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Contribution of glacier runoff to freshwater discharge into the Gulf of Alaska

Geophysical Research Letters

By:
, ,
DOI: 10.1029/2010GL042385

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Abstract

Watersheds along the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) are undergoing climate warming, glacier volume loss, and shifts in the timing and volume of freshwater delivered to the eastern North Pacific Ocean. We estimate recent mean annual freshwater discharge to the GOA at 870 km3 yr-1. Small distributed coastal drainages contribute 78% of the freshwater discharge with the remainder delivered by larger rivers penetrating coastal ranges. Discharge from glaciers and icefields accounts for 47% of total freshwater discharge, with 10% coming from glacier volume loss associated with rapid thinning and retreat of glaciers along the GOA. Our results indicate the region of the GOA from Prince William Sound to the east, where glacier runoff contributes 371 km3 yr -1, is vulnerable to future changes in freshwater discharge as a result of glacier thinning and recession. Changes in timing and magnitude of freshwater delivery to the GOA could impact coastal circulation as well as biogeochemical fluxes to near-shore marine ecosystems and the eastern North Pacific Ocean. Copyright ?? 2010 by the American Geophysical Union.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Contribution of glacier runoff to freshwater discharge into the Gulf of Alaska
Series title:
Geophysical Research Letters
DOI:
10.1029/2010GL042385
Volume
37
Issue:
6
Year Published:
2010
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Geophysical Research Letters