Research from former AGL grad student Theresa Groth, summer researcher Leah Nelson, and Pete was published this week in Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research. The paper grew out of summer fieldwork completed in 2013-2014 on Emmons Glacier, which has a blanket of rock debris covering much of its terminus. We measured the impact of that rock debris on ice melt during a ten-day period in the summer of each of those years, confirming that thicker debris inhibits ablation more than thin debris but also promotes more warming of the debris surface. Exploiting the latter relationship, we used satellite imagery from a day during our summer fieldwork to compare and contrast the debris surface temperatures across Emmons and two neighboring glaciers on the north slope of Rainier: Winthrop and Carbon Glaciers. In general, we found that satellite-derived debris temperatures were cooler on Carbon Glacier, suggesting that debris there is thinner. Thinner debris there is further suggested by Carbon Glacier's greater ice-volume loss in recent decades, compared to Emmons and Winthrop Glacier which have had more subdued ice volume loss and even periods of net mass gain during the same time period.
AGL Mount Rainier research published in AAAR
April 18, 2019