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Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of Utah
  • Summer B Rupper
  • (801) 585-9167
  • Richard R Forster
  • Joerg M Schaefer
Award Date:05/16/2019
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 349,445
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 349,445
  • FY 2019=$349,445
Start Date:05/15/2019
End Date:10/31/2022
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.075
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:A Geospatial Analysis of Glacier Volume Change
Federal Award ID Number:1853881
DUNS ID:009095365
Parent DUNS ID:009095365
Program:Geography and Spatial Sciences
Program Officer:
  • Scott Freundschuh
  • (703) 292-7076

Awardee Location

Street:75 S 2000 E
County:Salt Lake City
Awardee Cong. District:02

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Utah
Street:75 S 2000 E
City:Salt Lake City
County:Salt Lake City
Cong. District:02

Abstract at Time of Award

This project will provide a data-driven, global assessment of glacier volume changes with objectively quantified uncertainties. Ocean thermal expansion (due to increasing ocean temperatures) and mountain glacier ice loss (due to increased glacier melt rates) have contributed most to global mean sea level rise (SLR) and are expected to continue to dominate SLR over at least the coming century. Unfortunately, the uncertainties in recent glacier contributions to SLR and current volume of glacier ice remain high due, in part, to limited data on glacier volume changes. The improved estimates of historical glacier changes and current glacier volume from this project will provide a critical step towards assessing changes in SLR, quantifying glacier sensitivity to environmental variability, and providing accurate projections of future SLR and its associated societal impacts. This project will involve undergraduate and graduate students and will also develop educational lab kits for K-12 classrooms. These kits will communicate the results of this research to school teachers and students, while simultaneously providing hands-on, real world, geographical and spatial science exercises. The proposed work will quantify regional glacier volume/mass changes over the past approximately 150 years to significantly improve the spatial and temporal estimates of glacier changes and the associated contributions to SLR. Investigators will include all mountain glaciers and ice caps across the globe in their analysis. The investigators will also quantify the current spatial distribution of volume of glacier ice using observations from the initial phase of the research to constrain a glacier model. This will be accomplished using a combination of techniques (automated cloud characterization schemes, NDSI, photogrammetry, photoclinometry) applied to a suite of remotely sensed data and historical imagery to map glacier area and volume changes over the past several decades. The investigators will use this information to constrain spatially-varying scale factors for a glacier volume-area scaling model. This work will extend back in time to the Little Ice Age (LIA) by compiling reliable moraine dates and maps, and automated mapping of LIA moraines. The volume of ice around the end of the LIA will be calculated, which will permit placing the spatial and temporal patterns in glacier volume change into context relevant to assess anthropogenic changes. These new glacier volume and volume change estimates will be used to estimate regional patterns of past and future contributions of glaciers to SLR and identify specific regions where glacier changes and contributions to future SLR are likely to be significant. Thus, this research project will focus on glacier contribution to SLR globally and will provide new insights estimating the impacts of SLR in many countries, including the United States. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Publications Produced as a Result of this Research

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Immerzeel, W. W. and Lutz, A. F. and Andrade, M. J. and Bahl, A. C. and Biemans, H. S. and Bolch, T. D. and Hyde, S. V. and Brumby, S. A. and Davies, B. H. and Elmore, A. B. and Emmer, A. E. and Feng, M. and Fernández, A. and Haritashya, U. and Kargel, J. "Importance and vulnerability of the world’s water towers" Nature, v.577, 2020, p.. doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1822-y Citation details  

Maurer, J. M. and Schaefer, J. M. and Rupper, S. and Corley, A. "Acceleration of ice loss across the Himalayas over the past 40 years" Science Advances, v.5, 2019, p.. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aav7266 Citation details  

Lund, Jewell R. and Forster, Richard B. and Rupper, Summer J. and Deeb, Elias P. and Marshall, H. Zia and Hashmi, Muhammad and Burgess, Evan "Mapping Snowmelt Progression in the Upper Indus Basin With Synthetic Aperture Radar" Frontiers in Earth Science, v.7, 2020, p.. doi:10.3389/feart.2019.00318 Citation details  

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