Research

HyMet has taken the proven techniques developed for streamflow forecasting and applied them to a glacier mass-balance model that also uses only low-altitude meteorological observations.

 Mass-balance modeling is feasible because the area-altitude distribution of the glacier, which plays a significant role in the mass balance, has by erosional processes, integrated the climate that has formed and nourished the glacier.

Fifty Years of Research at South Cascade Glacier

Published in The Wild Cascades
Wendell Tangborn

" The statement “glaciers are sensitive to the climate” was made countless times in published articles and the presentations we made throughout the 1960s-1970s, but little did we know just how sensitive they were. The now impending demise of many of them suggests glaciers are much more sensitive to the earth’s climate than are humans. We should have heeded their warning signals long ago. "

Bibliography of USGS
and other South Cascade Glacier Reports and Articles

Website of USGS, Glacier and Snow Program of Alaska and Washington Science Centers: Reports on South Cascade Glacier, Washington.

Mass Balance, Runoff and Internal Water Storage of the Bering Glacier, Alaska (1950-96), A Preliminary Report

Abstract

The long-term mass balance, daily runoff and internal water storage of the Bering Glacier, Alaska is determined with the PTAA model using meteorological observations at Cordova and Yakutat, plus the area-altitude distribution of the glacier. Precipitation and temperature observations collected daily at these low altitude stations are converted to snow accumulation and rain, and snow and ice ablation at each of the 93 area-altitude intervals that make up the total glacier...

There is strong evidence that Bering Glacier surges are triggered by several consecutive years of above-normal winter balances. There is also some indication that high discharges of water from the glacier and an increase in internal water storage may also be instrumental. Independent balance measurements made at points on the Bering Glacier and over the nearby Seward-Malaspina Glacier show fair to excellent agreement with the simulated balance.

Download the complete article:
Mass Balance, Runoff and Internal Water Storage of the Bering Glacier, Alaska (1950-96), A Preliminary Report


 

Using Low-Altitude Meteorological Observations to Calculate the Mass Balance of Alaska’s Columbia Glacier and Relate it to Calving and Speed

Abstract

The 1949-96 mass balance of Columbia Glacier as a function of altitude and time is determined using low-altitude precipitation and temperature observations and the area-altitude distribution of the glacier (designated the PTAA model). In this report mass balance is defined as glacier surface changes only; losses from calving are considered separately...

 A two-decade (or more) period of generally negative balances apparently triggered Columbia Glacier into drastic retreat, which now appears to be primarily controlled by seasonal runoff variations and water depth at the terminus. Glacier runoff, also simulated by the model, is applied to glacier speed and calving rate observations made during the retreat phase, from 1982-96, to demonstrate ice speed/intraglacial water storage and runoff/calving relationships.

Download the complete article:
Using Low-Altitude Meteorological Observations to Calculate the Mass Balance of Alaska’s Columbia Glacier and Relate it to Calving and Speed