History of USGS Involvement in Glacier Studies

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) was established by an Act of the U.S. Congress in 1879. The first Director of the USGS (1879-1881), Clarence R. King, had a special interest in glaciers dating from his education at Yale University and his participation in the field parties of the U.S. Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel (1867-1872). King discovered Whitney Glacier on Mount Shasta on 11 September 1870 and three more glaciers on the north slope of the volcano. He published an article in the Atlantic Monthly (1871, v. 27, 8 March , p. 371-377) on "Active Glaciers within the United States." Israel C. Russell, a geologist with the USGS (1880-1892) and a founder of the National Geographic Society (NGS) in 1888, received the first research grant from the Society on 20 May 1890 to fund "The Mount St. Elias Expedition," the initial scientific study of one of the largest ice fields and associated outlet glaciers in North America. The NGS "had assembled contributions from 27 donors to help finance Russell's expedition......, where his team measured glaciers, gathered samples, and made sketches for National Geographic Magazine."* Russell published a report on "Existing Glaciers of the United States," in the 5th Annual Report 1883-84 of the USGS (1885) and on the "Glaciers of Mount Rainier" in the 18th Annual Report 1896-97 of the USGS (1898). Harry F. Reid, in the 16th Annual Report 1894-95 of the USGS (1896), published a report on "Glacier Bay and Its Glaciers."

Throughout the 118-year history of the USGS, the agency has supported research on glaciers, with each of the original three science divisions providing scientific leadership at different periods during that span of time. From the late 19th century to the present time, the Geologic Division supported a variety of glacier studies, initially as an adjunct to geologic mapping of high mountain areas in the western United States and Alaska and later as elements of other programs, such as the present Global Change and Climate History Program. From the late 1920's to the end of World War II, François E. Matthes of the National Mapping Division [Topographic Division], published annual reports on glaciers of the United States in the Transactions of the American Geophysical Union (1932-1945). By the mid-1950's, scientific leadership on glacier studies was provided by the Water Resources Division, with the hiring of Mark F. Meier, who eventually would become one of the preeminent glaciologists in the United States and the international glaciological scientific community. Meier established a strong scientific program in glaciology in Tacoma, WA, and staffed it with a fine group of scientists and support staff. During his long tenure, he and his staff established a long-term program of glacier monitoring, including mass-balance studies of selected glaciers (e.g., South Cascade Glacier, WA) and terminus fluctuations (e.g., systematic annual aerial surveys of glaciers by Austin Post and Robert M. Krimmel), fundamental studies of glacier dynamics and hazards, including the cyclical advance and retreat of tidewater glaciers (e.g., Hubbard Glacier and Columbia Glacier, AK, respectively), and jökulhlaup (glacier outburst floods) occurrences in Alaska (lacustrine and volcanic) and from volcanoes in the Cascade Mountains of Washington and Oregon (e.g., Mount Rainier). In the early 1960's another group of glaciologists in the Water Resources Division under the leadership of Lawrence C. Mayo in Fairbanks, Alaska began a long series of studies of Alaska's glaciers. The scientific productivity of the "Meier Group" and the "Mayo Group" was enormous, a conclusion confirmed by reference to the 1996 USGS Open-File Report 95-723, "Bibliography of Glacier Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey."

*Pollack, Henry, Cox, Rob, and Komar, Paul, 1996, a bit of history: Israel C. Russell: Geoscience News (University of Michigan, July, p. 11

The retirement of Meier from the USGS in 1985 marked the beginning of major funding and staffing reductions by WRD for glacier studies. By 1997, 7 glaciologists of the staff of the glaciology group in Tacoma, WA, and Fairbanks, AK, had retired, resigned, or been transferred to other projects; this critical scientific and manpower loss has not been replaced. The late William J. Campbell, who was the head of the USGS-WRD Cryospheric Interaction Project, assumed leadership of a combined glaciology, sea ice, and snow group; the combined staff was called the Ice and Climate Project (ICP). Campbell's primary scientific interest was sea ice monitoring using passive microwave satellite remote sensing. Working with the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the French Space Agency, (Centre Nationale d'Études Spatiale (CNES)), he pioneered the use of microwave remote sensing of sea ice and used these techniques to determine long term trends in sea ice coverage. Under Campbell, the group continued the glacier-monitoring program and other snow and ice investigations despite severe budgetary restraints and the loss of additional staff that were also not replaced. In 1993, the year after the death of Campbell, the Ice and Climate Project moved from the administrative management of the WRD-National Research Program (NRP) to the Alaska District Office (ADO). The Fairbanks Glaciology Project and the Tacoma Ice and Climate Project are now considered part of the Alaska District Glacier and Snow Program. This combined group has continued strong programs in glacier mass balance of the three USGS benchmark glaciers, the relationship of mass balance with changes in global atmospheric circulation, glacier-climate interaction, tidewater glacier processes, microwave remote sensing of snow, and glacier-volcano and other glacier hazard analysis. However, Campbell was not replaced nor was a new leader appointed. The effect of the past 12 years of budgetary and staffing reductions has resulted in a greatly reduced glacier program in WRD without a clearly defined leader in glaciology for either WRD or the USGS.

Although the Alaska District Glacier and Snow Program (WRD) continues to be the principal focal point in the USGS for the scientific study of glaciers, the other three science divisions have also been active in glacier mapping, publication of a global inventory (baseline) of the areal extent of glaciers, and glacier monitoring. The National Mapping Division (NMD) compiles and publishes topographic, planimetric, and image maps of glaciers of the United States and Antarctica as part of its national topographic mapping responsibilities; Antarctic mapping is done as a cooperative endeavor with the National Science Foundation's Office of Polar Programs. NMD also operates the Advanced Systems Center in Reston, VA, to provide access to classified satellite imagery and other data useful for environmental monitoring by scientists who have appropriate security clearances. The Geologic Division, with funding from the Global Change and Climate History Program (a component of the multiagency U.S. Global Change Research Program), is publishing an 11-volume series of books that represents a global glacier inventory of the areal extent of glaciers using Landsat images from the mid-1970's: Satellite Image Atlas of Glaciers of the World (USGS Professional Paper 1386 A-K) This long-term project involves more than 60 scientists, representing 25 nations and 45 different institutions; six volumes have been completed, including five published and a sixth to be printed in winter 1998 and a seventh in late 1998. Also, under the same project (Glacier Studies Project), satellite image maps and coastal-change and glaciological maps of Antarctica have been published* or are in preparation. In the mid-1970's, the Geologic Division began studying the glacial and sedimentation history of Alaskan coastal glaciers as part of the Outer Continental Shelf Environmental Assessment Project (OCSEAP) analysis of the Gulf of Alaska. This activity has evolved into the present decade-long study of the Malaspina and Bering Glaciers. From the late 1980's through the transfer of the collection in 1996 to the University of Alaska, this GD activity funded the USGS's airborne Alaskan glacier photo monitoring flights. More recently, arrangements have been made to systematically acquire classified data [e.g., National Technical Means (NTM)] of eight selected glaciers that are situated from the Brooks Range, AK to Nevada. The Biological Resources Division of the USGS and another Interior agency, the National Park Service, monitor the fluctuations of glaciers in selected national parks of the United States, with respect to impact on the ecosystem of changes in the areal extent of glaciers.

*Swithinbank, C.W.M., Williams, R.S., Jr., Ferrigno, J.G., Lucchitta, B.K., Seekins, B.A., and Rosanova, C.E., 1997, Coastal-change and glaciological map of the Bakutis Coast, Antarctica: 1972-1990. U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Investigations Series Map, I-2600-F; scale: 1:1,000,000, with accompanying booklet, 12 p.

Climate Change and Variations in the Earth's Cryosphere

The cryosphere, one of the four components of the geosphere (lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and cryosphere), is particularly sensitive to changes in regional and global climate. Glaciers, one of the four elements of the cryosphere [glaciers, floating ice, (sea, lake and river), snow, and permafrost (permanently frozen ground)] are excellent indicators of regional (and global) climate changes, because fluctuations in volume and area are linked to changes in winter and/or summer temperatures and/or in precipitation (amount and whether frozen or liquid). Glaciers are distributed on all continents, except Australia, at high elevations and/or high latitudes. Although 99 percent of the volume and 97 percent of the area of glacier ice on Earth is in the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, 1 percent of the volume and 3 percent of the area of glacier ice are represented by ice caps, ice fields, valley glaciers, etc., outside of Greenland and Antarctica, and it is these smaller glaciers that are especially sensitive to climate change and have been markedly reduced in volume and area since the end of the "Little Ice Age" during the latter part of the 19th century. [Whether the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are increasing or decreasing in volume and area or are in equilibrium is not yet known.]

Reviews and Assessment of USGS Glaciology Programs

During the past 15 years, there have been repeated attempts by USGS glaciologists, scientific program managers, and non-USGS scientists to define the role of the USGS in a national glaciological research program and to determine how the USGS program can be effectively linked to other national and international scientific programs in glaciology. These periodic assessments, of which this Workshop is the latest, have been motivated by changes in program resources (e.g., changes in funding and/or staff) or in program rationale. Initially, the study of glaciers was driven by mostly scientific considerations, to gain new knowledge about glacier dynamics and how glaciers respond to variations in regional climate, especially the retreat of mountain glaciers in the Pacific Northwest and tidewater glaciers in Alaska during the past century. More practical concerns, such as glacier hazards (e.g., lacustrine and volcanic jökulhlaups, volcanic lahars, calving glaciers, surging glaciers, etc.) and glacier hydrology (e.g., contribution of glacier meltwater to the volume of surface and groundwater discharge from a glacierized hydrologic basin), of concern to reservoir mangers for irrigation and hydroelectric power generation, also played a role.

In October 1982, Lawrence R. Mayo, a glaciologist with WRD's Cold Regions Hydrology Project Office in Fairbanks, AK, wrote "A Plan for Snow and Ice Research in the Water Resources Division, USGS," and sent it to all USGS glaciologists for review and comment. The 41-page document was a comprehensive assessment recommending glaciological studies by four project offices in WRD [e.g., Precipitation-Runoff Modeling led by George H. Leavesley (Denver, CO); Glaciology, led by Mark F. Meier (Tacoma, WA); Sea-Ice Dynamics led by William J. Campbell (Tacoma, WA); and Cold Regions Hydrology, led by Lawrence R. Mayo (Fairbanks, AK)]; he also envisioned the establishment of a fifth office for technology transfer. Mayo also referred to a previous WRD research plan on glaciology prepared in 1973.

In October 1988, Richard S. Williams, Jr., a research geologist and coordinator for Global-Change Activities with the Geologic Division, recommended the establishment of a "Branch of Glaciology and Glacial Geology" in the Office of Regional Geology to Benjamin A. Morgan, Chief Geologist. Appended to the memorandum was a two-page review of "Glaciological Research in the USGS," and a four-page review of the USGS and global glaciology.

In December 1989, Raymond D. Watts, a geophysicist with the National Mapping Division (formerly, detailed by the USGS as Executive Director of the U.S. Global Change Research Program and later Acting Assistant Director for Research, USGS), prepared a draft (10-p.) of "Recommendations for a Glacier Research Program for the U.S. Geological Survey," and circulated it to 24 USGS scientists and managers for review and comment with a 3-p. cover memorandum. In the cover memorandum, Watts argued for a coordinated USGS glaciology effort and referred to a tri-divisional (GD, NMD, WRD) initiative for cold-regions research encouraged by Robert M. Hirsch, Chief Hydrologist (formerly, Hydrologist for Research and External Coordination; Chief Scientist for WRD's contribution to the U.S. Global Change Research Program).

In 1989, Bruce F. Molnia, a glacial geologist with the Geologic Division, prepared a two-page pre-proposal "Inventory of North American Glaciers," to GD's Climate Change Program. Primarily directed at preparing a baseline for 30 selected glaciers from the Brooks Range to small glaciers in California and Colorado, Molnia relied heavily on the use of remote-sensing technology to carry out the work. His unsuccessful 1989 pre-proposal, Molnia's 1990 paper* arguing for a systematic monitoring of North American glaciers, and his 1993 ** paper on glacier monitoring for global change, however, provided early discussions of the importance of regional monitoring of glaciers with remote sensing technology.

In February 1991, the National Park Service , the U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory jointly sponsored a workshop on Glaciers and Monitoring held in Anchorage, Alaska. The goal was to promote cooperation and coordination between state, federal and other agencies in glacier research, especially for the understanding of global climate change.

In May 1994, several WRD glaciologists and glaciologists from other Federal agencies and academic institutions participated in a two-day "Glacier-Climate Relationships Workshop" at the University of Washington (Seattle, WA). This Workshop was a precursor to the 1996 Workshop and included some of the same participants.

In March 1996, John J. Conomos, Regional Hydrologist, Western Region (WRD), asked Thomas C. Winter, a WRD glaciologist, to lead a team of four USGS and two non-USGS scientists in a review of WRD's snow and ice projects. The 8-p report, "Hydrological Issues Related to Snow and Ice and the Need for Research and Basic Data on Snow and Ice in the Water Resources Division, USGS," was submitted by Winter to Conomos in April 1997.

Early in 1997, Robert A. Bindschadler, a glaciologist with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, sent a letter to Robert M. Hirsch, Chief Hydrologist (WRD), on the "Importance of Revitalization of the USGS Glaciology Program." An edited version of that letter is included as Appendix 6 of this Workshop report.

Two other reports related to glacier studies by the USGS and germane to the support of glacier monitoring by the USGS, and to the Workshop, were published by WRD in 1996, "Bibliography of Glacier Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey," USGS Open-File Report 95-723, by Elizabeth F. Snyder; and in 1997, "A Strategy for Monitoring Glaciers," USGS Circular 1132, by Andrew G. Fountain, Robert M. Krimmel and Dennis C. Trabant.

In late 1997, the Geologic Division's Strategic Science Team prepared a draft report, Geology for a Changing World, that addressed the importance of long-term monitoring of glaciers by the USGS under Science Goal 3, Anticipate the Environmental Hazards Posed by Climate Variability. In addition to noting the economic consequences of sea-level rise under climate warming, Number 2 of the 5 Strategic Actions recommended under Science Goal 3 is "2) In collaboration with other U.S. agencies and foreign institutions, initiate and expand long-term, baseline monitoring of key climate-change indicators such as glaciers, permafrost, and dune sand." Geology for a Changing World will be published in April 1998.

As noted, the Workshop on Long-Term Monitoring of Glaciers of North America and Northwestern Europe represents the latest in the attempt to define the scientific rationale for glacier research by the USGS that will be supported by USGS managers and funded by the U.S. Congress. It does so by making global environmental change the "raison d'être" and by involving other nations and institutions, especially USGS counterpart governmental institutions in North America and Northwestern Europe in an integrated bureau program dependent heavily on analysis of remotely-sensed data and close cooperation and collaboration with U.S. and foreign glaciologists and counterpart institutions.

Since the late 1980's, the increase in international scientific research on global environmental change and the development of the multiagency U.S. Global Change Research Program, the linkage between climate change, glacier fluctuation, and changes in eustatic sea level, has attracted growing attention. The Glacier Studies Project of the Geologic Division's Global Change and Climate History Program (Woods Hole, MA and Reston, VA), the Biological Research Division's glacier monitoring program in Glacier National Park (MT), some aspects of the National Mapping Division's glacier-mapping activities in Antarctica and the U.S. (Reston, VA), and part of the Water Resources Division Alaska District Glacier and Snow Program (Tacoma, WA; and Fairbanks, AK) are directed at addressing glacier-related global environmental change questions. It is clear that glacier studies by the USGS, in the context of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, must involve all four science divisions and should be treated as an integrated bureau-level research effort, with each division providing unique strengths through their individual programs and projects, with strong intra-divisional, inter-divisional, inter-agency, and other U.S. and international governmental and institutional collaboration, including exchange of data and information.

*Molnia, B.F., 1990, One glacier's retreat, a global warming does not make--An argument for systematic monitoring of North American glaciers [abs]: in Proc., International Conference on the Role of Polar Regions in Global Change, p. 25.

**Molnia, B.F., 1993, Glacier monitoring for global change; three case studies [abs.] in Kelmelis, J.A., and Snow, K.M., eds., Proc. of the U.S. Geological Survey Global Change Research Forum, Herndon, VA, March 18-20, 1991: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1086, p. 99-100.

Objectives and Rationale for the Workshop

Richard Z. Poore, Program Coordinator for the Global Change and Climate History Program, through which the Glacier Studies Project is funded, suggested that a workshop be convened to address the feasibility of using satellite remote-sensing technology, complemented by existing ground-based observation networks and aerial monitoring, to monitor fluctuations (areal and volumetric) of glaciers of North America. He concluded that the baseline of the areal extent of glaciers established by the Satellite Image Atlas of Glaciers of the World (based on Landsat images from the mid-1970's) provided good control for regional studies, and that monitoring changes in the glaciers of North America in a long-term, systematic manner, would be the logical next step.

The two Workshop Coordinators, Richard S. Williams, Jr., and Jane G. Ferrigno, who are also the editors of the USGS Satellite Image Atlas of Glaciers of the World book series, agreed with Richard Z. Poore's suggestion, and began, during the early summer of 1996, the planning to convene such a workshop. We broadened the planned geographic area of the glaciers to be monitored from North America to include Northwestern Europe. This was done to include all of the major glacierized areas of the Northern Hemisphere, especially those influenced by the maritime climates of the North Pacific Ocean and the North Atlantic Ocean.

The Glaciers of Europe (1386-E; 1993) and Greenland (1386-C; 1995) volumes of the Satellite Image Atlas of Glaciers of the World had already been published. Editing for the Glaciers of North America (1386-J) has either been completed (Glaciers of México and Glaciers of the Western United States) or is in progress (Glaciers of Canada and Glaciers of Alaska) and writing for the Glaciers of Iceland (1386-D) is in progress. Therefore, a solid foundation of information, especially 1970's baseline data from satellite images, on the glaciers of North America and Northwestern Europe was already available and, most importantly, many of the authors of the Glacier Atlas volumes and other glaciologists knowledgeable about the geographic area agreed to participate in the Workshop.

Forty scientists, including several global-change research program managers, were invited to the Workshop. Thirty-two scientists attended the two-day workshop and one-day field trip to Mount Rainier on 11-13 September 1996. The Workshop was held at the University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA; local logistical and other support was provided by the Ice and Climate Project Office of the USGS's Water Resources Division. Several attendees participated in a post-Workshop field trip to selected glaciers of southeastern Alaska that was led by Bruce F. Molnia.

The primary motivation for the Workshop was the recognition that airborne and satellite remote sensing of areal and volumetric changes in glaciers had reached the stage where quantitative scientific information could be derived from such data that had previously only been available from direct field measurements. In addition, many long-term national glacier-observation networks that had been established after World War II were being reduced or eliminated because of budgetary cutbacks of scientific programs within institutions, resulting in the termination of long-term datasets that are especially valuable in determining whether observed changes in key environmental parameters caused by changes in regional or local climate, such as glaciers, are the result of natural variability (e.g., global warming during the past century following the end of the "Little Ice Age" in the mid-to-late-1800's), impact of human activity (e.g., increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, especially carbon dioxide and methane), or both (fig. 1). Although not directly addressed in the Workshop, analysis of glacier-ice cores has proven that human activity is responsible for a 100 ppm increase in "normal" concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere during an interglacial. Prior to industrialization, atmospheric concentration of CO2 was 280 ppm, the same concentration attained during the previous interglacial about 130,000 years ago. During maximum cooling during a glacial, CO2 concentration falls to 180 ppm. In less than 300 years, human activities have caused an increase in concentration of CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere comparable to the late Pleistocene and preindustrial Holocene increase (+100 ppm) that required more than 20,000 years. Glacier ice, distributed on all the Earth's continents except Australia, contains records of the composition of past atmospheres, volcanic eruptions, dust content of the atmosphere, and other environmental "signals" that have high scientific value in assessing natural climate change for the past 200,000 years (ice cores from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets) and lesser periods of time for smaller glaciers (e.g., ice caps, ice fields, etc.).

It seemed a critical time to develop a new strategy using satellite remote sensing in conjunction with ground-based observations and compilation of data in a Geographic Information System (GIS) and to continue and possibly expand glacier monitoring by adding glaciers to the existing ground-based network of glaciers being studied and monitored by various institutions in North America and Northwestern Europe. Such a plan would maximize the scientific results while utilizing available funding in the most efficient and cost-effective way.

Figure 1.--Map showing the very small number of glacier mass-balance sites in current operation in North America and Northwestern Europe north of 60o N. lat. by length of record in years. Thousands of glaciers exist within the Arctic but only a few have been or are being studied and monitored scientifically. Map courtesy of Julian A. Dowdeswell, Centre of Glaciology, University of Wales.

Participating Institutions

Thirty-two scientists, from the 40 invited, participated in the two-day Workshop on Long-Term Monitoring of Glaciers of North America and Northwestern Europe, representing 17 institutions, seven U.S. and ten foreign. Glaciologists with special knowledge of the glaciers of North America (Alaska, Canada, Western U.S., and Greenland) and Northwestern Europe (Iceland, Jan Mayen, Svalbard, Norway, Sweden, and the Russian Arctic Islands) attended the Workshop (see the list of Attendees and other Invitees in Section V, Appendices. Names of participating institutions are as follows:


Environment Canada, National Hydrology Research Institute

Environmental Research Institute of Michigan

Geological Survey of Canada, Glaciology Section (Terrain Sciences Division)

Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (Denmark)
[Danmarks og Grønlands Geologiske Undersøgelse (GEUS)]

International Glaciological Society (England, U.K.)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Goddard Space Flight Center

French Space Agency
[Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES)]

National Energy Authority (Iceland)

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Portland State University

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
[Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH)]

U.S. Department of the Interior

National Park Service
Denali National Park and Preserve (AK)
Glacier National Park (MT)


Biological Resources Division
Geologic Division
National Mapping Division
Water Resources Division
Office of the Director

University of Alaska, Geophysical Institute

University of Colorado

National Snow and Ice Data Center - World Data Center - A for Glaciology

University of Oslo (Norway), Department of Geography

University of Wales (U.K.)

University of Zürich-Irchel (Switzerland), Geographical Institute
[Universität Zürich-Irchel, Geographisches Institut]

Structure of the Workshop

The two-day Workshop was organized around a series of presentations to bring all participants up to the same level of information. The presentations were followed by related and expanded discussions about the best way to cooperate in the use of currently available and existing and future planned technologies to carry out long-term ground, airborne, and satellite monitoring of fluctuations in glaciers of North America and Northwestern Europe. We also discussed existing glacier datasets (ground observations, airborne images and satellite images) archived in various data centers in different nations and in the major international archives such as the IAHS (ICSI)/UNEP/ UNESCO World Glacier Monitoring Service (Zürich, Switzerland), NOAA's National Snow and Ice Data Center/World Data Center - A for Glaciology (Boulder, CO), and the USGS EROS Data Center (Sioux Falls, SD), etc.

Part I of the two-day Workshop included presentations by glaciologists from Alaska, Canada, Conterminous United States, Denmark (for Greenland), Iceland, Norway (and Sweden), and Wales, U.K. (Russian Arctic Islands) on "Existing Data Bases and Current Status of Monitoring Glaciers of North America and Northwestern Europe." Part II of the Workshop included presentations by glaciologists, other scientists, and engineers about "Current and Planned Remote Sensing Technology for Monitoring Glaciers." Part III of the Workshop was composed of presentations by glaciological-archive managers on "International Data Centers for Archiving Ground, Airborne and Satellite Data of Glaciers."

All of the attendees (and non-attendees) were asked to provide an expanded abstract about their experience and perspective on glacier monitoring and related topics prior to the Workshop, so that the abstracts could be distributed to attendees. Selected background reading, was provided to each attendee.

On the afternoon of the second day of the Workshop glaciologists responsible for specific geographic areas or topics revised the original abstracts into brief comprehensive reviews with respect to the information presented and discussions held during the three sessions of the first 1 days. Copies of these comprehensive reviews are arranged in the following sections according to the Workshop organization:

I. Existing Data Bases and Current Status for Monitoring Glaciers of North America and Northwestern Europe

II. Current and Planned Remote Sensing Technology for Monitoring Glaciers

III. International Data Centers for Archiving Ground, Airborne, and Satellite Data of Glaciers

IV. Monitoring of Various Glaciers in North America and Northwestern Europe. Miscellaneous Contributions

V. Appendices

Part I provides a geographic perspective, past and present. Part II gives a remote-sensing perspective, present and future. Part III provides a perspective on the major international data centers devoted, entirely or in part, to archiving of glaciological data. Part IV includes miscellaneous studies of glaciers in North America using a combination of technologies. Part V provides background information about the Workshop, attendees, non-attendees, selected reading, and other important information.


Convening a Workshop on Long-Term Monitoring of Glaciers of North America and Northwestern Europe and tending to the logistical and other needs of 32 U.S. and foreign glaciologists required substantial support from several dedicated individuals. From the Glacier Studies Project (Woods Hole, MA), the Workshop Coordinators are especially grateful to the outstanding support provided by Janice G. Goodell before, during, and after the Workshop. At the Water Resources Division (Ice and Climate Project Office in Tacoma, WA), Edward G. Josberger arranged much of the local logistics, including the conference room at the University of Puget Sound and myriad other details. We want to thank Ed for all his efforts and those of Jo Eggers (Tacoma, WA) for an exceptionally smooth operation; everything went off without a hitch. Bob and Birdie Krimmel hospitably opened their beautiful home on Vashon Island to all Workshop attendees for a cookout and informal evening session.

We also want to acknowledge the planning and leading of the post-Workshop field trip to Mount Rainier by Carolyn L. Driedger (Cascade Volcano Observatory, Vancouver, WA) to observe the effect of jökulhlaups/lahars on the landscape of Mount Rainier and environs and the potential hazards to life and property associated with a dormant volcano surmounted by an ice cap and many outlet/valley glaciers. Her scientific knowledge of Mount Rainier and its glaciological and volcanological hazards and her enthusiasm made for a most informative and enjoyable field trip.

We greatly appreciate the efforts of Bruce F. Molnia (Reston, VA) in planning and leading a post-Workshop field trip to the Bering Glacier and other glaciers in southeastern Alaska. The Alaska field trip was an option paid for by individual attendees.

We also appreciate the assistance of Clifford M. Nelson, USGS Historian, for providing and confirming information about the work on glaciers by the first director of the USGS.

Last, but not least, we are grateful for the programmatic and financial support from Richard Z. Poore, Program Manager, Global Change and Climate History Program, to convene the Workshop in Tacoma, WA, and to cover travel costs of the non-local attendees and other logistical costs. [an error occurred while processing this directive]