Contribution of Alaskan glaciers to sea-level rise derived from satellite imagery

E. Berthier, Erik K Schiefer, G. K C Clarke, B. Menounos, F. Rémy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

206 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Over the past 50 years, retreating glaciers and ice caps contributed 0.5 mm yr-1to sea-level rise, and one third of this contribution is believed to come from ice masses bordering the Gulf of Alaska. However, these estimates of ice loss in Alaska are based on measurements of a limited number of glaciers that are extrapolated to constrain ice wastage in the many thousands of others. Uncertainties in these estimates arise, for example, from the complex pattern of decadal elevation changes at the scale of individual glaciers and mountain ranges. Here we combine a comprehensive glacier inventory with elevation changes derived from sequential digital elevation models. We find that between 1962 and 2006, Alaskan glaciers lost 41.9 ± 8.6 km 3yr-1 of water, and contributed 0.12 ± 0.02 mm yr-1 to a-level rise, 34% less than estimated earlier2,3. Reasons for our lower values include the higher spatial resolution of our glacier inventory as well as the reduction of ice thinning underneath debris and at the glacier margins, which were not resolved in earlier work. We suggest that estimates of mass loss from glaciers and ice caps in other mountain regions could be subject to similar revisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-95
Number of pages4
JournalNature Geoscience
Volume3
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2010

Fingerprint

satellite imagery
glacier
ice
ice cap
sea level rise
mountain region
digital elevation model
thinning
spatial resolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Cite this

Contribution of Alaskan glaciers to sea-level rise derived from satellite imagery. / Berthier, E.; Schiefer, Erik K; Clarke, G. K C; Menounos, B.; Rémy, F.

In: Nature Geoscience, Vol. 3, No. 2, 02.2010, p. 92-95.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Berthier, E. ; Schiefer, Erik K ; Clarke, G. K C ; Menounos, B. ; Rémy, F. / Contribution of Alaskan glaciers to sea-level rise derived from satellite imagery. In: Nature Geoscience. 2010 ; Vol. 3, No. 2. pp. 92-95.
@article{8e543b2ee4ce4a119b0e9d978efe7422,
title = "Contribution of Alaskan glaciers to sea-level rise derived from satellite imagery",
abstract = "Over the past 50 years, retreating glaciers and ice caps contributed 0.5 mm yr-1to sea-level rise, and one third of this contribution is believed to come from ice masses bordering the Gulf of Alaska. However, these estimates of ice loss in Alaska are based on measurements of a limited number of glaciers that are extrapolated to constrain ice wastage in the many thousands of others. Uncertainties in these estimates arise, for example, from the complex pattern of decadal elevation changes at the scale of individual glaciers and mountain ranges. Here we combine a comprehensive glacier inventory with elevation changes derived from sequential digital elevation models. We find that between 1962 and 2006, Alaskan glaciers lost 41.9 ± 8.6 km 3yr-1 of water, and contributed 0.12 ± 0.02 mm yr-1 to a-level rise, 34{\%} less than estimated earlier2,3. Reasons for our lower values include the higher spatial resolution of our glacier inventory as well as the reduction of ice thinning underneath debris and at the glacier margins, which were not resolved in earlier work. We suggest that estimates of mass loss from glaciers and ice caps in other mountain regions could be subject to similar revisions.",
author = "E. Berthier and Schiefer, {Erik K} and Clarke, {G. K C} and B. Menounos and F. R{\'e}my",
year = "2010",
month = "2",
doi = "10.1038/ngeo737",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "3",
pages = "92--95",
journal = "Nature Geoscience",
issn = "1752-0894",
publisher = "Nature Publishing Group",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Contribution of Alaskan glaciers to sea-level rise derived from satellite imagery

AU - Berthier, E.

AU - Schiefer, Erik K

AU - Clarke, G. K C

AU - Menounos, B.

AU - Rémy, F.

PY - 2010/2

Y1 - 2010/2

N2 - Over the past 50 years, retreating glaciers and ice caps contributed 0.5 mm yr-1to sea-level rise, and one third of this contribution is believed to come from ice masses bordering the Gulf of Alaska. However, these estimates of ice loss in Alaska are based on measurements of a limited number of glaciers that are extrapolated to constrain ice wastage in the many thousands of others. Uncertainties in these estimates arise, for example, from the complex pattern of decadal elevation changes at the scale of individual glaciers and mountain ranges. Here we combine a comprehensive glacier inventory with elevation changes derived from sequential digital elevation models. We find that between 1962 and 2006, Alaskan glaciers lost 41.9 ± 8.6 km 3yr-1 of water, and contributed 0.12 ± 0.02 mm yr-1 to a-level rise, 34% less than estimated earlier2,3. Reasons for our lower values include the higher spatial resolution of our glacier inventory as well as the reduction of ice thinning underneath debris and at the glacier margins, which were not resolved in earlier work. We suggest that estimates of mass loss from glaciers and ice caps in other mountain regions could be subject to similar revisions.

AB - Over the past 50 years, retreating glaciers and ice caps contributed 0.5 mm yr-1to sea-level rise, and one third of this contribution is believed to come from ice masses bordering the Gulf of Alaska. However, these estimates of ice loss in Alaska are based on measurements of a limited number of glaciers that are extrapolated to constrain ice wastage in the many thousands of others. Uncertainties in these estimates arise, for example, from the complex pattern of decadal elevation changes at the scale of individual glaciers and mountain ranges. Here we combine a comprehensive glacier inventory with elevation changes derived from sequential digital elevation models. We find that between 1962 and 2006, Alaskan glaciers lost 41.9 ± 8.6 km 3yr-1 of water, and contributed 0.12 ± 0.02 mm yr-1 to a-level rise, 34% less than estimated earlier2,3. Reasons for our lower values include the higher spatial resolution of our glacier inventory as well as the reduction of ice thinning underneath debris and at the glacier margins, which were not resolved in earlier work. We suggest that estimates of mass loss from glaciers and ice caps in other mountain regions could be subject to similar revisions.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=76449107632&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=76449107632&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1038/ngeo737

DO - 10.1038/ngeo737

M3 - Article

VL - 3

SP - 92

EP - 95

JO - Nature Geoscience

JF - Nature Geoscience

SN - 1752-0894

IS - 2

ER -