Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Geometry, mass balance and thinning at Eklutna Glacier, Alaska: an altitude-mass-balance feedback with implications for water resources

  • LOUIS C. SASS (a1) (a2), MICHAEL G. LOSO (a2) (a3), JASON GECK (a2), EVAN E. THOMS (a1) and DANIEL MCGRATH (a1) (a4)...
Abstract
ABSTRACT

We analyzed glacier surface elevations (1957, 2010 and 2015) and surface mass-balance measurements (2008–2015) on the 30 km2 Eklutna Glacier, in the Chugach Mountains of southcentral Alaska. The geodetic mass balances from 1957 to 2010 and 2010 to 2015 are −0.52 ± 0.46 and −0.74 ± 0.10 m w.e. a−1, respectively. The glaciological mass balance of −0.73 m w.e. a−1 from 2010 to 2015 is indistinguishable from the geodetic value. Even after accounting for loss of firn in the accumulation zone, we found most of the mass loss over both time periods was from a broad, low-slope basin that includes much of the accumulation zone of the main branch. Ice-equivalent surface elevation changes in the basin were −1.0 ± 0.8 m a−1 from 1957 to 2010, and −0.6 ± 0.1 m a−1 from 2010 to 2015, shifting the glacier hypsometry downward and resulting in more negative mass balances: an altitude-mass-balance feedback. Net mass loss from Eklutna Glacier accounts for 7 ± 1% of the average inflow to Eklutna Reservoir, which is entirely used for water and power by Anchorage, Alaska's largest city. If the altitude-mass-balance feedback continues, this ‘deglaciation discharge dividend’ is likely to increase over the short-term before it eventually decreases due to diminishing glacier area.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Geometry, mass balance and thinning at Eklutna Glacier, Alaska: an altitude-mass-balance feedback with implications for water resources
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Geometry, mass balance and thinning at Eklutna Glacier, Alaska: an altitude-mass-balance feedback with implications for water resources
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Geometry, mass balance and thinning at Eklutna Glacier, Alaska: an altitude-mass-balance feedback with implications for water resources
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.
Corresponding author
Correspondence: Louis C. Sass <louis.sass@gmail.com>
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

AA Arendt , KA Echelmeyer , WD Harrison , CS Lingle and VB Valentine (2002) Rapid wastage of Alaska glaciers and their contribution to rising sea level. Science, 297(5580), 382386

T Barnett and 12 others (2005) Detecting and attributing external influences on the climate system: a review of recent advances. J. Clim., 18, 12911314

PA Bieniek and 10 others (2012) Climate divisions for Alaska based on objective methods. J. Appl. Meteorol. Climatol., 51(7), 12761289

DN Collins (2008) Climatic warming, glacier recession and runoff from Alpine basins after the Little Ice Age maximum. Ann. Glaciol., 48, 119124

LH Cox and RS March (2004) Comparison of geodetic and glaciological mass-balance techniques, Gulkana Glacier, Alaska, USA. J. Glaciol., 50(170), 363370

I Das , R Hock , E Berthier and CS Lingle (2014) 21st-century increase in glacier mass loss in the Wrangell Mountains, Alaska, USA, from airborne laser altimetry and satellite stereo imagery. J. Glaciol., 60(220), 283293 (doi: 10.3189/2014JoG13J119)

MB Dyurgerov , MF Meier and DB Bahr (2009) A new index of glacier area change: a tool for glacier monitoring. J. Glaciol., 55(192), 710716. http://www.igsoc.org/journal/55/192/

A Fischer (2011) Comparison of direct and geodetic mass balances on a multi-annual time scale. Cryosphere, 5(1), 107124 (doi: 10.5194/tc–5–107–2011)

AG Fountain and WV Tangborn (1985) The effect of glaciers on streamflow variations. Water Resour. Res., 21(4), 579586

AG Fountain and A Vecchia (1999) How many stakes are required to measure the mass balance of a glacier? Geografis. Ann.: Ser. A. Phys. Geogr., 81(4), 563573

FN Fritsch and RE Carlson (1980) Monotone piecewise cubic interpolation. SIAM J. Numer. Anal., 17(2), 238246

WD Harrison , LH Cox , R Hock , RS March and EC Pettit (2009) Implications for the dynamic health of a glacier from comparison of conventional and reference-surface balances. Ann. Glaciol., 50(50), 2530

M Huss (2011) Present and future contribution of glacier storage change to runoff from macroscale drainage basins in Europe. Water Resour. Res., 47(7) (doi. org/10.1029/2010wr010299)

M Huss (2013) Density assumptions for converting geodetic glacier volume change to mass change. Cryosphere, 7(3), 877887 (doi: 10.5194/tc–7–877–2013)

M Huss , A Bauder and M Funk (2009) Homogenization of long-term mass-balance time series. Ann. Glaciol., 50(50), 198206

M Huss , R Hock , A Bauder and M Funk (2012) Conventional versus reference-surface mass balance. J. Glaciol., 58(208), 278286

P Jansson (1999) Effect of uncertainties in measured variables on the calculated mass balance of Storglaciären. Geografis. Ann.: Ser. A, Phys. Geogr., 81(4), 633642

CF Larsen and 5 others (2015) Surface melt dominates Alaska glacier mass balance. Geophys. Res. Lett., 42(14), 52095908 DOI: 10.1002/2015GL064349

MF Meier (1984) Contribution of small glaciers to global sea level. Science, 226(4681), 14181421

C Nuth and A Kääb (2011) Co-registration and bias corrections of satellite elevation data sets for quantifying glacier thickness change. Cryosphere, 5(1), 271290

C Nuth , TV Schuler , J Kohler , B Altena and JO Hagen (2012) Estimating the long-term calving flux of Kronebreen, Svalbard, from geodetic elevation changes and mass-balance modelling. J. Glaciol., 58(207), 119133

S O'Neel , E Hood , A Arendt and L Sass (2014) Assessing streamflow sensitivity to variations in glacier mass balance. Clim. Change, 123(2), 329341

F Paul (2010) The influence of changes in glacier extent and surface elevation on modeled mass balance. Cryosphere, 4, 569581

C Rolstad , T Haug and B Denby (2009) Spatially integrated geodetic glacier mass balance and its uncertainty based on geostatistical analysis: application to the western Svartisen ice cap, Norway. J. Glaciol., 55(192), 666680

DE Shean and 6 others (2016) An automated, open-source pipeline for mass production of digital elevation models (DEMs) from very high-resolution commercial stereo satellite imagery. ISPRS J. Photogramm. Remote Sens., 116, 101117

BL Trüssel and 5 others (2015) Runaway thinning of the low-elevation Yakutat Glacier, Alaska, and its sensitivity to climate change. J. Glaciol., 61(225), 6575 (doi: 10.3189/2015JoG14J125)

R Webster and M Oliver (2007) Geostatistics for environmental scientists, 2nd edn. Wiley, West Sussex

M Zemp and 6 others (2010) Reanalysis of multi-temporal aerial images of Storglaciären, Sweden (1959–99) – Part 2: comparison of glaciological and volumetric mass balances. Cryosphere, 4(3), 345357 (doi: 10.5194/tc–4–345–2010)

M Zemp and 16 others (2013) Reanalysing glacier mass balance measurement series. Cryosphere, 7(4), 12271245 (doi: 10.5194/tc–7–1227–2013)

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Glaciology
  • ISSN: 0022-1430
  • EISSN: 1727-5652
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-glaciology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Type Description Title
PDF
Supplementary Materials

Sass supplementary material
Sass supplementary material 1

 PDF (1.7 MB)
1.7 MB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 51
Total number of PDF views: 311 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 612 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 25th January 2017 - 24th September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.