NASA Global Change Fellowship At McMurdo LTER

Network News Fall 1995, Vol. 18 No. 1
Network News

Glaciers are the primary source of water in the dry valleys of Antarctica, influencing numerous processes important to the lake, stream, and soil ecosystems. As part of the McMurdo Dry Valleys LTER (MCM) and a NASA Global Change Fellowship, and under the guidance of Drs. Robert Wharton, Jr. and Andrew Fountain, I am studying the seasonal and interannual trends of melting activity in dry valley glaciers of Antarctica by addressing these four questions:

  • What is the annual mass balance of the glaciers?
  • What are the important processes controlling mass gain/loss?
  • What is the energy balance of the glaciers? How is water routed on/in the glaciers?
  • How will changes in climate affect glacial melt patterns?

I am also using satellite data to answer some of these questions, and am participating in a joint NASA-LTER Network project to measure atmospheric properties at six LTER Sites using automated sun photometers. During the 1994-95 field season, I collected sun photometer data in Taylor Valley, Antarctica (see photo). At a June 1995 joint workshop held at the Network Office in Seattle, I learned more about processing and applications of such data. Participants will continue to collect data during 1995-96 and plan to meet with NASA next spring to implement incorporation of these data into LTER research activities.

Gayle L. Dana, 702/674-7538,