Study Shows Alaska Glacier Melt Contributing to Sea Level Rise

anthony_arendtA study in the Geophysical Research Letters found that over the past 19 years Alaska’s melting glaciers have sent 75 gigatons of water annually into the ocean. How much glacial melt is that? It’s a volume large enough to cover the state in over two feet of water. “Relative to other glacier-covered areas of the globe,” said eScience’s Anthony Arendt in an interview with CBS News concerning the study, “Alaska (glaciers) are losing mass rapidly.”

Arendt, one of the study’s authors, who is also Senior Research Scientist for University of Washington’s Polar Science Center, went on to say, “The reason [this] is important is because the models we have about climate into the future all agree that temperatures are going to rise in Alaska,” pointing out the sensitivity many of the coastal regions fisheries have to the increase of water in rivers and lakes. “Salmon spawning is very sensitive to the temperature of the water. So if we have an increase in the delivery of water to these areas, this might alter some of the salmon spawning patterns and effect fisheries.”

You can read the full CBS News article on the study, which includes additional comments by Arendt and his colleagues, here: