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Spatiotemporal Variability of Trends and Anomaly Patterns in the Surface Albedo and Temperature of Glaciers in the Canadian Cordillera and Alaska

  • Author / Creator
    Ali Naeimi Nezamabad
  • The global average surface air temperature experienced an increase of approximately 0.5°C over the course of the 20th century. Consequently, numerous glaciers worldwide have undergone a reduction in size, and this phenomenon is especially prominent among mountain glaciers, such as those found in Western Canada and Alaska. The Canadian Cordillera and Alaska are experiencing rapid mass loss. While glacier changes have historically occurred on a time scale of centuries, recent climate-driven changes in their mass and energy balances mean that changes in glacier area, volume and runoff are now occurring on a timescale of decades.
    This study aims to (i) document the spatio-temporal trends and patterns of glacier surface albedo and temperature in the Canadian Cordillera and Alaska, and (ii) evaluate physical parameters of the glaciers that experienced significant warming and darkening over the past 20 years and determine how BC deposition affects the albedo and surface temperature of snow and glacier ice surfaces across the region during the summer melt season.
    Results of the study indicate that over the last 21 years, significant decreases in albedo and/or significant increases in surface temperature across 83% of the glaciated area in the study region, suggest that most of the region’s glaciers are likely experiencing increasing rates of surface melting. We also found that in years with strongly significant negative surface albedo anomalies, most of the ice-covered areas had significant positive surface temperature anomalies (e.g. 2013-2019). Our findings demonstrate that the majority of the critical glaciers (warming and darkening over 21 years from 2000-2022) in the Canadian Rocky mountain area are small glaciers that are located at high elevation. Times of anomalous glacier surface albedo and temperature coincide with years of large forest fire activity, when majority of airflow trajectories suggest that they experienced forest fire aerosol deposition, which may influence regional patterns of glacier albedo and temperature change.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2024
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-v2qd-3721
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.