glacier

Average Glacier Stake Heights and Snow Depths

Abstract: 

As part of the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) project in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica, a systematic sampling program has been undertaken to monitor mass balance and meltwater flow from the Taylor Valley glaciers. This data includes stake height and snow depth measurements to the surface of six glaciers (Canada, Commonwealth, Hughes, Suess, Howard and Taylor) in Taylor Valley, McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. Monitoring the changes in these measurements over time provides a record of mass balance, and aids in determining the role of glaciers in the polar hydrologic cycle.

Additional Project roles: 

407
408
133
137
409
410
411

Data set ID: 

2008

Short name: 

avglstk

Purpose: 

The goal of each summer season is to take measurements in early spring (Oct/Nov) and late summer (late January). This provides a measure of seasonal winter/summer changes of glacier mass.

Methods: 

2014-15 SEASONAL NOTES by Adam Wlostovski
 
Canada Glacier
 
Canada Glacier ablation stakes, notebook copy
 
11/17/2014 - Upper Canada stake measurements made with Rene N. Hiked up from LH around 0930, returned around 15:00
 
#41c: 138.0, 138.4, 138.0, 138.0 cm
crusty, wind blow snow accumulated locally around the stake
snow depth approximately 8cm, but only too a single depth measurement
snow is tough and crusty, uniform composition throughout
single density measurement in middle of pack: 0.34 g/cm^3
 
#41b: 163.1, 162, 163.6, 163.7 cm
ice surface, no snow immediately at the base of the stake. However wind-blown snow crusts are near and around the stake area. Ice surface slopes gently E-W
 
#42: 153.4, 153.5, 153.2, 153.1 cm
ice surface, no snow
 
#43: 129.3, 129.3, 129.8, 129.7 cm
ice surface, no snow
 
#44: 113.7, 113.7, 113.8, 113.8 cm
wind crusted snow at stake base
snow depth - 6.5 cm, but only one depth measurement was made
snow density = 0.28 g/cm^3, only one sample taken, uniform composition throughout pack
 
#45: 132.1, 132.3, 132.5, 132.5 cm
thin wind crust of snow around stake, but not immediately at base
depth of snow around base place: 2, 1.3, 2.0, 0 cm
no snow density measurement made, but estimated at 0.28 g/cm^3
 
#46: 133.7 133.5 134.3 134.5 cm
wind blow, crusty snow around base of stake
depth of snow around baseplate: 5.7, 4.4, 5.4, 1 cm
pit dug north of stake to a depth of 5.8 cm
snow density = 0.22 g/cm^3, only room for one density sample, uniform composition of pack
 
#47: 165.4, 165.6, 165.9, 165.6 cm
ice surface, no snow
** need to insert a new stake in January
 
#48 (older): 178.7, 178.5, 178.7, 178.8 cm
snow around base of stake, wind blown crust
depth of snow measured around baseplate: 18.4, 14, 13.5, 18 cm
snow pit dug. Total pit depth 18.3 cm. 0 cm @ ice surface, 18.3 cm @ top of pit
18.3 - 17 cm: unconsolidated sugary snow, not enough for density measurement, estimated to be 0.2 g/cm^3. 17.3 - 0 cm: uniform snow consistency and texture, density measurement made, density = 0.27 g/cm^3
the rather deep snow accumulation here on an east facing slope, uniform consistency, no apparent layering indicates accumulation during a single wind event frome the west. 
 
#48 (newly inserted): 139.6, 139.6, 139.4, 139.5 cm
ice surface, no snow immediately at base of stake, but wind blown snow is noted in the area
 
#49: 205.9, 205.5, 205.7, 205.7 cm
no snow at stake location, but board was placed within a large cryoconite hole
depth from lip of croconite hole to frozen bottom: 5.2, 3.8, 5.8, 6,0 cm
** needs to be replaced during next vist!!
 
#50: 162.2, 162.0, 162.9, 162.8 cm
ice surface, no snow
 
#51: 191, 190.5, 190.8, 191.2 cm
stake is in a melt hole, so the board was positioned on top of the hole lying on the edges
depth from hole edges to bottom: 14, 15.5, 11.3 cm
** needs to be replaced during next vist!!
 
11/19/2014 - Lower portion of the Canada Glacier with Rene Nefke and Alasdair Turner
Sunny, clear skies, very beautiful day
 
#52: 191.9, 192.3, 192.9, 192.4 cm
snow depth: 0.8 cm of freshly fallen snow, density estimated at 0.15 g/cm^3
 
#53D: 201.8, 201.9, 201.8, 202.1 cm
plate divit: 0.2, 0.3, 0.1, 0 cm
snow depth 1, 0.8, 0.6, 0.5 cm
freshly fallen snow, estimated density 0.15 g/cm^3
 
#53E (newly inserted): 120.3, 120.7, 120.8, 120.8 
 
#54E: 139.0, 138.6, 138.5, 139.0 cm
snow depth: 0.5, 0.4, 0.5, 0.5 cm
freshly fallen snow, estimated density 0.15 g/cm^3
plate divit - no remarks noted. 
 
#55E: 127.5, 128.5, 127.9, 127.5 cm
plate divit: 0.3, 0.3, 0, 0 cm
snow depth 0.3, 0.7, 0.5, 0.5 cm
freshly fallen snow, estimated density 0.15 g/cm^3
stake located in a melt channel that seems to drain towards Green Creek
 
#65E: 224.2, 223.9, 224.4, 224.3 cm
plate divit: 0.3, 0.1, 0, 0 cm
snow depth: 0.7, 0.6, 0.2, 0.2 cm
freshly fallen snow, estimated density 0.15 g/cm^3
 
#65F: 27.1, 27.3, 27.5, 27.2 cm
plate divit 0, 0, 0, 0 cm
snow depth: 0.3, 0.6, 0.2, 0.2 cm
freshly fallen snow, estimated density 0.15 g/cm^3
 
#56F: 209.9, 210.2, 210.5, 210.0 cm
plate divit: 0.2, 0, 0, 0 cm
snow depth: 1.1, 0.8, 1.1, 0.6 cm
snow material - no comment made, but assume freshly fallen snow
 
#56E: 52.7, 52.7, 52.9, 53.1 cm
snow depth; 0.9, 1, 0.9, 0.9 
plate divit: none
* board is not on level surface, but rather lying 7cm from the ice-stake transition. So, the board wad definitely not lying directly on the snow. How to account for this?
 
#64E: 59.9, 59.8, 59.8, 59.9 cm
board divit 0.2, 0, 0, 0 cm
snow depth 0.5, 0.4, 0.5, 0.2
freshly fallen snow, density estimated 0.15 g/cm^3
 
Commonwealth
 
Commonwealth Glacier ablation stake measurements - November 2014
 
11/18/2014 - Accumulation zone with Alisdair Turner (MCM FSTP)
 
#13C (shorter stake) - 17.1, 18, 17.9, 17.2 cm
#13A (?) (longer, broken stake): 64.6, 64.3, 64.5, 64.3
snow pit - surface @ 45cm, bottom @ 20cm
wind-blown crusted snow at surface
43.33.5 - unconsolidated sugar, density = 0.23 g/cm^3
33.5 - 28.0 hard slab, density = 0.23 g/cm^3
28 - bottom tough slab, density = 0.3 g/cm^3
 
#23B: 145.7, 145.8, 145.5, 145.0 cm
plate divit: 0.5, 0.2, 0.1, 0 cm
surface faceted crystals present on solid, crusty surface snow
snow pit - surface @ 35.3, bottom @ 0 cm
35.3 - 35 - surface facets, estimated density = 0.15 g/cm^3
35- 23 very tough, density >0.32 g/cm^3 (incomplete sample)
23 - 0 loose sugar, density = 0.28 g/cm^3
 
#22D: 28.9, 29.0, 28.8, 29.0 cm
plate divit: 0.7, 0, 0, 0 cm
snow pit - surface @ 35 cm, bottom @ 2cm
35-34 - surface faceting, density estimated @ 0.15 g/cm^3
24-30.5 - tough slab, density = 0.35 g/cm^3
30.5-14.5 - wind blown snow, not as tough as layer above, density = 0.29 g/cm^3
14.5-2 - tough slab, density = 0.26 g/cm^3
 
#20B: 28.9, 29.0, 29.3, 28.9 cm
#20C: 124.1, 123.8, 123.7, 124.2 cm
snow pit - surface @ 47cm, bottom @ 13 cm
46.7 - 47 surface facets, density estimated at 0.15 g/cm^3
46.7 - 36 tough layer, density = 0.27 g/cm^3
36 - 33 tough layer, density not measured
33 - 13 loose sugar, density = 0.26 g/cm^3
 
#21E: 171.5, 170.9, 171.0, 171.6 cm
plate divit: 0.1, 0, 0, 0 cm
snow pit - surface @19.8 cm, bottom at 58 cm
only one continuous layer was observed thoughout, density = 0.28 g/cm^3
* #21D was not observed, must have been buried 
 
#19C: 55.9, 56.2, 56.3, 56.2 cm
very crusty, smooth, wind blown surface
snow pit - top @ 51cm, bottom @ 21 cm
51-50 - surface facets, density estimated @ 0.15 g/cm^3
50-44 - very tough layer, density = 0.29 g/cm^3
44-37 - consolidated sugar, density = 0.28 g/cm^3
37-21 - unconsolidated sugar, density = 0.25 g/cm^3
 
#18C: 58.5, 58.4, 58.8, 58.6 cm
plate divot - 0.2, 0.2, 0, 0 cm
snow pit - surface @ 18cm, bottom @ 1cm
18-15.5 surface crust, density = 0.29 g/cm^3
15.5-8 consolidated sugar, density = 0.32 g/cm^3
8-7.5 crust, no density measurement
7.5-1 consolidated sugar, density = 0.26 g/cm^3
 
#17B: 112.1, 112.4, 112.7, 112.1 cm
snow pit - surface @67.5 bottom @ 39 cm
67.5-59 medium consilidated sugar, density = 0.23
59-51 tough slab, density = 0.35 g/cm^3
51-39 loosely consolidated sugar, density = 0.23 g/cm^3
 
#15: 57.5, 57.6, 57.7, 57.5 cm
snow pit, top @ 29.5, bottom @ 0 cm
29.5-28.5 surface facets, density estimated at 0.15 g/cm^3
28.5-25 tough slab, density not measured
25-17 consolidated sugar, density = 0.24
17-6.5 poorly consolidated sugar, density = 0.19 g/cm^3
6.5-0 consolidated sugar, density not measured. 
 
#14: 164.6, 164.9, 164.6, 164.3 cm
ice surface, windblown crust in region of stake, but not immediately at stake bottom
 
#12: 58.6, 58.6, 58.7, 58.7 cm
ice surface, some wind blown snow around stake but not immedately at stake bottom
 
11/20/2014 - Ablation zone with Alasdair Turner. Cloudy, cold (-18 C), and windy (25 mph, up valley) at the beginning of the day (started at 09:30). Clouds broke and sun came out by 11:30 or 12:00. 
 
#11B (older): 207.2, 206.8, 206.0, 206.4 cm
plate divit: 0.5, 0.3, 0.3, 0 cm
snow depth: 4, 4.7, 3, 3 cm
snow pit dug north of stake, depth of pit = 10cm, all a single layer of windblown crusty fragmented snow
density = 0.33 g/cm^3
 
#11C: 89.9, 90.1, 90.3, 90.1 cm
plate divit: 0, 0.2, 0.5, 0.4 cm
snow depth: 10.5, 16.0, 8.7, 8.4 cm
snow pit: top @ 12 cm, bottom @ 0cm
12-5.5, density = 0.27 g/cm^3
5.5-0, density = 0.21 g/cm^3
 
#10C: 93.5, 94.0, 93.5, 93.4 cm
plate divit: 0, 0.3, 0.2, 0.2 cm
ice surface is sloped from N - S
snow depth: 0.3, 0.5, 0.5, 2.4 cm - surface hoar crystals
density estimate - 0.1 g/cm^3
 
#10B: 204.2, 204.2, 203.6, 204.2 cm
snow depth: 1.4, 0.2, 0.2, 0.3 cm - surface hoar crystals
plate divit 0.3, 0, 0, 0 cm
ice surface slopes from W - E
 
#9B: 215.1, 215.9, 216.3, 215.0 cm
plate divit: 0.4, 0, 0, 0 cm
snow depth: 0.4, 0.5, 0, 0 cm - surface hoar crystals
 
#9C (newly installed!): 120.8, 120.8, 121.0, 120.9
located aprox 30m upslope of #9B
no snow depth measurements because snow was disturbed during drilling, however a fine layer of surface hoar crystals was observed prior to the onset of drilling. 
 
#6: 91.4, 91.7, 91.6, 91.4 cm
plate divit: 0.4, 0.3, 0.7, 0 cm
snow depth: 11.5, 19.1, 17.5, 23.5 cm
snow pit: surface @ 9.5 cm, bottom at 0 cm
all a single layer, density = 0.32 g/cm^3
tough layer, rounded edges of grains indicate pervious melting, thin layer of surface hoar at the top. 
 
#78: 103.4, 103.5, 103.4, 103.3 cm
plate divit: 0.5, 0, 0, 0.1 cm
snow depth: 1, 0.5, 0.4, 0.2 cm - surface hoar crystals
 
#8: 88.0, 88.2, 88.0, 87.8 cm
plate divit: none
snow depth: 0.5, 0.4, 0.3, 0 cm - surface hoar crystals
 
#7: 107.5 107.6, 107.6, 107.5 cm
plate divit 0.1, 0, 0, 0 cm
snow depth: 0.2 0.2, 0, 0 cm - surface hoar crystals
surface is mostly blue ice
 
#77: 126.4, 126.5, 126.5, 126.4 cm
no snow present, only blue ice
 
#5: 116.5, 116.0, 115.5, 116.0 cm
plate divit: 0, 0, 0, 0.3 cm
snow depth: 0.2, 0.5, 0.4, 0.2 cm - surface hoar crystals
 
Howard Glacier
 
Howard Glacier mass balance stake heights 
November 2014
 
11/21/2014 with Alasdair Turner
clear skies, very sunny, little wind, -10 C
 
#26: 110.5, 110.6, 110.4, 110.2 cm
plate divit: 1, 1.5, 1.5, 1.0 cm
snow pit: top @ 50 cm, bottom @ 20 cm
50-48 surface facets and hoar crystals
48-45 dense tough crusty layer, density = 0.27 g/cm^3
45-42 loose sugar, density = 0.16 g/cm^3
42-39 hard crust, density = 0.27 g/cm^3
39-33 loose sugar, density not measured
 
#25D: 141.3, 141.3, 141.4, 141.7 cm
plate divit: 0.5, 1.0, 0.5, 1.6 cm
snow pit top @ 8.5 cm, bottom at 0 cm
* only able to dig 8.5 cm snow pit before hitting an icy layer, which we were unable to penetrate with the shovel
8.5-7.0 surface facets and hoar crystals
7-0 super dense crust, density = 0.38 g/cm^3
 
#25C: 23.1, 23.0, 23.0, 22.9 cm
plate divit: 1.0, 0.5, 0.3, 0.5
 
#24B: 97.8, 98.2, 98.2, 98.0 cm
plate divit: 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 1.0 cm
snow pit, top @ 16 cm, bottom @ 0 cm
16-14.5 surface facets and hoar crystals
14.5-7.5 very tough wind blown snow, density not sampled b/c too tough, estimate 0.38
7.5-0 loose sugar melt forms, density = 0.32 g/cm^3
 
#57A: 112.1, 112.0, 111.6, 111.4 cm
plate divit: 1.1, 0.9, 1.1, 0 cm
snow pit: top @ 11 cm, bottom @ 0 cm
11-8.5 surface facets and hoar crystals
8.5-6.5 lightly consolidated wind layer
combined dnesity of above layers = 0.27 g/cm^3
6.5-3.5 dense tough wind layer, density = 0.39 g/cm^3
3.5-0 light, loose sugar, density = 0.23 g/cm^4
 
#27A: 184.0, 183.9, 183.4, 184.0 cm
plate divit: 0.2, 0.5, 0, 0 cm
snow depths; 1, 1, 1, 2.5 cm
loose surface facets and hoar crystals
stake located within the ice snow transition zone
** beware, Alasdair considers this stake to be in a crevassed zone ** 
 
#28B: 103.9, 103.9, 104.0, 104.0 cm
plate divit: 0.5, 0.5, 0.5, 0.2 cm
snow depth: 1, 1, 1, 1 cm
loose surface facets and hoar crystals, estimate density as 0.1 g/cm^3
 
#29B: 106.8, 106.8, 107.2, 107.1 cm
plate divit 0.2, 0, 0, 0 cm
snow depth: 1, 0.8, 1, 0.5 cm
loose surface facets and hoar crystals, estimate density as 0.1 g/cm^3
 
#30B: 124.5, 125.1, 124.4, 124.9 cm
plate divit 0.2, 0.2, 0.2, 0.2 cm
snow depth: 1, 1, 1, 1 cm
loose, wind transported fragmented snow
 
#31D: 220.5, 221.0, 221.2, 222.1 cm
plate divit: 1, 0.5, 0.5, 0 cm
snow depth: 1, 0.5, 1, 1 cm
loose surface facets and hoar crystals, estimate density as 0.1 g/cm^3
 
#31E (newly inserted): 113.9, 113.4, 113.2, 113.8 cm 
newly installed stake, no snow depths taken because site was disturbed during drilling. However, the snow present before drilling was similar to that at 31D
 
#33C: 146.3, 145.9, 146.6, 147.2 cm
plate divit: 0.7, 0.5, 0.5, 0 cm
snow depths: 5.8, 2.5, 1, 1 cm
loose, wind transported fragmented snow
 
#34D: 61.0, 58.7, 61.0, 61.4 cm
plate divit: 0.5, 0, 0, 0.5 cm
snow depth: 0.7, 0.5, 0.7, 0.5 cm
 
#32D: 148.0, 148.0, 148.1, 148.1 cm
plate divit: 0, 0, 0.1, 0
snow depth: 0.5, 0.5, 0.5, 0.7 cm
loose, wind blown fragments and hoar crystals
 
Taylor Glacier
 
Taylor Glacier mass balance stake observations</span></p>
 
November 2014
 
11/22/2014 with Alasdair Turner, dropped off by Paul Murphy
mostly clear skies, some high sirrus clouds, sunny, little wind down valley (12 knots), -10 C
 
#88D (newly inserted): 126.2, 126.2, 126.0, 125.9 cm
no divit, blue ice surface, no appreciable amount of snow
did not measure 88C as it was too bent to be worthwhile. We measured this stake last year, but never used it to inform the model. 
 
 
** note, there was some minor snow accumulation at all sites within the wind formed micro-topography of the glacier surface. This snow was sugary and very mobile in the wind. Never accumulated enough to affect the position of the baseplate on the glacier surface. 
 
#87C: 191.4, 191.6, 191.5, 191.3 cm
no divit, blue ice surface, little blown snow
** replace Jan 15
 
#86C: 159.0, 158.9, 159.3, 159.1 cm
no divit, blue ice surface
 
#85C: found this stake, which we did not find in January. The stake was melted-in and nearly completely lying on its side. We removed it from the ice and returned it to camp
 
#85D (newly inserted): 119.4, 119.4, 120.2, 120.0 cm
no plate divit, blue ice surface 
 
#83E: 71.5, 71.7, 71.6, 71.6 cm
no plate divit, blue ice surface
 
#84D: 121.6, 121.6, 121.7, 121.5 cm
no plate divit, blue ice surface
 
#82E: stake not found. Last November (2013) this stake was on the cliff of a drainage channel. The stake was likely lost into the channel. Should we replace this site? Let M. Gooseff decide. 
 

Data sources: 

COM_AVGLSTK
HOW_AVGLSTK
SUES_AVGLSTK
CAN_AVGLSTK
HUGH_AVGLSTK
TAY_AVGLSTK

Maintenance: 

Data for the original stake height and snow depth measurements, as well as the averages and standard deviations was submitted by Andrew G. Fountain to the data manager in August, 1997.

The column showing "file name" identifies the original file containing that record. These provenance ascii text files and can be found by the data manager's office. Once submitted to INSTAAR, the data manager used Microsoft Excel and Access software to produce files that were in more of a relational mode. Information was assigned to different files according to type of data it dealt with.

Separate files were generated for: 
* stake height replications, 
* snow depth replications, and 
* averages/standard deviations calculated from stake height and snow depth replications.

In March, 2000, Thomas Nylen submitted data from the 1997-98, 1998-99 and 1999-2000 seasons. Instead of lumping all of the stake height and snow depth values for each glacier under one file, they were separated into files for each glacier. Metadata fields were also updated at this time.

In April, 2000, Denise Steigerwald added fields for dataset code and glstkid. Dataset code would allow the data to be linked to the metadata in a relational database. Glstkid is a code that ties stake records to points on a GIS base map being developed by Michael Prentice at the University of New Hampshire. In addition, Denise divided the 'stake' field to 'stake' and 'stk replcmnt' values. The 'stake' value is an ID for a stake in a given location over time, while the 'stk replcmnt' value shows whether the stake is the original
(A), the first replacement stake installed
(B), the second stake installed
(C), and so forth. (Melting on the glacier over time makes installation of replacement stakes necessary.) Since the replacement value is only relevant for the stake heights and snow depths datasets, division of the 'stake' value into separate fields made it more straightforward for grouping data across different datasets (eg. stake heights and snow densities).
Metadata was shared in standardized format in 2006, prepared with the help of Chris Gardner and Inigo San Gil.
In 2014, metadata was revamped and presented in a friendlier manner using the Drupal Ecological Information Management System on 2015

Additional information: 

                
In some circumstances we have the opportunity or need to measure the glaciers in mid-season (Dec). 
                
View the dates the measurements were made at the following URL: http://mcmlter.lternet.edu/data/glaciers/timing/stkdates.pdf
            

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