For Ben Pelto, a study in glacier changes compares to a bank account.
For Ben Pelto, a study in glacier changes compares to a bank account. For example, a bank account that is losing money is like a retreating glacier. Snowfall during the winter months is like depositing money into the bank account, and snowmelt during warmer weather is like making a withdrawal. Pelto, a PhD candidate in the Geography Program at the University of Northern British Columbia, wanted to track just how much change was taking place in glacier mass in the Columbia River basin.
“Changes in glacier mass are the direct response to meteorological conditions during the accumulation and melt seasons,” Pelto explains. “We derived multi-year, seasonal mass balance from airborne laser scanning surveys and compared them to field measurements for six glaciers in the Columbia and Rocky Mountains.”
Pelto says more than 40 volunteers participated in the multi-year evaluation, which took place over 11 field seasons and totaled close to 250 days spent on glaciers. His team visited six glaciers twice per year to measure winter snowfall and summer snow and ice melt. They also used an airborne laser scanner to produce detailed maps, and captured 100 glaciers per season.
Continue reading at University of Northern British Columbia.
Image via University of Northern British Columbia.