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Fifty Years of Glacier Research in Alaska

Wolverine weather station collects weather data near the glacier to aid mass balance research, Sept. 6, 2014. Photo by Louis Sass, USGS. This year marks the 50th anniversary of one of the longest continuous glacier research efforts in North America. In 1966, the U.S. Geological Survey began measuring changes in mass and volume at Wolverine and Gulkana glaciers in Alaska as part of its Benchmark Glacier program. Alaska’s glaciers are important contributors to sea level rise, and also influence coastal ecosystems. These data serve as indicators of glacier health and help scientists understand how glaciers respond to a warming climate.

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