Researchers Receive Major Grant to Study Melting of Famous Glacier


University of Montana researchers and partner institutions will use computer modeling to study the impact of climate change on Alaska’s Malaspina Glacier.

The National Science Foundation has awarded researchers at the University of Montana and partner institutions a $1.3 million grant to study the melting of one of Alaska’s most iconic glaciers.

UM Department of Computer Science researchers, along with collaborators at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the University of Arizona and the National Park Service, will use the grant to conduct computer modeling of changes now taking place to Malaspina Glacier, the world’s largest piedmont glacier. This type of glacier starts in the mountains and spills out onto the coastal plain. The Malaspina Glacier is larger than Rhode Island, according the NPS.

Doug Brinkerhoff, assistant professor in UM’s Department of Computer Science, said Malaspina already is thinning and retreating. As this process accelerates due to global warming, the coastline will change, impacting both terrestrial and marine ecosystems.

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Image via University of Montana