Recent Alpine Glacier Variability: Wind River Range, Wyoming, USA


Glacier area and volume changes were quantified through the use of historical aerial photographs in the Wind River Range, Wyoming. Forty-four glaciers in the Wind River Range were analyzed using orthorectified aerial photography from 2012. This is an update to the work of Thompson et al. [1] in which the surface area changes of the 44 glaciers were estimated from 1966 to 2006. The total surface area of the glaciers was estimated to be 27.8 ± 0.8 km2, a decrease of 39% from 1966 and a decrease of 2% from 2006. The 2012 volume changes for the 44 glaciers were estimated using the Bahr et al. [2] volume-area scaling technique. The total glacier volume in 2012 was calculated to be 1.01 ± 0.21 km3, a decrease of 63% from 1966. These results, once compared to temperature and snowpack trends, suggest that the downward trend in snowpack as well as increasing temperatures seem to be the most likely driver of the glacier recessions. With Global Circulation Models (GCMs) forecasting higher temperatures and lower precipitation in the western U.S., it is likely that glaciers will continue to recede.

glacier, remote sensing, climate, Geographic Information System (GIS), uncertainty
Maloof, A., Piburn, J., Tootle, G., Kerr, G. (2014): Recent Alpine Glacier Variability: Wind River Range, Wyoming, USA. Geosciences, 4(3).