Understanding the Impacts of Glaciers on Streamflow in Alaska and Washington

Science Center Objects

Glaciers are a central component to the hydrology of many areas in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Glacier melt plays a crucial role in the movement of nutrients through a landscape and into the ocean, and the flow of water into streams that sustain many species. As air temperatures rise, increased rates of glacier melt may have significant impacts to the hydrology and ecology in these areas....

Glaciers are a central component to the hydrology of many areas in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Glacier melt plays a crucial role in the movement of nutrients through a landscape and into the ocean, and the flow of water into streams that sustain many species. As air temperatures rise, increased rates of glacier melt may have significant impacts to the hydrology and ecology in these areas.



This project aims to broaden our understanding of the role of glaciers in the hydrology of Alaska and Washington state and incorporate this knowledge into two types of models that simulate past and future scenarios of water flow. The project team aims to develop a public web portal to allow users to explore content, access data, and view results of the modeling through maps and visualizations. The team also plans to assess potential hazards (such as flooding) and habitat concerns (such as impacts to fish breeding habitats) that are possible with increased glacier melt and changes in streamflow. Land and natural resource managers can use this information to assess risks and plan for future conditions that may impact local and regional communities.



So far the project team has added a module (PRMSglacier) to simulate glacier runoff to the Precipitation Runoff Modeling System (PRMS). Learn more about this work in the products section below.



This project is co-funded by the Northwest CSC and the Alaska CSC.