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Point Raw Glaciological Data: Ablation Stake, Snow Pit, and Probed Snow Depth Data on USGS Benchmark Glaciers

March 15, 2022

Since the late 1950s, the USGS has maintained a long-term glacier mass-balance program at three North American glaciers. Measurements began on South Cascade Glacier, WA in 1958, expanding to Gulkana and Wolverine glaciers, AK in 1966, and later Sperry Glacier, MT in 2005. Additional measurements have been made on Lemon Creek and Taku glaciers, AK to compliment data collected by the Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP; Pelto et al., 2013). Direct field measurements of point glaciological data are combined with weather and geodetic data to derive glacier-wide seasonal and annual surface mass balance solutions of each glacier in conventional and reference surface formats (Cogley et al., 2011). Additional details on the calculation of glacier-wide surface mass balance are described in Van Beusekom et al. (2010).
This dataset contains point raw glaciological field data. Snow pit and snow core data give detailed information on snow density through the measured snow column. Snow depth measurements are collected via snow probe and in some snow pits or snow cores that extend the full depth of the snowpack to the glacier's surface. Ablation stakes allow point measurement of both snow depth and snow melt against the reference of the labeled stake. Draw wires provide additional measurements of snow and ice melt, against the invariant reference of the labeled wire. It is used to calculate point mass balance, or the mass balance at a specified location on the glacier.