Display Project

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

Project Information

Affiliation: 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


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

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

    Abstract (External URL)
  • Assessing streamflow sensitivity to variations in glacier mass balance

    O'Neel et al., 2014 (External URL)
  • Calving seismicity from iceberg–sea surface interactions

    Bartholomaus et al., 2012 (External URL)
  • Does calving matter? Evidence for significant submarine melt

    Bartholomaus et al. 2013 (External URL)
  • Listening to Glaciers: Passive hydroacoustics near marine-terminating glaciers

    THUMBNAIL (External URL)
    index page (External URL)
    metadata7045910158608547897.xml (Download)
  • Seasonal variability of organic matter composition in an Alaskan glacier outflow: insights into glacier carbon sources

    Spencer et al. 2014 (External URL)
  • Spatial and temporal variability of freshwater discharge into the Gulf of Alaska

    Hill et al. 2015 (External URL)
  • Stream Physical Characteristics Impact Habitat Quality for Pacific Salmon in Two Temperate Coastal Watersheds

    Fellman et al. 2015 (External URL)
  • Stream temperature response to variable glacier coverage in coastal watersheds of Southeast Alaska

    Abstract and Full Text (External URL)
  • Surface Mass Balance of the Columbia Glacier, Alaska, 1978 and 2010 Balance Years

    THUMBNAIL (External URL)
    index page (External URL)
    metadata1458039461442911342.xml (Download)
  • Termini of calving glaciers as self-organized critical systems

    Astrom et al. 2014 (External URL)
  • The Randolph Glacier Inventory: a globally complete inventory of glaciers

    Pfeffer et al., 2014 (External URL)
  • Using surface velocities to calculate ice thickness and bed topography: A case study at Columbia Glacier, Alaska, USA

    THUMBNAIL (External URL)
    index page (External URL)
    metadata944448044292698878.xml (Download)
  • Variable penetration depth of interferometric synthetic aperture radar signals on Alaska glaciers: a cold surface layer hypothesis

    Abstract and Full Text (External URL)
  • Watershed Glacier Coverage Influences Dissolved Organic Matter Biogeochemistry in Coastal Watersheds of Southeast Alaska

    Fellman et al. 2014 (External URL)
Map Files

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