• Glacierfed streams recharge aquifers
    • Anna Liljedahl (WERC faculty)
    • October 13, 2017
  • Image above: Jarvis Glacier, Alaska Range.
    Photo Credit: Todd Paris.

Abstract

Here we show that the ubiquitous mass loss from subarctic mountain glaciers feeds rivers not only in summer but also in the winter. We measured summer discharge at two places in the same glacier-fed headwater stream in Interior Alaska and found that the discharge is lower downstream that upstream. The difference represent water that is lost to infiltration into ground and subsequent aquifer recharge. The aquifer in turn feeds the larger lowland river, the Tanana River, during winter. As such, glaciers across the semiarid regions can be important to both streams and aquifers and may be an overlooked source of increasing river discharge reported across the Arctic.

More information can be found in this open access publication.

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  • Water and Environmental Research Center (WERC)
  • 437 Duckering
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  • Fairbanks, AK 99775-5860, USA