Glacier Impacts on Current and Future Streamflow

Alaska and Washington
June 1, 2015 to June 1, 2017

This project will extend understanding of the role of glaciers in the hydrology of Alaska and Washington state and incorporate this knowledge into two types of simulation models. The project will develop robust methods for hydrologic modeling that will be applicable throughout AK and WA, including areas lacking types of on-the-ground measurements traditionally required for this type of research.

Beyond improving theoretical understanding of glacier-influenced hydrology and building operational tools for other scientists, this project helps citizens of AK and WA by providing improved historical and projected statistics of streamflow to land resource managers and private citizens alike. This will be done by sharing the software and raw data of the modeling process through internet-standard protocols and developing a web portal specifically designed to allow users to explore content, access data, and view results through map-based and statistical visualizations.

This will help the public understand (1) the state of available resources, (2) potential responses of hydrology to changes in climate and glacier extent, and (3) uncertainty of model simulations associated with use of historical and projected future climate data. The development of this information can support the assessment of potential hazards (such as ice dam failures) and decision-making for more resilient development and risk management.