Measuring Glacier Behavior

Many different types of technologies are being used to study glaciers in Alaska. GPS receivers help measure glacier motion, seismometers track water flow, meteorological stations record climate, and timelapse cameras and satellites capture all kinds of visual data. These many data sets studied together are helping scientists like Jason Amundson better understand glacier behavior, and the factors that are impacting events like glacial retreat.
Jason explains in the video above how scientists must make measurements at the surface of the glacier and then infer what is happening underneath. He is particularly interested in tidewater glaciers (glaciers that terminate in the ocean) and in trying to understand what drives glaciers to calve. Jason also discusses how outburst flood events on glaciers like the Mendenhall are impacting downstream ecosystems.

View Jason’s video story above, and then check out “All About Glaciers”, a great resource from the National Snow and Ice Data Center. You can also learn more about southeast Alaska and its natural environment via our other video stories from Juneau:


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