Upcoming Seminar

    • Increased Winter baseflow of Tanana River Linked to Glacier Wastage
    • Anne Gaedeke
    • Friday, November 20, 2015 - 3:30PM
    • 535 Duckering
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Hydrological processes in glacier and permafrost affected landscapes are highly variable in time and space and subject to rapid transformation during a changing climate. In order to gain a deeper understanding of the linkages between glaciers and hydrology on the watershed scale, a thorough measurement network was set up in the Jarvis Creek watershed (630 km2), which is a headwater basin of the Tanana River (12,000 km2), in semi-arid Interior Alaska. Runoff, glacier mass balance, end-of-winter snow depths, soil temperature, geochemistry, and meteorological variables have been measured since 2011, to reflect an elevation gradient from north (lowland) to south (mountain).

We hypothesize that glacier melt i) maintains lowland streamflow during summer months and ii) recharges the regional aquifer. Glacier coverage of Jarvis basin (3% of total area) has been reduced by about 34 % (1950-2000), while providing up to 19 % (2014) to 58 % (2013) of total specific runoff in the lowland. The reduction in glacier area coincide with increased mean annual air temperature (+1.9°C) and summer warmth index (+6.5 °C), which is the sum of all mean monthly air temperature above 0 °C, since 1947 (Delta Junction). Change in annual, summer and winter precipitation has been negligible. Our measurements also show that Jarvis Creek is a losing stream that recharges the regional aquifer.

We postulate that the reduced glacier coverage, via increased aquifer recharge, is the primary cause of the observed increase in late winter baseflow of the Tanana River (+24 % 1974-2006, Fairbanks). These results suggest that glaciers do not only directly support streamflow in the headwater basins during summer months, but are also significant contributors to groundwater recharge in permafrost-free soils, thereby affecting the large scale hydrological regime of subarctic glacierized watersheds.

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About WERC Friday Seminars

Each Friday during the academic year we have seminars where faculty and students present information of interest. It's an excellent opportunity to hear about current research and for students an introduction to the academic exchange of information with peers.We meet in Duckering 531 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Submitting Seminar Info and Reservations

When you have your talk organized or would like to reserve a date please submit an image or graph that will be used at your talk, along with caption, abstract, title, and the date you'd like to give the talk to weschnabel@alaska.edu. Final decisions about the schedule are made by the WERC Director.

  • Water and Environmental Research Center (WERC)
  • 437 Duckering
  • 306 Tanana Loop
  • PO Box 75 5860
  • Fairbanks, AK 99775-5860, USA