Tag Archives: Alaska

Alaskan glaciers have not retreated, but many have advanced

R. W. McNabb R. Hock. Alaska tidewater glacier terminus positions, 1948–2012. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, Volume 119, Issue 2

A significant portion of the world’s glacier ice drains through tidewater outlets, though much remains unknown about the response to recent climate change of tidewater glaciers. We present a 64 year record of length change for 50 Alaska tidewater glaciers. We use U.S. Geological Survey topographic maps to provide a base length for glaciers before 1970. Using all available cloud‐free Landsat images, we manually digitize calving front outlines for each glacier between 1972 and 2012, resulting in a total of more than 10,000 outlines. Tidewater glacier lengths vary seasonally; focusing on the 36 glaciers terminating in tidewater throughout the study period, we find a mean (± standard deviation) seasonal variation of 60± 85 m a−1. We use these oscillations to determine the significance of interannual changes in glacier length. All 36 glaciers underwent at least one period (≥1 year) of significant advance or retreat; 28 glaciers underwent at least one period of both significant advance and retreat. Over the entire period 1948–2012, 24 of these glaciers retreated a total (± uncertainty) of 107.95±0.29 km, 11 advanced a total of 7.71±0.20, and one (Chenega Glacier) did not change significantly. Retreats and advances are highly variable in time; several glaciers underwent rapid, short‐term retreats of a few years duration. These retreats occurred after large changes in summer sea surface temperature anomalies; further study is needed to determine what triggered these retreats. No coherent regional behavior signal is apparent in the length record, although two subregions show a coherence similar to recent observations in Greenland.

News reports about Arctic Ice are not based on reality…

LA Times Revises History to Push Agenda

This article (click here) is a slick reinterpretation of history.

“The April 6 L.A. Times story, by Columbia Journalism School researchers, used 2,340 words to reject years of court cases and research. Instead, the agenda-driven story blamed the 1989 Exxon Valdez shipwreck and resulting oil spill on climate change.” click here



Alaska Warms, Methane Emissions are Stable

Sweeney, C., et al. (2016), No significant increase in long-term CH4 emissions on North Slope of Alaska despite significant increase in air temperature, Geophys. Res. Lett., 43, doi:10.1002/2016GL069292.

Continuous measurements of atmospheric methane (CH4) mole fractions measured by NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network in Barrow, AK (BRW), show strong enhancements above background values when winds come from the land sector from July to December from 1986 to 2015, indicating that emissions from arctic tundra continue through autumn and into early winter. Twenty-nine years of measurements show little change in seasonal mean land sector CH4 enhancements, despite an increase in annual mean temperatures of 1.2 ± 0.8°C/decade (2σ). The record does reveal small increases in CH4 enhancements in November and December after 2010 due to increased late-season emissions. The lack of significant long-term trends suggests that more complex biogeochemical processes are counteracting the observed short-term (monthly) temperature sensitivity of 5.0 ± 3.6 ppb CH4/°C. Our results suggest that even the observed short-term temperature sensitivity from the Arctic will have little impact on the global atmospheric CH4 budget in the long term if future trajectories evolve with the same temperature sensitivity.


“Climate Change” Causing Sea Level to Drop

Alasksa Rises

Consumption of Untreated Drinking Water in Alaska Native Communities

Ritter TL, Lopez ED, Goldberger R, Dobson J, Hickel K, Smith J, Johnson RM, Bersamin A. Consuming untreated water in four southwestern Alaska Native communities: reasons revealed and recommendations for change. Journal of Environmental Health. 2014 Dec;77(5):8-13; quiz 52.

In this article, the authors provide the first in-depth account of why some Alaska Native people drink untreated water when treated water is available. Their qualitative research was conducted in four Alaska Native village communities that have treated water available from a centralized distribution point. Most respondents (n = 172; 82%) reported that some of their household’s drinking water came from an untreated source. Motives for drinking untreated water emerged from analysis of open-ended questions about drinking water practice and could be categorized into six themes: chemicals, taste, health, access, tradition, and cost. Importantly, some residents reported consuming untreated water because they both liked untreated water and disliked treated water. As such, interventions to increase safe water consumption should address this dichotomy by providing education about the benefits of treated water alongside the risks involved with drinking untreated water. Based on the findings, the authors provide specific recommendations for developing behavior change interventions that address influences at multiple social-ecological levels.

Glacier melt slowing down in Glacier Bay Alaska, British Columbia

A lot of claims have been made regarding glacier melting. Well, this paper finds a deceleration of glacier melt in the Glacier Bay area of Alaska and British Columbia over the past 63+ years.

Austin J. Johnson, Christopher F. Larsen, Nathaniel Murphy, Anthony A. Arendt, S. Lee Zirnheld. Mass balance in the Glacier Bay area of Alaska, USA, and British Columbia, Canada, 1995–2011, using airborne laser altimetry. Journal of Glaciology, Vol. 59, No. 216, 2013 doi: 10.3189/2013JoG12J101

The Glacier Bay region of southeast Alaska, USA, and British Columbia, Canada, has undergone major glacier retreat since the Little Ice Age (LIA). We used airborne laser altimetry elevation data acquired between 1995 and 2011 to estimate the mass loss of the Glacier Bay region over four time periods (1995–2000, 2000–05, 2005–09, 2009–11). For each glacier, we extrapolated from center-line profiles to the entire glacier to estimate glacier-wide mass balance, and then averaged these results over the entire region using three difference methods (normalized elevation, area-weighted method and simple average). We found that there was large interannual variability of the mass loss since 1995 compared with the long-term (post-LIA) average. For the full period (1995–2011) the average mass loss was 3.93 ± 0.89 Gt a–1 (0.6 ± 0.1 m w.e. a–1), compared with 17.8 Gt a–1 for the post-LIA (1770–1948) rate. Our mass loss rate is consistent with GRACE gravity signal changes for the 2003–10 period. Our results also show that there is a lower bias due to center-line profiling than was previously found by a digital elevation model difference method.

Click here for full paper (Open Source).