Project

Assessing the Sensitivity of Alaska’s Coastal Rainforest Ecosystem to Changes in Glacier Runoff

Project Summary

Affiliation(s): Alaska CSC

Principal Investigator(s):
  • Shad R O'Neel (Alaska Science Center)
  • Anthony Arendt (Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks)
  • Eran Hood (University of Alaska Southeast)
  • Sanjay Pyare (University of Alaska Southeast)

Coastal temperate rainforests along the Gulf of Alaska are experiencing high rates of glacier loss. Understanding the climate-induced vulnerability of land-to-ocean movement of freshwater due to glacier melting is critical since the variability in glacier runoff is much larger than that for other components of the water cycle.  This project will develop methods to quantify runoff from watersheds along the Gulf of Alaska, allowing an assessment of impacts on coastal ecosystems. This study will also assess available data, develop an interdisciplinary conceptual model, and disseminate findings to both scientific peers and the public, paving the way forward to a better understanding of one of the least understood regional water cycles on Earth. New information from this study will provide a framework for assessing the future evolution of glacier discharge into the Gulf of Alaska, reducing uncertainty in determining the response of coastal ecosystems to a changing climate. Project Overview: http://www.doi.gov/csc/alaska/upload/AK-CSC-Rainforest-Sensitivity-to-Glacier-Change.pdf

Mendenhall Glacier in Tongass National Forest - Credit: William Welch, USDA

Affiliation(s): Alaska CSC

Principal Investigator(s):
  • Shad R O'Neel (Alaska Science Center)
  • Anthony Arendt (Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks)
  • Eran Hood (University of Alaska Southeast)
  • Sanjay Pyare (University of Alaska Southeast)

Start Date: June 2011

End Date: 2012

Project Status: In Progress

Tags: Climate Change, Rainforest, 2012, Yukon, Yukon Territory, Y.T., Watershed, Drainage, Hydrography, Drainage System, CSC, Alaska CSC, 2012, 2011

Fiscal Year: FY 2011 Projects

Publications & Other

  • Analysis of a GRACE global mascon solution for Gulf of Alaska glaciers

      • Assessing streamflow sensitivity to variations in glacier mass balance

          • Calving seismicity from iceberg–sea surface interactions

              • Does calving matter? Evidence for significant submarine melt

                  • Listening to Glaciers: Passive hydroacoustics near marine-terminating glaciers

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

                            • Spatial and temporal variability of freshwater discharge into the Gulf of Alaska

                                • Spatial Variation in the Origin of Dissolved Organic Carbon in Snow on the Juneau Icefield, Southeast Alaska

                                    • Stream Physical Characteristics Impact Habitat Quality for Pacific Salmon in Two Temperate Coastal Watersheds

                                        • Stream temperature response to variable glacier coverage in coastal watersheds of Southeast Alaska

                                            • Subglacial discharge at tidewater glaciers revealed by seismic tremor

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

                                                        • Surface melt dominates Alaska glacier mass balance

                                                              • Termini of calving glaciers as self-organized critical systems

                                                                  • The Randolph Glacier Inventory: a globally complete inventory of glaciers

                                                                      • Tidal and seasonal variations in calving flux observed with passive seismology

                                                                            • Using surface velocities to calculate ice thickness and bed topography: A case study at Columbia Glacier, Alaska, USA

                                                                                  • Variable penetration depth of interferometric synthetic aperture radar signals on Alaska glaciers: a cold surface layer hypothesis

                                                                                      • Watershed Glacier Coverage Influences Dissolved Organic Matter Biogeochemistry in Coastal Watersheds of Southeast Alaska

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