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Leif Anderson

Interannual variability and glacier length 2014/01/01 2015/12/31 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant DGE- 1144083 (GRFP)

Valley glacier moraines are commonly used to infer past mean annual precipitation and mean melt-season temperature. However, recent research has demonstrated that, even in steady climates, multi-decadal, kilometer-scale fluctuations in glacier length occur in response to stochastic, year-to-year variability in mass balance. When interpreting moraine sequences it is important to include the effect of interannual weather variability on glacier length; moraines record advances that are forced either by interannual variability or by a combination of climate change and interannual variability. Our hope is to help establish the metrics needed to determine if a past glacier advance was caused by interannual variability or a climate change.


  1. Assess the importance of year-to-year climate variability (weather) on glacier length in a variety of climate settings
  2. Create quantitative metrics to test if a glacier length change could be caused by weather variability.

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