S.S. Glacier Bay hit a submerged obstacle while enroute to Kenai Pipeline Company facilities to offload oil. The 1987 commercial fishery in Cook Inlet was barely underway when the S.S. Glacier Bay oil spill occurred, and the largest salmon return in history was moving up the inlet. The sockeye salmon run alone totaled over 12 million, providing a seasonal catch of 9.25 million salmon. The 1987 sport fishery in Cook Inlet was in mid-season at the time of the spill. The S.S. Glacier Bay oil spill represents an opportunity to study the economic impacts of an oil spill event in Alaska, particularly with regard to commercial fishing impacts and the public costs of cleanup. The report evaluates the existing information on the spill, response measures, and economic impacts, and adds discussions with individuals and groups involved in or affected by the spill to this data base. The report reviewed accounts of the oil spill and its costs; identified types and sources of data, developed protocol, and contacted groups and people for data collection and verification; and described, analyzed, and prepared reports of the economic effects of the S.S. Glacier Bay oil spill.

  14. Modeling debris-covered glaciers: response to steady debris deposition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anderson, Leif S.; Anderson, Robert S.

    2016-05-01

    Debris-covered glaciers are common in rapidly eroding alpine landscapes. When thicker than a few centimeters, surface debris suppresses melt rates. If continuous debris cover is present, ablation rates can be significantly reduced leading to increases in glacier length. In order to quantify feedbacks in the debris-glacier-climate system, we developed a 2-D long-valley numerical glacier model that includes englacial and supraglacial debris advection. We ran 120 simulations on a linear bed profile in which a hypothetical steady state debris-free glacier responds to a step increase of surface debris deposition. Simulated glaciers advance to steady states in which ice accumulation equals ice ablation, and debris input equals debris loss from the glacier terminus. Our model and parameter selections can produce 2-fold increases in glacier length. Debris flux onto the glacier and the relationship between debris thickness and melt rate strongly control glacier length. Debris deposited near the equilibrium-line altitude, where ice discharge is high, results in the greatest glacier extension when other debris-related variables are held constant. Debris deposited near the equilibrium-line altitude re-emerges high in the ablation zone and therefore impacts melt rate over a greater fraction of the glacier surface. Continuous debris cover reduces ice discharge gradients, ice thickness gradients, and velocity gradients relative to initial debris-free glaciers. Debris-forced glacier extension decreases the ratio of accumulation zone to total glacier area (AAR). Our simulations reproduce the "general trends" between debris cover, AARs, and glacier surface velocity patterns from modern debris-covered glaciers. We provide a quantitative, theoretical foundation to interpret the effect of debris cover on the moraine record, and to assess the effects of climate change on debris-covered glaciers.

  15. Measuring the Surface Motion of Fast-Moving Glaciers with Expendable, Low-Cost GPS (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Howat, I. M.; Behar, A. E.; Brown, A. K.

    2009-12-01

    -effective option. Single-channel GPS receivers are available for a small fraction of the cost of geodetic quality systems and, when a differential correction is applied (DGPS), provide displacement accuracies of decimeters. While this level of accuracy is too coarse to resolve speed variations on most glaciers, average speeds in excess of 10 m/day are common near the fronts of calving glaciers, so that the error may only be 10% of the motion or less. Furthermore, such glaciers are typically bounded by fjord walls where equipment can be safely deployed and retrieved. Data from the receivers need only to be transmitted a short distance to a data logger for storage, allowing for the use of less expensive, more reliable and lower power radio frequency (RF) data modems, rather than satellite modems. Here we present a low-cost integrated single-channel DGPS and RF telemetry system for deployment on fast-moving glaciers where recovery is unlikely or will not be attempted. We describe the system, including data processing methods and accuracies, and present results from test deployments on glaciers in Alaska and Greenland.

  16. What Influences Climate and Glacier Change in the Southwestern China?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yasunari, Teppei J.

    2012-01-01

    The subject of climate change in the areas of the Tibetan Plateau (TP) and the Himalayas has taken on increasing importance because of available water resources from their mountain glaciers. Many of these glaciers over the region have been retreating, while some are advancing and stable. Other studies report that some glaciers in the Himalayas show acceleration on their shrinkage. However, the causes of the glacier meltings are still difficult to grasp because of the complexity of climatic change and its influence on glacier issues. However, it is vital that we pursue further study to enable the future prediction on glacier changes.

  17. Alaska Resource Data File, Point Lay quadrangle, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grybeck, Donald J.

    2006-01-01

    This report gives descriptions of the mineral occurrences in the Point Lay 1:250,000-scale quadrangle, Alaska. The data presented here are maintained as part of a statewide database on mines, prospects and mineral occurrences throughout Alaska.

  18. Glacier Changes in the Russian High Arctic.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pritchard, M. E.; Willis, M. J.; Melkonian, A. K.; Golos, E. M.; Stewart, A.; Ornelas, G.; Ramage, J. M.

    2014-12-01

    We provide new surveys of ice speeds and surface elevation changes for ~40,000 km2 of glaciers and ice caps at the Novaya Zemlya (NovZ) and Severnaya Zemlya (SevZ) Archipelagoes in the Russian High Arctic. The contribution to sea level rise from this ice is expected to increase as the region continues to warm at above average rates. We derive ice speeds using pixel-tracking on radar and optical imagery, with additional information from InSAR. Ice speeds have generally increased at outlet glaciers compared to those measured using interferometry from the mid-1990s'. The most pronounced acceleration is at Inostrantseva Glacier, one of the northernmost glaciers draining into the Barents Sea on NovZ. Thinning rates over the last few decades are derived by regressing stacked elevations from multiple Digital Elevations Models (DEMs) sourced from ASTER and Worldview stereo-imagery and cartographically derived DEMs. DEMs are calibrated and co-registered using ICESat returns over bedrock. On NovZ thinning of between 60 and 100 meters since the 1950s' is common. Similar rates between the late 1980s' and the present are seen at SevZ. We examine in detail the response of the outlet glaciers of the Karpinsky and Russanov Ice Caps on SevZ to the rapid collapse of the Matusevich Ice Shelf in the late summer of 2012. We do not see a dynamic thinning response at the largest feeder glaciers. This may be due to the slow response of the cold polar glaciers to changing boundary conditions, or the glaciers may be grounded well above sea level. Speed increases in the interior are difficult to assess with optical imagery as there are few trackable features. We therefore use pixel tracking on Terra SARX acquisitions before and after the collapse of the ice shelf to compute rates of flow inland, at slow moving ice. Interior ice flow has not accelerated in response to the collapse of the ice shelf but interior rates at the Karpinsky Ice Cap have increased by about 50% on the largest outlet

  19. Bokan Mountain peralkaline granitic complex, Alexander terrane (southeastern Alaska): evidence for Early Jurassic rifting prior to accretion with North America

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dostal, Jaroslav; Karl, Susan M.; Keppie, J. Duncan; Kontak, Daniel J.; Shellnutt, J. Gregory

    2013-01-01

    The circular Bokan Mountain complex (BMC) on southern Prince of Wales Island, southernmost Alaska, is a Jurassic peralkaline granitic intrusion about 3 km in diameter that crosscuts igneous and metasedimentary rocks of the Alexander terrane. The BMC hosts significant rare metal (rare earth elements, Y, U, Th, Zr, and Nb) mineralization related to the last stage of BMC emplacement. U–Pb (zircon) and 40Ar/39Ar (amphibole and whole-rock) geochronology indicates the following sequence of intrusive activity: (i) a Paleozoic basement composed mainly of 469 ± 4 Ma granitic rocks; (ii) intrusion of the BMC at 177 ± 1 Ma followed by rapid cooling through ca. 550 °C at 176 ± 1 Ma that was synchronous with mineralization associated with vertical, WNW-trending pegmatites, felsic dikes, and aegirine–fluorite veins and late-stage, sinistral shear deformation; and (iii) intrusion of crosscutting lamprophyre dikes at >150 Ma and again at ca. 105 Ma. The peralkaline nature of the BMC and the WNW trend of associated dikes suggest intrusion during NE–SW rifting that was followed by NE–SW shortening during the waning stages of BMC emplacement. The 177 Ma BMC was synchronous with other magmatic centres in the Alexander terrane, such as (1) the Dora Bay peralkaline stock and (2) the bimodal Moffatt volcanic suite located ~30 km north and ~100 km SE of the BMC, respectively. This regional magmatism is interpreted to represent a regional extensional event that precedes deposition of the Late Jurassic – Cretaceous Gravina sequence that oversteps the Wrangellia and Alexander exotic accreted terranes and the Taku and Yukon–Tanana pericratonic terranes of the Canadian–Alaskan Cordillera.

  20. Evaluating the performance of a glacier erosion model applied to Peyto Glacier, Alberta, Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vogt, R.; Mlynowski, T. J.; Menounos, B.

    2013-12-01

    Glaciers are effective agents of erosion for many mountainous regions, but primary rates of erosion are difficult to quantify due to unknown conditions at the glacier bed. We develop a numerical model of subglacial erosion and passively couple it to a vertically integrated ice flow model (UBC regional glaciation model). The model accounts for seasonal changes in water pressure at the glacier bed which affect rates of abrasion and quarrying. We apply our erosion model to Peyto Glacier, and compare estimates of glacier erosion to the mass of fine sediment contained in a lake immediately down valley from the glacier. A series of experiments with our model and ones based on subglacial sliding rates are run to explore model sensitivity to bedrock hardness, seasonal hydrology, changes in mass balance, and longer-term dimensional changes of the glacier. Our experiments show that, as expected, erosion rates are most sensitive to bedrock hardness and changes in glacier mass balance. Silt and clay contained in Peyto Lake primarily originate from the glacier, and represent sediments derived from abrasion and comminution of material produced by quarrying. Average specific sediment yield during the period AD1917-1970 from the lake is 467×190 Mg km-2yr-1 and reaches a maximum of 928 Mg km-2yr-1 in AD1941. Converting to a specific sediment yield, modelled average abrasion and quarrying rates during the comparative period are 142×44 Mg km-2yr-1 and 1167×213 Mg km-2yr-1 respectively. Modelled quarrying accounts for approximately 85-95% of the erosion occurring beneath the glacier. The basal sliding model estimates combined abrasion and quarrying. During the comparative period, estimated yields average 427×136 Mg km-2yr-1, lower than the combined abrasion and quarrying models. Both models predict maximum sediment yield when Peyto Glacier reached its maximum extent. The simplistic erosion model shows higher sensitivity to climate, as seen by accentuated sediment yield peaks

  1. Winter speed-up during a quiescent phase of surge-type glaciers: observations and implications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abe, T.; Furuya, M.

    2014-12-01

    Glacier surface velocity is a combination of the internal deformation of ice and basal slip (including till deformation overlying bedrock) (Cuffey and Paterson, 2010). Short-term velocity changes can be attributed to basal slip associated with water pressure changes because of both the seasonal meltwater input and the evolution of the englacial and subglacial hydrological system. Thus, examining the velocity changes with high spatial and temporal resolution is helpful to understand how subglacial conditions evolve and control the surface velocities. We examined spatial and temporal velocity changes at quiescent surge-type glaciers near the border of Alaska/Yukon by SAR offset tracking and found significant acceleration from fall to winter regardless of surge events. Moreover, whereas the upstream propagating summer speed-up was observed, the winter speed-up propagated from upstream to downstream. Lingle and Fatland (2003) proposed the englacial water storages as the fundamental driver of temperate-glacier surge. Although our observations were performed at the quiescent and rather poly-thermal than temperate surge-type glaciers, our observations also support the englacial water storage hypothesis. Namely, the englacial water storages that do not directly connect to the surface can promote basal sliding through increased water pressure as winter approaches. Glacier surge often initiates in winter (Raymond, 1987), which has been explained by creep closure of efficient drainage system in fall and subsequent higher water pressure in winter. Mini-surges are also known in this area, and have been interpreted in a similar mechanism. However, in order to maintain the higher water pressure for some time period in winter, there should be such sources that can keep supplying the water to the bed. It has been uncertain, however, if, how and where the water can be stored in winter. Also, we should keep in mind that many of the previously known mini-surges were actually occurring

  2. The topographically asymmetrical Alaska Range: Multiple tectonic drivers through space and time

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Benowitz, Jeffrey

    The topographically segmented, ˜700 km long Alaska Range evolved over the last ˜50 Ma in response to both far-field driving mechanisms and near-field boundary conditions. The eastern Alaska Range follows the curve of the Denali Fault strike-slip system, forming a large arc of high topography across southern Alaska. The majority of the topography in the eastern Alaska Range lies north of the Fault. A region of low topography separates the eastern Alaska Range from the central Alaska Range, where most of the high topography lies south of the Denali Fault. To the west, there is a restraining bend in the Fault. Southwest of the bend, the north-south trending western Alaska Range takes an abrupt 90 degree turn away from the Denali Fault. I applied 40Ar/39Ar thermochronology to over forty granitic samples to constrain the thermal history of the western and eastern Alaska Range. I combine the 40Ar/39Ar analyses with available apatite fission track and apatite (U-Th)/He dating. I then inferred the Alaska Range's exhumation history from the region's rates and patterns of rock cooling. Periods of mountain building within the Alaska Range are related to Paleocene-Eocene ridge subduction and an associated slab window (˜50 Ma to ˜35 Ma), Neogene flat-slab subduction of the Yakutat microplate (˜24 Ma to present), Yakutat microplate latitudinal variation in thickness (˜6 Ma to present), block rotation/migration, and fault reorganization along the Denali Fault. However, it is clear from basin, petrological and thermochronological constraints that not all of the far-field driving mechanisms affected every segment of the Alaska Range to the same degree or at the same time. Alaska Range tectonic reconstruction is also complicated by near-field structural controls on both the timing and extent of deformation. Fault geometry affects both the amount of exhumation (e.g., ˜14 km in the Susitna Glacier region of the eastern Alaska Range) and location of topographic development (e

  3. Alaska Resource Data File: Chignik quadrangle, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pilcher, Steven H.

    2000-01-01

    Descriptions of the mineral occurrences can be found in the report. See U.S. Geological Survey (1996) for a description of the information content of each field in the records. The data presented here are maintained as part of a statewide database on mines, prospects and mineral occurrences throughout Alaska. There is a website from which you can obtain the data for this report in text and Filemaker Pro formats

  4. Glacier Surface Monitoring by Maximizing Mutual Information

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Erten, E.; Rossi, C.; Hajnsek, I.

    2012-07-01

    The contribution of Polarimetric Synthetic Aperture Radar (PolSAR) images compared with the single-channel SAR in terms of temporal scene characterization has been found and described to add valuable information in the literature. However, despite a number of recent studies focusing on single polarized glacier monitoring, the potential of polarimetry to estimate the surface velocity of glaciers has not been explored due to the complex mechanism of polarization through glacier/snow. In this paper, a new approach to the problem of monitoring glacier surface velocity is proposed by means of temporal PolSAR images, using a basic concept from information theory: Mutual Information (MI). The proposed polarimetric tracking method applies the MI to measure the statistical dependence between temporal polarimetric images, which is assumed to be maximal if the images are geometrically aligned. Since the proposed polarimetric tracking method is very powerful and general, it can be implemented into any kind of multivariate remote sensing data such as multi-spectral optical and single-channel SAR images. The proposed polarimetric tracking is then used to retrieve surface velocity of Aletsch glacier located in Switzerland and of Inyltshik glacier in Kyrgyzstan with two different SAR sensors; Envisat C-band (single polarized) and DLR airborne L-band (fully polarimetric) systems, respectively. The effect of number of channel (polarimetry) into tracking investigations demonstrated that the presence of snow, as expected, effects the location of the phase center in different polarization, such as glacier tracking with temporal HH compared to temporal VV channels. Shortly, a change in polarimetric signature of the scatterer can change the phase center, causing a question of how much of what I am observing is motion then penetration. In this paper, it is shown that considering the multi-channel SAR statistics, it is possible to optimize the separate these contributions.

  5. Stationary monitoring of glacier response to climate change in China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ren, Jiawen; Li, Zhongqin; Qin, Xiang; He, Yuanqing; He, Xiaobo; Li, Huilin

    2016-04-01

    At present, there are about 48571 glaciers with a total area of about 51.8×103 km2 and a volume of about 5.6×103 km3 in China. They are distributed widely in the high mountains in and surrounding the Tibetan Plateau and other high mountains such as Tianshan, Altay and Pamir. In view of differences in climatic conditions and glacier types, stationary monitoring of the glacier variations has been ongoing in different regions in order to investigate the glacier response to climate change. The monitoring results show that all the monitoring glaciers have been in retreat during the past decades and especially since 1990's the retreat rate has an accelerating trend. The accumulative mass balance is much negative and has a large annual variability for the monsoonal maritime glaciers in comparison with the continental and sub-continental glaciers. Under climate warming background, the acceleration of glacier melting is mainly attributed to rise in air temperature, ice temperature augment and albedo reduction of glacier surface. Particularly, the albedo reduction has a positive feedback effect on the glacier melting. Based on long term observation of glacier variations and physical properties, a simple dynamics model is coupled with mass balance modeling to make a projection of a typical glacier change in future. The primary modeling results suggest that the glacier will continue in shrinkage until vanishing within 50-90 years.

  6. Rock glaciers and the sediment dynamics in arid mountain belts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blöthe, Jan Henrik; Höser, Thorsten; Rosenwinkel, Swenja; Korup, Oliver

    2016-04-01

    Rock glaciers are common periglacial features in highest elevations of semiarid to arid mountain ranges. Rock glaciers predominate in realms where precipitation values fall below thresholds that allow for ice glacier formation, then even outranging ice glaciers in size and number. The influence of ice glaciers on high-mountain's sediment dynamics is manifold: ice-glacier-driven erosion produces large amounts of clastic material; ice glaciers act as a conveyor belt for sediments, delivering material from their source regions to their terminus; ice glaciers entering trunk valleys form efficient dams that interrupt sediment delivery. While these mechanisms have been addressed in numerous earlier studies, the role of rock glaciers for the sediment dynamics of arid mountain belts remains elusive. We address this shortcoming by analysing a rock glacier inventory that we compiled for the Himalaya-Karakoram ranges and the Tien Shan ranges in Central Asia. Our inventory comprises more than 1000 specimen, a large number of which form dams of large trunk rivers and minor tributaries, disconnecting the sediment fluxes from upstream. In certain regions that are nearly devoid of ice-glaciers, like the Gamugah surface of NW Pakistan, rock glaciers of >10^4-m length occupy valley bottoms entirely, constituting the only mode of transport for sediments produced in headwaters. In conclusion, we call for a better understanding of the role that rock glaciers take in the sediment dynamics of arid mountain belts.

  7. Assessment of particulate accumulation climatology under inversions in Glacier Bay for the 2008 tourist season using WRF/Chem data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pirhalla, Michael A.

    Each summer, roughly one million tourists come to Southeast Alaska aboard cruise ships to see the pristine landscape and wildlife. Tourism is an integral component in the economy for most of the towns and villages on the Alaska Panhandle. With ship emissions only modestly regulated, there have been some concerns regarding the potential environmental impacts that cruise ships have on air quality, wildlife, and visitor experience. Cruise ships travel to remote regions, and are frequently the only anthropogenic emissions source in federally protected parks, such as Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. In the absence of winds and synoptic scale storm systems common in the Gulf of Alaska, temperature inversions frequently develop inside Glacier Bay due to radiative cooling influenced by the complex topography inside the park. Inversions act as a lid, and may trap pollutants from cruise-ship emissions depending on the meteorological conditions present. Since meteorological observations are sparse and frequently skewed to easily accessible locations, data from the Weather Research and Forecasting Model, coupled with a chemistry package (WRF/Chem), were used to examine the physical and chemical processes that are impossible to determine through direct observations. Model simulation data for 124 days during the 2008 tourist season (May 15 to September 15), including a cruise-ship emission inventory for all 225 cruise ship entries in Glacier Bay, was analyzed. Evaluation of WRF/Chem through meteorological observations reveals that the model accurately captures the synoptic conditions for most of the summer, despite problems with complex topography. WRF/Chem simulated quasi-multi-day inversion events, with strengths as high as 6.7 K (100 m)-1. Inversions were present in all grid-cell locations in Glacier Bay, with inversions occurring on average of 42% of the days during the tourist season. WRF/Chem was able to model PM 10 (particulate matter with diameter less than 10

  8. Annual and seasonal mass balances of Chhota Shigri Glacier (benchmark glacier, Western Himalaya), India

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mandal, Arindan; Ramanathan, Alagappan; Farooq Azam, Mohd; Wagnon, Patrick; Vincent, Christian; Linda, Anurag; Sharma, Parmanand; Angchuk, Thupstan; Bahadur Singh, Virendra; Pottakkal, Jose George; Kumar, Naveen; Soheb, Mohd

    2015-04-01

    Several studies on Himalayan glaciers have been recently initiated as they are of particular interest in terms of future water supply, regional climate change and sea-level rise. In 2002, a long-term monitoring program was initiated on Chhota Shigri Glacier (15.7 square km, 9 km long, 6263-4050 m a.s.l.) located in Lahaul and Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India. This glacier lies in the monsoon-arid transition zone (western Himalaya) and is a representative glacier in Lahaul and Spiti Valley. While annual mass balances have been measured continuously since 2002 using the glaciological method, seasonal scale observations began in 2009. The annual and seasonal mass balances were then analyzed along with meteorological conditions in order to understand the role of winter and summer balances on annual glacier-wide mass balance of Chhota Shigri glacier. During the period 2002-2013, the glacier experienced a negative glacier-wide mass balance of -0.59±0.40 m w.e. a-1 with a cumulative glaciological mass balance of -6.45 m w.e. Annual glacier-wide mass balances were negative except for four years (2004/05, 2008/09, 2009/10 and 2010/11) where it was generally close to balanced conditions. Equilibrium line altitude (ELA) for steady state condition is calculated as 4950 m a.s.l. corresponding to an accumulation area ratio (AAR) of 62% using annual glacier-wide mass balance, ELA and AAR data between 2002 and 2013. The winter glacier-wide mass balance between 2009 and 2013 ranges from a maximum value of 1.38 m w.e. in 2009/10 to a minimum value of 0.89 in 2012/13 year whereas the summer glacier-wide mass balance varies from the highest value of -0.95 m w.e. in 2010/11 to the lowest value of -1.72 m w.e. in 2011/12 year. The mean vertical mass balance gradient between 2002 and 2013 was 0.66 m w.e. (100 m)-1 quite similar to Alps, Nepalese Himalayas etc. Over debris covered area, the gradients are highly variable with a negative mean value of -2.15 m w.e. (100 m)-1 over 2002

  9. Exploration of Uncertainty in Glacier Modelling

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thompson, David E.

    1999-01-01

    There are procedures and methods for verification of coding algebra and for validations of models and calculations that are in use in the aerospace computational fluid dynamics (CFD) community. These methods would be efficacious if used by the glacier dynamics modelling community. This paper is a presentation of some of those methods, and how they might be applied to uncertainty management supporting code verification and model validation for glacier dynamics. The similarities and differences between their use in CFD analysis and the proposed application of these methods to glacier modelling are discussed. After establishing sources of uncertainty and methods for code verification, the paper looks at a representative sampling of verification and validation efforts that are underway in the glacier modelling community, and establishes a context for these within overall solution quality assessment. Finally, an information architecture and interactive interface is introduced and advocated. This Integrated Cryospheric Exploration (ICE) Environment is proposed for exploring and managing sources of uncertainty in glacier modelling codes and methods, and for supporting scientific numerical exploration and verification. The details and functionality of this Environment are described based on modifications of a system already developed for CFD modelling and analysis.

  10. Geophysical imaging of alpine rock glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maurer, Hansruedi; Hauck, Christian

    Slope instabilities caused by the disappearance of ice within alpine rock glaciers are an issue of increasing concern. Design of suitable counter-measures requires detailed knowledge of the internal structures of rock glaciers, which can be obtained using geophysical methods. We examine benefits and limitations of diffusive electromagnetics, geoelectrics, seismics and ground-penetrating radar (georadar) for determining the depth and lateral variability of the active layer, the distributions of ice and water, the occurrence of shear horizons and the bedrock topography. In particular, we highlight new developments in data acquisition and data analysis that allow 2-D or even 3-D structures within rock glaciers to be imaged. After describing peculiarities associated with acquiring appropriate geophysical datasets across rock glaciers and emphasizing the importance of state-of-the-art tomographic inversion algorithms, we demonstrate the applicability of 2-D imaging techniques using two case studies of rock glaciers in the eastern Swiss Alps. We present joint interpretations of geoelectric, seismic and georadar data, appropriately constrained by information extracted from boreholes. A key conclusion of our study is that the different geophysical images are largely complementary, with each image resolving a different suite of subsurface features. Based on our results, we propose a general template for the cost-effective and reliable geophysical characterization of mountain permafrost.

  11. Distinct patterns of seasonal Greenland glacier velocity

    PubMed Central

    Moon, Twila; Joughin, Ian; Smith, Ben; van den Broeke, Michiel R; van de Berg, Willem Jan; Noël, Brice; Usher, Mika

    2014-01-01

    Predicting Greenland Ice Sheet mass loss due to ice dynamics requires a complete understanding of spatiotemporal velocity fluctuations and related control mechanisms. We present a 5 year record of seasonal velocity measurements for 55 marine-terminating glaciers distributed around the ice sheet margin, along with ice-front position and runoff data sets for each glacier. Among glaciers with substantial speed variations, we find three distinct seasonal velocity patterns. One pattern indicates relatively high glacier sensitivity to ice-front position. The other two patterns are more prevalent and appear to be meltwater controlled. These patterns reveal differences in which some subglacial systems likely transition seasonally from inefficient, distributed hydrologic networks to efficient, channelized drainage, while others do not. The difference may be determined by meltwater availability, which in some regions may be influenced by perennial firn aquifers. Our results highlight the need to understand subglacial meltwater availability on an ice sheet-wide scale to predict future dynamic changes. Key Points First multi-region seasonal velocity measurements show regional differences Seasonal velocity fluctuations on most glaciers appear meltwater controlled Seasonal development of efficient subglacial drainage geographically divided PMID:25821275

  12. Mathematical challenges in glacier modeling (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    jouvet, G.

    2013-12-01

    Many of Earth's glaciers are currently shrinking and it is expected that this trend will continue as global warming progresses. To virtually reproduce the evolution of glaciers and finally to predict their future, one needs to couple models of different disciplines and scales. Indeed, the slow motion of ice is described by fluid mechanics equations while the daily snow precipitations and melting are described by hydrological and climatic models. Less visible, applied mathematics are essential to run such a coupling at two different levels: by solving numerically the underlying equations and by seeking parameters using optimisation methods. This talk aims to make visible the role of mathematics in this area. I will first present a short educational film I have made for the "Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013", which is an introduction to the topic. To go further, solving the mechanical model of ice poses several mathematical challenges due to the complexity of the equations and geometries of glaciers. Then, I will describe some strategies to deal with such difficulties and design robust simulation tools. Finally, I will present some simulations of the largest glacier of the European Alps, the Aletsch glacier. As a less unexpected application, I will show how these results allowed us to make a major advance in a police investigation started in 1926.

  13. Flood frequency in Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Childers, J.M.

    1970-01-01

    Records of peak discharge at 183 sites were used to study flood frequency in Alaska. The vast size of Alaska, its great ranges of physiography, and the lack of data for much of the State precluded a comprehensive analysis of all flood determinants. Peak stream discharges, where gaging-station records were available, were analyzed for 2-year, 5-year, 10-year, 25-year, and 50-year average-recurrence intervals. A regional analysis of the flood characteristics by multiple-regression methods gave a set of equations that can be used to estimate floods of selected recurrence intervals up to 50 years for any site on any stream in Alaska. The equations relate floods to drainage-basin characteristics. The study indicates that in Alaska the 50-year flood can be estimated from 10-year gaging- station records with a standard error of 22 percent whereas the 50-year flood can be estimated from the regression equation with a standard error of 53 percent. Also, maximum known floods at more than 500 gaging stations and miscellaneous sites in Alaska were related to drainage-area size. An envelope curve of 500 cubic feet per second per square mile covered all but 2 floods in the State.

  14. Earthshots: Satellite images of environmental change – Petermann Glacier, Greenland

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Adamson, Thomas

    2016-01-01

    This calving is normal, but it’s worth watching Petermann and other Greenland glaciers closely. Petermann is one of the major marine-terminating glaciers of Greenland. Ice loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet has increased recently. An article in Nature concluded that climate change may cause Petermann and other Greenland glaciers to contribute to sea level rise. Landsat helps glaciologists keep a close eye on this remote but significant glacier.

  15. Volume Change Rates of Southeast Alaskan Icefields from Stacked Digital Elevation Models, 2000-2009/2010

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-12-01

    We derive volume change rates (dV/dt) for the three major temperate icefields of Southeast Alaska. The Juneau, Stikine, and Glacier Bay icefields cover approximately 14,300 km2 and have recently been contributing disproportionately to sea level rise. In this study we provide estimates of volume change rates between 2000 and 2009/2010 based on near-complete spatial coverage from stacked digital elevations models (DEMs) acquired by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) and the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER). Our method applies a weighted linear regression to elevations on a pixel-by-pixel basis over each icefield, and we filter out elevations based on deviation from the first elevation (which is SRTM about 90% of the time) to exclude ASTER elevations influenced by clouds, shadow, etc. The maximum positive deviation allowed is ~5 m a-1, which comes from estimates of precipitation in this region and probably overestimates the amount of thickening actually occurring. This large positive constraint means our volume change rates are likely more representative of lower bounds on volume loss. All three icefields are losing volume - the combined rate is approximately -7.7±0.9 km3 a-1, equivalent to a mass loss rate of 6.9±0.8 Gt a-1 assuming a density of 900 kg m3 for the lost material. The area-averaged elevation change rate (dh/dt) is -0.44±0.05 m a-1 w.e., with most loss occurring at the Glacier Bay and Stikine Icefields. Juneau Icefield (~3,900 km2) has a small dV/dt, at -0.3±0.1 km3 a-1. This is due to the positive dV/dt of the Taku Glacier, the largest outlet glacier of the Juneau Icefield. Our results are consistent with previous studies that document the recent advance of Taku and its status as the glacier with the highest positive volume change rate in Alaska. The dh/dt pattern we observe elsewhere over the Juneau Icefield is similar to previous studies, with practically every outlet glacier except Taku experiencing

  16. Modeled climate-induced glacier change in Glacier National Park, 1850-2100

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hall, M.H.P.; Fagre, D.B.

    2003-01-01

    The glaciers in the Blackfoot-Jackson Glacier Basin of Glacier National Park, Montana, decreased in area from 21.6 square kilometers (km2) in 1850 to 7.4 km2 in 1979. Over this same period global temperatures increased by 0.45??C (?? 0. 15??C). We analyzed the climatic causes and ecological consequences of glacier retreat by creating spatially explicit models of the creation and ablation of glaciers and of the response of vegetation to climate change. We determined the melt rate and spatial distribution of glaciers under two possible future climate scenarios, one based on carbon dioxide-induced global warming and the other on a linear temperature extrapolation. Under the former scenario, all glaciers in the basin will disappear by the year 2030, despite predicted increases in precipitation; under the latter, melting is slower. Using a second model, we analyzed vegetation responses to variations in soil moisture and increasing temperature in a complex alpine landscape and predicted where plant communities are likely to be located as conditions change.

  17. The differing biogeochemical and microbial signatures of glaciers and rock glaciers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fegel, Timothy S.; Baron, Jill S.; Fountain, Andrew G.; Johnson, Gunnar F.; Hall, Ed K.

    2016-03-01

    Glaciers and rock glaciers supply water and bioavailable nutrients to headwater mountain lakes and streams across all regions of the American West. Here we present a comparative study of the metal, nutrient, and microbial characteristics of glacial and rock glacial influence on headwater ecosystems in three mountain ranges of the contiguous U.S.: the Cascade Mountains, Rocky Mountains, and Sierra Nevada. Several meltwater characteristics (water temperature, conductivity, pH, metals, nutrients, complexity of dissolved organic matter (DOM), and bacterial richness and diversity) differed significantly between glacier and rock glacier meltwaters, while other characteristics (Ca2+, Fe3+, SiO2 concentrations, reactive nitrogen, and microbial processing of DOM) showed distinct trends between mountain ranges regardless of meltwater source. Some characteristics were affected both by glacier type and mountain range (e.g., temperature, ammonium (NH4+) and nitrate (NO3-) concentrations, and bacterial diversity). Due to the ubiquity of rock glaciers and the accelerating loss of the low-latitude glaciers, our results point to the important and changing influence that these frozen features place on headwater ecosystems.

  18. ISEA (International geodetic project in SouthEastern Alaska) for Rapid Uplifting Caused by Glacial Retreat: (2) Establishment of Continuous GPS Sites (CGPS)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaufman, A. M.; Freymueller, J. T.; Miura, S.; Cross, R. S.; Sato, T.; Sun, W.; Fujimoto, H.

    2006-12-01

    Rapid disintegration and thinning of Glacier Bay's tidewater glaciers and ice fields followed the end of the Little Ice Age. Geodetic studies by Larsen et al. have quantified average rates of post-glacial isostatic rebound (PGR) in the vicinity of Glacier Bay in Southeast Alaska. PGR continues today with maximum uplift rates of 30 mm/yr in Glacier Bay's upper West Arm and 32 mm/yr in the Yakutat Icefield. ISEA is a collaborative Japanese-American project which will combine CGPS measurements of uplift with absolute gravity and gravity tide observations in Southeast Alaska. ISEA will build on previous work in Glacier Bay with a multi-pronged geophysical approach similar to that used by Sato et al. in Svalbard, Norway. CGPS data sets from Gustavus and elsewhere in Alaska show seasonal variability in vertical velocity. We hypothesize this is due to winter snow loading and summer ice loss in adjacent mountain ranges. If uplift rates are found to accelerate over the five year span of this project, this would suggest increasing rates of present day ice loss in Glacier Bay. CGPS measurements of seasonal crustal deformation might be used as a powerful integrating tool for mass balance monitoring over an extensive, glacierized area. ISEA supplements existing CGPS stations [U.S. Coast Guard and Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO)] and improves the spatial array with new stations in and around Glacier Bay. During June and September of 2006, an ISEA field team established five new CGPS stations. Two new sites within Glacier Bay National Park, at Blue Mouse Cove and Queen Inlet, are near the zone of maximum uplift. The third CGPS was placed to the east, on Eldred Rock, in northern Lynn Canal. The fourth site, to the west near Dry Bay, completes a 200 km east-west "transect" through this uplift peak. The fifth site lies to the northeast along the Haines Highway in Yukon, Canada. A sixth site in the Tatshenshini River region, north of Glacier Bay, is proposed for 2007. Site

  19. Impact of debris cover on glacier ablation and atmosphere-glacier feedbacks in the Karakoram

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Collier, E.; Maussion, F.; Nicholson, L. I.; Mölg, T.; Immerzeel, W. W.; Bush, A. B. G.

    2015-08-01

    The Karakoram range of the Hindu-Kush Himalaya is characterized by both extensive glaciation and a widespread prevalence of surficial debris cover on the glaciers. Surface debris exerts a strong control on glacier surface-energy and mass fluxes and, by modifying surface boundary conditions, has the potential to alter atmosphere-glacier feedbacks. To date, the influence of debris on Karakoram glaciers has only been directly assessed by a small number of glaciological measurements over short periods. Here, we include supraglacial debris in a high-resolution, interactively coupled atmosphere-glacier modeling system. To investigate glaciological and meteorological changes that arise due to the presence of debris, we perform two simulations using the coupled model from 1 May to 1 October 2004: one that treats all glacier surfaces as debris-free and one that introduces a simplified specification for the debris thickness. The basin-averaged impact of debris is a reduction in ablation of ~ 14 %, although the difference exceeds 5 m w.e. on the lowest-altitude glacier tongues. The relatively modest reduction in basin-mean mass loss results in part from non-negligible sub-debris melt rates under thicker covers and from compensating increases in melt under thinner debris, and may help to explain the lack of distinct differences in recent elevation changes between clean and debris-covered ice. The presence of debris also strongly alters the surface boundary condition and thus heat exchanges with the atmosphere; near-surface meteorological fields at lower elevations and their vertical gradients; and the atmospheric boundary layer development. These findings are relevant for glacio-hydrological studies on debris-covered glaciers and contribute towards an improved understanding of glacier behavior in the Karakoram.

  20. Recruiting first generation college students into the Geosciences: Alaska's EDGE project

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Prakash, A.; Connor, C.

    2008-12-01

    Funded in 2005-2008, by the National Science Foundation's Geoscience Education Division, the Experiential Discoveries in Geoscience Education (EDGE) project was designed to use glacier and watershed field experiences as venues for geospatial data collected by Alaska's grade 6-12 middle and high school teachers and their students. EDGE participants were trained in GIS and learned to analyze geospatial data to answer questions about the warming Alaska environment and to determine rates of ongoing glacier recession. Important emphasis of the program was the recruitment of Alaska Native students of Inupiat, Yup'ik, Athabascan, and Tlingit populations, living in both rural and urban areas around the state. Twelve of Alaska's 55 school districts have participated in the EDGE program. To engage EDGE students in the practice of scientific inquiry, each was required to carry out a semester scale research project using georeferenced data, guided by their EDGE teacher and mentor. Across Alaska students investigated several Earth systems processes including freezing conditions of lake ice; the changes in water quality in storm drains after rainfall events; movements of moose, bears, and bison across Alaskan landscapes; changes in permafrost depth in western Alaska; and the response of migrating waterfowl to these permafrost changes. Students correlated the substrate beneath their schools with known earthquake intensities; measured cutbank and coastal erosion on northern rivers and southeastern shorelines; tracked salmon infiltration of flooded logging roads; noted the changing behavior of eagles during late winter salmon runs; located good areas for the use of tidal power for energy production; tracked the extent and range of invasive plant species with warming; and the change of forests following deglaciation. Each cohort of EDGE students and teachers finished the program by attended a 3-day EDGE symposium at which students presented their research projects first in a

  1. Accretion of southern Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hillhouse, J.W.

    1987-01-01

    Paleomagnetic data from southern Alaska indicate that the Wrangellia and Peninsular terranes collided with central Alaska probably by 65 Ma ago and certainly no later than 55 Ma ago. The accretion of these terranes to the mainland was followed by the arrival of the Ghost Rocks volcanic assemblage at the southern margin of Kodiak Island. Poleward movement of these terranes can be explained by rapid motion of the Kula oceanic plate, mainly from 85 to 43 Ma ago, according to recent reconstructions derived from the hot-spot reference frame. After accretion, much of southwestern Alaska underwent a counterclockwise rotation of about 50 ?? as indicated by paleomagnetic poles from volcanic rocks of Late Cretaceous and Early Tertiary age. Compression between North America and Asia during opening of the North Atlantic (68-44 Ma ago) may account for the rotation. ?? 1987.

  2. 36 CFR 7.3 - Glacier National Park.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-07-01

    ... 36 Parks, Forests, and Public Property 1 2013-07-01 2013-07-01 false Glacier National Park. 7.3... REGULATIONS, AREAS OF THE NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM § 7.3 Glacier National Park. (a) Fishing. (1) Fishing... food, drink, or lodging for sale may be operated on any privately owned lands within Glacier...

  3. Contrasting responses of Central Asian rock glaciers to global warming

    PubMed Central

    Sorg, Annina; Kääb, Andreas; Roesch, Andrea; Bigler, Christof; Stoffel, Markus

    2015-01-01

    While the responses of Tien Shan glaciers – and glaciers elsewhere – to climatic changes are becoming increasingly well understood, this is less the case for permafrost in general and for rock glaciers in particular. We use a novel approach to describe the climate sensitivity of rock glaciers and to reconstruct periods of high and low rock glacier activity in the Tien Shan since 1895. Using more than 1500 growth anomalies from 280 trees growing on rock glacier bodies, repeat aerial photography from Soviet archives and high-resolution satellite imagery, we present here the world's longest record of rock glacier movements. We also demonstrate that the rock glaciers exhibit synchronous periods of activity at decadal timescales. Despite the complex energy-balance processes on rock glaciers, periods of enhanced activity coincide with warm summers, and the annual mass balance of Tuyuksu glacier fluctuates asynchronously with rock glacier activity. At multi-decadal timescales, however, the investigated rock glaciers exhibit site-specific trends reflecting different stages of inactivation, seemingly in response to the strong increase in air temperature since the 1970s. PMID:25657095

  4. Contrasting responses of Central Asian rock glaciers to global warming.

    PubMed

    Sorg, Annina; Kääb, Andreas; Roesch, Andrea; Bigler, Christof; Stoffel, Markus

    2015-01-01

    While t