Discover world-changing science. Since the 1990s, the retreat of glaciers in Alaska has made a disproportionally large contribution to global sea-level rise. âDetailed and continuous records of this length are exceedingly rare in our field and thus these are indispensable to our understanding of the changes weâre observing across this region.â. The progression of glacier retreat has been documented using satellite imagery and aerial photos (Key, et al., 2002), repeat photography, and annual GPS mapping of margins and terminus since 2003 by the USGS — CCME glacier monitoring program. âCollectively, Alaskaâs glaciers are shrinking rapidly today. Reprinted from ClimateWire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. The inventory yielded a glacierized … The study monitors climate, glacial movement, glacial runoff, glacier mass-balance, and stream runoff. “They were able to see a pretty pronounced gradient of both physical and biological composition of what’s living in the bay. Shaded areas indicate 1σ variability. These two false-color images, both captured by the Thematic Mapper (TM) instrument on Landsat 5, show the glacier and the surrounding landscape in … Each of these glaciers are influenced by different climates allowing scientists to compare how glaciers respond in different regions. These measurements allow scientists to resolve changes in glacier size through time, and demonstrate sustained and continuous mass losses since about 1990. It also influences the rich diversity of species in the marine ecosystem that are important to tourism and fishing industries. Gulkana Glacier, Alaska—Mass Balance, Meteorology, and Water Measurements, 1997–2001 Scientific Investigations Report 2011–5046 U.S. Department of the Interior U.S. Geological Survey. E&E provides daily coverage of essential energy and environmental news at www.eenews.net. Meier, MF, Tangborn, W, Mayo, LR and Post, A (1971) Combined ice and water balances of Gulkana and Wolverine glaciers, Alaska, and South Cascade Glacier, Washington, 1965 and 1966 hydrologic years. vary, with some glaciers gaining mass in certain years (for example, Wolverine Glacier during the 1980s), but the measurements clearly indicate a loss of glacier mass over time. Gulkana Glacier (lat 63°15' N., long 145°28' W., fig 7) is a branched valley glacier on the south flank of the Alaska Range. • Trends for the three benchmark glaciers are consistent with the retreat of glaciers observed throughout the western United States, Alaska, and … Â 1967, Unknown USGS photographer.Â 2016, L. Sass,Â USGS.Public domain. These three glaciers were chosen because they have been studied extensively by the U.S. Geological Survey for … The Gulkana glacier in Alaska is one of three glaciers considered a benchmark by the U.S. Geological Survey. © 2020 Scientific American, a Division of Springer Nature America, Inc. Support our award-winning coverage of advances in science & technology. Click here for the original story. Tidewater Taku Glacier advanced and gained mass at an average rate of +0.25 ± 0.28 m w.e. Although their data show a marked retreat in the size of glaciers, changes to Alaska's many glaciers are visible to the naked eye, O'Neel said. 1), an average retreat rate of 36 m per year. The glacier has retreated 530 m since 19S4 and about 2 km since 1910 (Reger, 1964, pl. The Gulkana Glacier Trail is a great afternoon hike–about X MILES long—complete with two swinging drawbridges to cross before you reach the glacier. “Detailed and continuous records of this length are exceedingly rare in our field, and thus these are indispensable to our understanding of the changes we’re observing across this region.”. The program provides data on glacier health in a warming climate. Daniel McGrath, a research geophysicist with the program, said much of the government’s ongoing climate research draws from the USGS’s 50 years of Alaska glacier studies. This is a list of glaciers existing in the United States, currently or in recent centuries.These glaciers are located in nine states, all in the Rocky Mountains or farther west. estimating the mass balance of glaciers in the glacier bay area of alaska, usa and british columbia, canada by austin judson johnson recommended: _____ Dashed line is Gulkana Glacier, and dot dash is Wolverine Glacier. Repeat oblique photographs of Gulkana glaciers in Alaska. And they’re now modeling how glaciers will respond to future climate scenarios, particularly how coastal glaciers like Wolverine impact the ecosystem along the Gulf of Alaska. (b) Lake‐terminating glaciers. Long-term records from Wolverine and Gulkana glaciers show that summer warming has resulted in sustained mass loss. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 715-A, 23 . The melting of glaciers depends on a variety of factors, the most important of which is the amount of solar radiation hitting the ice. These data serve as indicators of glacier health and help scientists understand how glaciers respond to a warming climate. Glaciers deflect up to 80% of solar radiation (sunlight), while absorbing the rest. Predicted summer warming of 2 to 4 degrees C (3.6 to 7.2 degrees F) and a marked decrease in snow accumulation will contribute to the loss of many thousands of glaciers in Alaska and northwest Canada by the end of the century. 1). View on Map Coordinates Latitude: 63.184179 Longitude: -145.541555. In the simulations of the Jarvis Cr., the glacier was allowed to retreat as it melted, while Gulkana Glacier, Phelan Cr., was described a static glacier coverage. Horizontal box plots show the distribution of interval lengths, including the median (black), interquartile range (box size), and 5–95 percentiles of the intervals. Higher temperatures and less snowfall have been causing many glaciers around the world to retreat … These changes are evident in both field and in airborne and space-borne data. Ice motion also slowed, which combined with the negative mass balance, resulted in glacier retreat under a warming climate. The 1875 advance again blocked College Creek, and another small ice-dammed lake formed. The mean ELA is … Â 1966 image by unknown USGS photographer; 2015 image by L. Sass, USGS.Public domain. The Athabasca Glacier is not alone in its retreat: Since 1960, glaciers around the world have lost an estimated 8,000 cubic kilometers (1,900 cubic miles) of ice. This influence also extends to the marine ecosystem, contributing to the rich diversity of species that are important to tourism and fishing industries. This is where I spent my summers and winters. Since 1875, both glaciers have rapidly thinned and retreated, indicating they have negative … USGS estimates that Alaska’s glaciers and ice fields are responsible for nearly 50 percent of the water that flows into the Gulf of Alaska. The third largest spring snowpack in 36 years on Gulkana Glacier won’t necessarily reverse the current slow retreat of the glacier and usher in a new growth cycle, according to U.S. Geological Survey hydrologists who measured the glacier’s snowpack in late April. The glacier held that position until 1980, when it began a rapid retreat that continues today. View more property details, sales history and Zestimate data on Zillow. The uniform influence of regional climate is demonstrated by strong correlations among annual mass balance and climate data. In the town of Delta Junction, which sits adjacent to the Delta River far downstream from the Jarvis and Gulkana glaciers, the water table drops more than 33 feet each winter as the aquifers drain. The climate is continental, characterized by a large range in temperatures, and irregular, lighter precipitation as compared to more coastal areas. Figure 2 shows trends for three “benchmark” glaciers: South Cascade Glacier in Washington state, Wolverine Glacier near Alaska’s southern coast, and Gulkana Glacier in Alaska’s interior. The top photo shows the Gulkana Glacier in 1967. of the glaciers included in these airborne surveys is Mendenhall Glacier, a maritime glacier located near Juneau in southeast Alaska (Fig. Although their data show a marked retreat in the sizes of the glaciers, changes to Alaska's many glaciers are also visible to the naked eye, O'Neel said. This is where I spent my summers and winters. Information on the retreat of this glacier is quite detailed and comes from Little Ice Age (LIA) terminal and recessional moraines (Fig. Explore. The accumulation zone consists of four cirque glaciers which converge in a simple south-flowing ablation area. Repeat oblique photographs of Wolverine glacier in Alaska. Since the 1990s, the retreat of glaciers in Alaska has made a disproportionally large contribution to global sea level rise. During 1997-2001, Gulkana Glacier showed a continued and accelerated negative mass balance trend, especially below the equilibrium line altitude where thinning was pronounced. This water has a unique âglacial fingerprintâ that is evident in the timing, volume and temperature, as well as the nutrients carried by it. To accomplish this work, USGS scientists travel to Wolverine and Gulkana glaciers twice a year to make observations of snow accumulation and snow/ice melt that allow them to calculate the health of the glaciers. The meltwater has a unique “glacial fingerprint” that is evident in the timing, volume and temperature of the water, as well as the nutrients it carries. In 1966, a team of U.S. Geological Survey scientists journeyed to two small glaciers in Alaska to dig snow pits needed for measuring snow depth and density at the remote mountainous locations. ANCHORAGE, Alaska â This year marks the 50th anniversary of one of the longest continuous glacier research efforts in North America. Travel. The glaciers and ice fields of Alaska are responsible for nearly 50 percent of the water that flows into the Gulf of Alaska. By coordinating with landscape ecologists, biologists and oceanographers, the team is assessing how socio-economically important species like salmon are likely to fare in the warmer Alaska of the future. That glacier is a coastal system that flows into the Gulf of Alaska. Gulkana drains west into the Yukon River. 6 hours ago — Thomas Frank and E&E News, 12 hours ago — Lee Billings and Casey Dreier, 13 hours ago — Ronjini Joshua | Opinion, December 1, 2020 — Daniel Cusick and E&E News, December 1, 2020 — Ewen Callaway and Nature magazine. “It provides tangible evidence for how climate change is affecting the landscapes.”. Those changes could contribute to the loss of thousands of glaciers in Alaska and northwest Canada by the end of the century. When a glacier melts completely, it exposes the earth’s surface, and this has the opposite effect, meaning that 80% of heat is absorbed and 20% is deflected. Gulkana Glacier is one of three detailed long-term glacier monitoring sites run by the USGS in a study on climate change and glacier-related hydrologic processes. Gulkana Glacier is a glacier filling several valleys in the east-central Alaska Range in the state of Alaska. (a) Land‐terminating glaciers. The Benchmark Glacier data are available atÂ https://www2.usgs.gov/landresources/lcs/glacierstudies/massbaldata.asp, Additional information about the USGS Benchmark Glacier program can be found atÂ Â https://www2.usgs.gov/landresources/lcs/glacierstudies/default.asp, Office of Communications and Publishing12201 Sunrise Valley DriveReston, VA 20192United StatesPhone: 703-648-4460, Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), Mapping, Remote Sensing, and Geospatial Data, https://www2.usgs.gov/landresources/lcs/glacierstudies/massbaldata.asp, https://www2.usgs.gov/landresources/lcs/glacierstudies/default.asp. The southernmost named glacier among them is the Lilliput Glacier in Tulare County, east of the Central Valley of California. Subscribers get more award-winning coverage of advances in science & technology. At Phelan Cr., the decadal-averaged peak annual mean daily runoff increased on average 114 % from 14 (2000-2010) Mar 1, 2012 - Shasta Retreat in Dunsmuir. To study those impacts, the glaciologists are teaming up with ecologists, oceanographers, biologists and botanists to assess how socio-economically important species like salmon are likely to fare in the warmer Alaska of the future. “How the climate has been changing over the past few decades of anthropogenic influence really has manifest itself quite well” in these studies, O’Neel said. In addition to this work, the team is currently focused on measuring regional change with geophysical and remote sensing methods, and modeling how glaciers will respond to future climate scenarios. We thus compiled a glacier database for Alaska and neighboring Canada using multi-sensor satellite data from 2000 to 2011. Scientific American is part of Springer Nature, which owns or has commercial relations with thousands of scientific publications (many of them can be found at, Amid Ice Melt, New Shipping Lanes Are Drawn Up off Alaska, Arctic Nations May Confront U.S. on Climate Change, Some Disaster Prevention Spending Reaps Higher Rewards, Climate Preparation Report Released by Panel Previously Disbanded by Trump. Since the 1990s, the retreat of glaciers in Alaska has made a disproportionally large contribution to global sea level rise. According to the USGS, climate change could cause summer temperatures to warm by 3.6 to 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit, and snow accumulation to markedly decrease. The main trunk of the glacier has a southerly aspect, and is fed by four cirques with west, south, and east aspects. Holiday Sale: Save 25%, Although the mechanisms vary, together the glaciers are losing 75 billion tons of ice annually. In 1966, the U.S. Geological Survey began measuring changes in mass and volume at Wolverine and Gulkana glaciers in Alaska as part of its Benchmark Glacier program. The face is up to 400 feet tall, and icebergs 3 to 4 stories in height aren’t uncommon. ft. single-family home is a bed, bath property. Experts say those glaciers are influenced by different climates, allowing scientists to compare how glaciers respond in different regions. âThese records are a testament to the hard work of many individuals and an early vision by USGS on the importance of glaciers in the landscape,â said Daniel McGrath, a research geophysicist with the program. Although the development of regional estimates is relatively new, the detailed and long-term records at the benchmark glaciers reveal an increasing rate of change through the past 50 years. Since the 1990s, the retreat of glaciers in Alaska has made a disproportionally large contribution to global sea-level rise. After a period of thinning and retreat, Gulkana Glacier advanced in 1875; no equivalent advance is recorded for College Glacier. In addition to the work in Alaska, the USGS Benchmark Glacier program also includes South Cascade Glacier in Washington State and Sperry Glacier in Montana.
This is where I spent my summers and winters. At both locations, the long-term records show that summer warming has resulted in sustained mass loss, noted Shad O’Neel, head of the glacier research program at the USGS Alaska Science Center. Cover: Photograph looking at the mostly debris-covered Gulkana Glacier terminus from just Gulkana Glacier is located along the south flank of the eastern Alaska Range. Explore our digital archive back to 1845, including articles by more than 150 Nobel Prize winners. Thank you for signing up for the newsletter! So we’re getting some core baseline biological data to go with the physical drivers that go back 50 years.”. For now, the glacier isn’t surging, but you could say that it’s a pretty light sleeper— it does calve a lot. Glaciers in continental or interior climates (for example, Gulkana Glacier) exist primarily because cold temperatures result in low ablation. Wolverine Glacier and South Cascade Glacier are the other two monitoring sites. During that time, the Gulkana Glacier has steadily diminished due to significantly warmer summers in interior Alaska and a relatively unchanged level of snowfall. Mar 1, 2012 - Shasta Retreat in Dunsmuir. Alaskaâs glaciers are important contributors to sea level rise, and also influence coastal ecosystems through the water that they store and release,â said Dr. Shad OâNeel, head of the Glacier Research Program at the USGS Alaska Science Center. Glaciological studies rely on a wide range of input data, the most basic of which, accurate glacier extents, were not available on an Alaska wide scale prior to this work. The sq. This home was built in and last sold on for. Today, the federal benchmark glacier program extends beyond Alaska and includes research at the South Cascade Glacier in Washington state and the Sperry Glacier in Montana. Gulkana glacier Ln , Martinsburg, WV 25403 is currently not for sale. The USGS reports that the state’s glaciers are losing 75 billion tons of ice annually, equal to the amount of water needed to fill Yankee Stadium 150,000 times each year. Getting There. In total, these glaciers are losing 75 billion tons of ice annually, the equivalent of filling 150,000 Yankee Stadiums with water each year. Travel Ideas. In the years since the USGS launched its landmark Alaska glacier research, the scientists have also begun combining their field studies data with new information gathered with modern geophysical and remote sensing methods. A glacier retreats when its terminus does not extend as far downvalley as it previously did.
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