S36 The role of temperature and precipitation on mass balance of the Taku and Lemon Creek Glaciers, Alaska (1946-2015)

Sunday, 10 January 2016
Hall E ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Arianna Varuolo-Clarke, UCAR, BOULDER, CO; and M. Beedle

As the global climate warms, dramatic changes are being documented, particularly at high latitudes. Glacier recession is largely contributing to sea level rise, however the linkage between glaciers and climate is not yet fully understood. Increased mass loss of the world's glaciers, excluding the large ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica, may contribute up to 0.5 m of sea level rise. Understanding how glacier mass balance may change will help the millions of people that live within a meter of sea level to adapt. This research investigates the response of two glaciers on the Juneau Icefield, Taku and Lemon Creek, to temperature and precipitation. The glacier mass balance records of the Taku and Lemon Creek date back to 1946 and 1953, respectively. The longevity of these records justifies its use in a statistical analysis. By comparing these records to observed climate data, we begin to understand the relationships between glaciers and climate. Temperatures above 0oC drive the melt season, while precipitation in the form of snow is the main driver of the accumulation season. Cross-correlation analysis will be used to investigate temporal variability of the relationships between climate records and glacier mass balance. Future work will involve using these correlations as a control to analyze simulated glacier mass balance based on temperature and precipitation projections. Previous studies have shown that the observed summer temperatures correlate with glacier mass balance records beginning in 1989. Winter precipitation has not been found to significantly correlate with glacier mass balance. We endeavor to expand on this work by incorporating different climatic data sets to investigate how robust the established correlations are.
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