Improving Estimates of Changing Firn Meltwater Storage and Flux in Temperate Glacier Systems

Glaciers are created from annual snowfall which does not entirely melt during summer months. Over time, this accumulated snow condenses to form glacier ice. Firn is a highly porous middle stage between snow and ice which often stores surface meltwater in its pore space. Unfortunately, we don?t have a good estimate of how much meltwater is stored in firn, how this water storage varies from glacier to glacier, or how this storage amount is changing due to climate change. This project will determine several firn properties such as firn thicknesses, pore volume, water storage, and changes in water storage over time across the Juneau Icefield located in Southeast Alaska. This is important because Alaska and Canada glaciers are retreating (melting) faster than any other glacier system on Earth. Therefore, we expect changes in meltwater storage to occur.

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Participants Involved in This Project

Lynn in front of green foliage

Lynn Brennan | Educator Fellow

The Putney School | Putney, Vermont
Seth in front of a gray background

Seth Campbell | Researcher Fellow

University of Maine | Orono, Maine