Climate Research and Development Program

Snow and Avalanches

Mountain snowpack is important in providing spring melt water to down-slope ecosystems. However, snowpack can also threaten humans and ecosystems when destructive avalanches are triggered. The Climate R&D Program is investigating avalanche frequency and magnitude and assessing climatic and human drivers of avalanches to improve public safety and mitigate impacts of avalanche hazards on society.

Filter Total Items: 5
Date published: October 29, 2020
Status: Active

USGS Snow and Avalanche Project

Snow avalanches are a widespread natural hazard to humans and infrastructure as well as an important landscape disturbance affecting mountain ecosystems. Forecasting avalanche frequency is challenging on various spatial and temporal scales, and this project aims to fill a gap in snow science by focusing on reconstructing avalanche history on the continental mountain range scale - throughout...

Date published: March 25, 2020
Status: Active

Past Perspectives of Water in the West

In the intermountain west, seasonal precipitation extremes, combined with population growth, are creating new challenges for the management of water resources, ecosystems, and geologic hazards. This research contributes a comprehensive long-term context for a deeper understanding of past hydrologic variability, including the magnitude and frequency of drought and flood extremes and ecosystem...

Date published: April 13, 2019
Status: Active

Linking water, carbon, and nitrogen cycles in seasonally snow-covered catchments under changing land resource conditions

Changes in snowpack accumulation, distribution, and melt in high-elevation catchments are likely to have important impacts on water, carbon, and nitrogen cycles, which are tightly coupled through exchanges of energy and biogeochemical compounds between atmospheric, terrestrial, and aquatic environments.  Our research helps to better understand how changes in climate will affect water...

Date published: April 13, 2019
Status: Active

Biogeochemistry of glaciers

Significant change to the Arctic and sub-arctic water cycle is underway, impacting hydrologic and biogeochemical fluxes.  In southcentral Alaska, glacier mass loss, changes to precipitation (including the rain/snow fraction), thawing ground ice, and vegetation encroachment will change both magnitude and timing of water and solute fluxes downstream.  Although altered fluxes of limiting...

Date published: November 6, 2018
Status: Active

USGS Benchmark Glacier Project

Scientists with the USGS Benchmark Glacier Project study the process and impacts of glacier change, including sea-level rise, water resources, environmental hazards and ecosystem links. At the core of this research are mass balance measurements at five glaciers in the United States. Since the 1960s, these glaciers have been studied using direct observations of glaciers and meteorology. The...