Mountain ecosystems are responding to rapid climate change. Changes in glacier extent can both enhance or suppress the effects of the regional climate change. Mountain glaciers have an effect on the climate around them due to their lowering of the air temperature and when mountain glaciers retreat, the effect on the ecosystem can be considerably greater than it would have not been had the glacier in the area. This is due to the retraction of the local cold zone around the glacier coupled with the regional warming. I have quantified the extent and the magnitude of a cold halo around LaPerouse Glacier on the outer coast of Alaska using temperature sensors and Landsat surface temperature maps. The cold halo surrounding LaPerouse intersects the forests, inducing a significant cooling effect on the surrounding forests, which is diminished when the glacier retreats. The cold halo was quantified on LaPerouse Glacier in Southeastern Alaska which will allow us to extend the study to include the health of the forests in places where there is a rapid increase in temperature due to the loss of the cold halo. These data can be projected to see what will happen during situations of rapid changes in temperature in other areas that are not subject to the cold halo around the glaciers. This can help further understand the effects of rapid climate change on the ecosystems in Southeastern Alaska.
Pearson, Julia M., "Quantifying How the Retreating Cold Microclimates Around Glaciers in Southeast Alaska Affect Rates of Warming in Nearby Mountain Ecosystems." (2021). Senior Independent Study Theses. Paper 9534.
Other Environmental Sciences
Bachelor of Arts
Senior Independent Study Thesis
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