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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2018-155
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2018-155
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  03 May 2019

03 May 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Earth System Science Data (ESSD).

Glaciers and Climate of the Upper Susitna Basin, Alaska

Andrew Bliss1,2, Regine Hock2, Gabriel Wolken3, Erin Whorton3,4, Caroline Aubry-Wake2,5, Juliana Braun2,6, Alessio Gusmeroli7, Will Harrison2, Andrew Hoffman2, Anna Liljedahl8, and Jing Zhang9 Andrew Bliss et al.
  • 1Department of Anthropology, Colorado State University, 1787 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
  • 2Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, USA
  • 3Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, Fairbanks, AK, USA
  • 4USGS Washington Water Science Center, Tacoma, WA, USA
  • 5Centre for Hydrology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada
  • 6Willis Re, London, UK
  • 7International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, USA
  • 8Water & Environmental Research Center and International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, USA
  • 9Department of Physics and Department of Energy & Environmental Systems, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, NC, USA

Abstract. As part of a planned hydropower facility, extensive field observations were conducted in the Upper Susitna basin, a 13,289 km2 glacierized catchment in central Alaska in 2012–2014. This paper describes a comprehensive data set of meteorological, glacier mass balance, snow cover and soil measurements, as well as the data collection and processing. Results are compared to similar observations from the 1980s. Environmental lapse rates measured with weather stations between about 1000 and 2000 m a.s.l. were significantly lower over the glaciers than the non-glaciated areas. Glacier-wide mass balances shifted from close to balanced in the 1980s to less than −1.5 m w.e. yr−1 in 2012–2014. Winter snow accumulation measured with ablation stakes on the glaciers closely matched observations from helicopter-borne radar. Soil temperature measurements across the basin showed that there was no permafrost in the upper 1 m of the soil column. The data produced by this study is available at https://doi.org/10.14509/30138 and will be useful for hydrological and glaciological studies including modeling efforts

Andrew Bliss et al.
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Andrew Bliss et al.
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Glaciers and climate of the upper Susitna Basin, Alaska; supporting data A. Bliss, R. Hock, G. Wolken, E. Whorton, C. Aubry-Wake, J. Braun, A. Gusmeroli, W. Harrison, A. Hoffman, A. Liljedahl, and J. Zhang https://doi.org/10.14509/30138

Andrew Bliss et al.
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Short summary
As part of a proposed hydropower facility, extensive field observations were conducted in the Upper Susitna basin in central Alaska in 2012–2014. This paper describes the weather, glacier mass balance, snow cover and soils of the basin. We found that temperatures over the glacier are cooler than over land at the same elevation. The glaciers are losing mass faster in recent years than in the 1980s. Measurements of glacier mass change with traditional methods closely matched radar measurements.
As part of a proposed hydropower facility, extensive field observations were conducted in the...
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