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Wolverine Glacier, Alaska - Meteorological Station Information

Introduction

This web site presents air temperature and precipitation-catch measurements recorded at Wolverine Glacier basin from 1967 through 1995 hydrologic years (October 1 through September 30), as part of a long-term glacier-monitoring program. The data set is 95 percent complete. This data set is important because it provides the only high-altitude, long-term, year-round climate data for the mountains of south-central Alaska.

Wolverine Glacier is located on the Kenai Peninsula in south-central Alaska. The glacier is one of three long-term glacier-monitoring sites operated by the U.S. Geological Survey. The other glacier-monitoring sites are Gulkana Glacier in the Alaska Range and South Cascade Glacier in Washington. Climate, glacier-motion, mass-balance, and stream runoff-data are recorded at these three sites to develop a better understanding of glacier-related hydrologic processes.


Instrument Site and Climate Description

The Wolverine climate station (lat 6023'N., long 14855'W.) is located at an altitude of 990 meters (m) on the crest of a tundra vegetated glacial moraine along the western boundary of the basin. The station is slightly lower than the glacier's average equilibrium line altitude and approximately 500 m from the west edge of the glacier. The average annual air temperature at the recorder site is about -1.0 degree Celsius(C), and the average annual precipitation-gage catch is about 1,100 millimeters (mm) (recorded annual precipitation catch represents approximately 33 percent of actual annual basin precipitation due to the low catch efficiency for snowfall). Snowfall is the dominant form of precipitation and usually accumulates on the glacier from September through mid-June. Daily average temperatures range from a low of -25C to a high of 15C. Daily precipitation catch ranges from a low of zero to a high of approximately 110 mm.


Data Collection and Equipment

Weather station equipment consists of an air temperature sensor in a vented shelter, a precipitation gage with a windshield and steel storage tank, and an analog strip-chart recorder mounted inside a shelter on the storage tank. The meteorological equipment has remained essentially the same since the station began operation in 1967. Installation and testing of digital climate-recording equipment designed for satellite data telemetry began in August of 1997 and is in progress.


Data Accuracy

The daily average temperatures have an accuracy of about 1.0C (Mayo, March, and Trabant, 1992; Kennedy, 1995). The daily precipitation catch has an estimated accuracy of about 0.005 m (Kennedy, 1995). Analysis of published 1967 through 1977 stream flow and glacier mass balance data by Mayo and others (1992) indicates that recorded annual precipitation catch represents approximately 33 percent of actual annual basin precipitation. Despite the uncertain catch efficiency, the recorded precipitation-gage catch is a useful indicator of when and relatively how much precipitation occurs in the basin.


Data

Near real-time 15-minute values via GOES satellite telemetry (for last 14 days, adjustable up to 31 days)

Recent daily values data (for last 2 months, adjustable up to 24 months)

3-glacier summary of annual, winter, and summer temperatures for period of record.

Two summary data files are included. Monthly and annual air temperature data and monthly and annual precipitation-catch data. Air temperature values are reported in degrees Celsius. Precipitation-catch values are reported in millimeters. These data are formatted in rows by hydrologic year. Data are available on-line in HTML and Excel version 4.0 formats.

Monthly air temperature (HTML) 27KB
Monthly air temperature (Excel) 9KB

Monthly summary of precipitation (HTML) 29KB
Monthly summary of precipitation (Excel) 12KB

These climate data through 1994 are also available as a published report by Kennedy (1995).

Data for 1995 are published in report by Mayo and others (2004).

Maps and Photos

Basin Map
   click on thumbnail for
   full image (105 KB)
Map of Wolverine Glacier (Click for enlargement, 105 Kbytes)
Photograph of station
   click on thumbnail for
   full image (35 KB)
Photograph of Met Station (click for enlargement 35 Kb)

 


References Cited

Kennedy, B.W., 1995, Air temperature and precipitation data, Wolverine Glacier Basin, Alaska, 1967-94: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 95-444, 79 p. and diskette.

Mayo, L.R., March, R.S., and Trabant, D.C., 1992, Air temperature and precipitation data, 1967-88, Wolverine Glacier basin, Alaska: U.S. Open-File Report 91-246, 80 p.

 

 

Maintainer: Rod March
Last update: Monday, December 27, 2010 05:07 PM
URL: http://ak.water.usgs.gov/glaciology/wolverine/met/stationinfo.htm