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Benchmark Glaciers

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) operates a long-term "benchmark" glacier program to monitor climate, glacier geometry, glacier mass balance, glacier motion, and stream runoff. The data collected are used to understand glacier-related hydrologic processes and improve the quantitative prediction of water resources, glacier-related hazards, and the consequences of climate change (Fountain and others, 1997). The approach has been to establish long-term mass balance monitoring programs at three widely spaced glacier basins in the United States that clearly sample different climate-glacier-runoff regimes. From north to south, the three basins are Gulkana and Wolverine Glaciers in Alaska and South Cascade Glacier in Washington State.
 


Location map - click on specific glacier to get more information.



  3-Glacier summary graphs and data:
       Mass balance
       Air temperature
       Stream runoff
 
       See the benchmark glaciers in Google Earth
       with .kml file here.
       (Download Goolge Earth here.)

Gulkana Glacier
Photo of Gulkana Glacier (click for enlargement 166 KB).

Wolverine Glacier
Photo of Wolverine Glacier  (click on image for Wolverine main page).
South Cascade Glacier
Photo of South Cascade Glacier  (click on image for South Cascade  main page).
Newest Reports

March, R.S., and O’Neel, Shad, 2011, Gulkana Glacier, Alaska—Mass balance, meteorology, and water measurements, 1997–2001: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2011-5046, 72 p. [Abstract and full report]

Van Beusekom, Ashely E.; O'Neel, Shad R.; March, Rod S.; Sass, Louis C.; Cox, Leif H., 2010, Re-analysis of Alaskan benchmark glacier mass-balance data using the index method, U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2010-5247, 14 p., Appendix. [Full report]

Bidlake, W.R., Josberger, E.G., and Savoca, M.E., 2010, Modeled and measured glacier change and related glaciological, hydrological, and meteorological conditions at South Cascade Glacier, Washington, balance and water years 2006 and 2007: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2010–5143, 82 p.  [Abstract and full report]

Josberger, E.G., Bidlake, W.R., March, R.S., and O'Neel, S., 2009, Fifty-Year Record of Glacier Change Reveals Shifting Climate in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, USA: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2009-3046, 4 p. [Full report]

Harrison, W.D, Cox, L. H., Hock, R., March, R.S., and Pettit, E.C., 2009, Implications for the dynamic health of a glacier from comparison of conventional and reference-surface balances: Annals of Glaciology, Vol. 50, p. 25-30. [Full report in pdf]


Maintainer: Rod March
Last update: Thursday, May 19, 2011 12:21 PM
URL: http://ak.water.usgs.gov/glaciology/all_bmg/bmg.htm