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You are browsing the archive for Glacier Observations Archives - From a Glacier's Perspective.

May 5, 2022

Alpine Glacier Incompatibality with Heat Waves

Heat waves and glaciers don’t usually go together; however, in the last several years an increasing number of heat waves have affected alpine glacier regions around the world.  This is true from Arctic Canada to the Himalayas from the Andes to Alaska. Here we review a number of these heat waves from 2018-2022, that I have been involved with assessing and observing. In particular heat waves leave a greater portion …

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April 18, 2022

A 50-year Project on Columbia Glacier Annual Monitoring 1984-2022, 39 Years In

1984-Landsat 5 is launched. The North Cascade Glacier Climate Project was initiated on Earth Day in 1984 with a goal of observing the impact of climate change on glaciers across this mountain range for 50 years. This was in response to a call to action by the National Academy of Sciences to have a project that monitored glaciers across an entire mountain range in the United States, and from climate …

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February 11, 2022

Firn Area Ratio an Emerging Metric for Glacier Mass Balance?

Columbia Glacier in 2015 viewed from the ridge above the glacier. The firn line is marked by blue dots. The age of the snow surface of 2015 and the firn surfaces of 2011-2014 are noted. For an alpine glacier to be in equilibrium at the end of summer the glacier needs to be 50-70% covered in snow from the previous winter. This is the accumulation area ratio (AAR). AAR is …

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September 28, 2021

Kokanee Glacier 2021: slash and burn

By Ben Pelto, PhD, UBC Mitacs Elevate Postdoctoral Research Fellow Since 2013 I have been working on the Kokanee Glacier. Located just outside of Nelson in southeastern British Columbia (BC), the Kokanee Glacier is due north of the Washington-Idaho border. This work began as part of a five-year study of the cryosphere in the Canadian portion of the Columbia River. This project was carried out by the Canadian Columbia River …

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August 31, 2020

North Cascade Glacier Climate Project Observations 2020, 37th Field Season

The North Cascade Glacier Climate Project 2020 field season was our 37th consecutive year of glacier observations.  The field team consisted of Cal Waichler, Mariama Dryak, Jill Pelto and Mauri Pelto.  Each team member has studied glaciers on more than one continent and is passionate about science communication, using either art, videography or writing. Mauri Pelto, Jill Pelto, Cal Waichler and Mariama Dryak from left to right on Easton Glacier …

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July 2, 2020

Global Glacier Change Bulletin 3 (WGMS) Reports Increasing Mass Balance Losses

Figure 1. Regionalized mean annual mass balance of WGMS reference glaciers 1980-2018, with 2019 being a mean of reference glaciers. Glaciers have been studied as sensitive indicators of climate for more than a century and are now experiencing a historically unprecedented decline (Zemp et al, 2015).  Glacier fluctuations in terminus position, mass balance and area are recognized as one of the most reliable indicators of climate change. This led to …

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September 12, 2019

Glacier Crevasses As A learning Tool

Guest Post by Clara Deck Instagram: @scienceisntsoscary   Crevasses on mountain glaciers are large cracks in the ice which often propagate from the surface downward. The initial break will happen when stress exceeds the inherent ice material strength. This article will focus on surface crevasses, though this basic physical understanding also applies to basal crevasses or large-scale rifts in ice sheet and shelf settings.   In mountain glacier systems, crevassing …

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December 13, 2018

AGU Poster Hall-Cryosphere Perspectives

The American Geophysical Union Fall meeting’s Cryosphere section continues to grow as seen in the Poster hall.  The poster hall is where most of the research is presented and is dominated by student work.  Here are some examples of this work. Erin McConnell, UMaine and others examined shallow ice cores from glaciers in the St. Elias Mountains of Canada’s Yukon as part of a project to reconstruct past climate variability …

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November 19, 2018

35th Annual Field Observations of North Cascade Glaciers

The 2018 field season observations, conditions and summary. Field team Mariama Dryak, Erin McConnell, Jill Pelto and Mauri Pelto. For the 35th consecutive year I headed to the North Cascade Range, Washington to monitor the response of glaciers to climate change.  Two of the glaciers the North Cascade Glacier Climate Project (NCGCP) monitors are now part of the 42 glaciers comprising the World Glacier Monitoring Service  (WGMS) reference glacier network, …

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March 6, 2018

Rio Engaño, Chile Headwater Glacier Retreat GLOF Threat Drops

Comparison of glaciers at the headwaters of Rio Engaño in 1984 and 2018 Landsat images. The 1984 terminus location with red arrows, yellow arrows the 2018 terminus location, purple arrows wind drift patterns. Rio Engaño drains into Lago General Carrera and its headwaters is a group of alpine glaciers.  In March of 1977 one of the glaciers, generated a glacier lake outburst flood (GLOF) that reached a depth of 1.5 m  at the …

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