• Alaska's shrinking glaciers: integrated glaciological research for hydrological, ecological, and environmental education applications

      Young, Joanna; Pettit, Erin; Arendt, Anthony; Conner, Laura; Hood, Eran (2020-05)
      As air temperatures in Alaska are rising, glacier melt is accelerating and affecting hydrological resources and downstream ecosystem function. The extent to which glacier loss may change hydrological regimes in coastal climates, and how that may impact nearshore marine conditions, is uncertain. Moreover, from a social-ecological standpoint, many citizens today are disconnected from these types of environmental changes, in part due to isolation from visible climate change impacts. This dissertation addresses the dual need for examining recent Alaska glacier changes and resulting hydrological and marine impacts, and for exploring education strategies that leverage glacier changes for environmental identity development. In Chapter One, I present a conceptual framework that links the physical and social sciences research herein as equal components of a social-ecological system. In Chapter Two, I use a glacio-hydrological model to uncover that coastal glaciers of the Juneau Icefield have yet to pass `peak water' delivery. I also find that between 1980 to 2016, glacier ice melt increased annually (+10%, p = 0.14) and in spring (+16%, p = 0.05), leading to changing freshwater composition. In Chapter Three, I compare modeled Mendenhall River discharge to nearshore oceanographic measurements, finding that salinity and density in the upper 15 m are strongly glacially-inuenced (10 to 30 PSU and 1010 to 1023 kg m⁻³), and that glacier runoff exerts a stronger control (r² = 0.66) than total runoff. Large, signicant trends are also detected for 1997 to 2016 August modeled glacier runoff (p = 0.02, + 15%) and observed salinity (p = 0.01, -3.2 PSU), linking these phenomena and revealing ongoing changes. Finally, in Chapter Four, I analyze social science data from youth participants in a science outreach program in a climate-impacted glacier landscape. I find that better understanding ecosystem linkages and seeing the scale of glacier loss first-hand promote environmental identity development by building relatedness and pro-environmental motivation. Together, the glaciological and environmental education research herein provides diverse perspectives on improving both scientic and citizen understanding of glacier mass loss in a changing climate.
    • Regional modeling of Greenland's outlet glaciers with the parallel ice sheet model

      Della-Giustina, Daniella N. (2011-12)
      The most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change cites ice sheet dynamics as the greatest source of uncertainty for predicting current and future rates of sea level rise. This has prompted the development and use of ice sheet models that are capable of simulating the flow and evolution of ice sheets and their corresponding sea level contribution. In the Arctic, the Greenland ice sheet appears to be responding to a warming climate more quickly than expected. In order to determine sea level contribution from Greenland, it is necessary to capture the regional dynamics of the fast flowing outlet glaciers that drain the ice sheet. This work has developed a novel regional model capable of simulating an outlet glacier, and its associated drainage basin, as a mode of using the Parallel Ice Sheet Model. Specifically, it focuses on modeling the Jakobshavn Isbrae as a demonstration. The Jakobshavn Isbrae is one of the world's fastest flowing outlet glaciers, and accounts for nearly 5% of ice loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet. Additionally, the Jakobshavn Isbrae has been widely studied for several decades, and a wealth of remotely sensed and in situ data is available in this region. These data are used as model input and for model validation. We have completed a parameter study in this work to examine the behavior of the regional model. The purpose of this study was not to tune the model to match observations, but rather to look at the influence of parameter choices on the ice dynamics. Model results indicate that we have identified the subset of the model parameter space that is appropriate for modeling this outlet glacier. Additionally, we are able to produce some of this more interesting features that have been observed at Jakobshavn, such as the development and disintegration of a floating ice tongue and the distribution of observed surface velocities. We validate these model results by comparison with recent spatially rich measurements of ice surface speeds, as well as ice geometry.