Drilling Into Retreating Alaskan Glaciers & Measuring Past Precipitation Levels

Deep inside Alaska's Denali National Park and Preserve is Ruth Glacier. With support from the National Science Foundation, University of Maine paleoclimatologist Karl Kreutz and his team are working to reconstruct the climate history of the glacial area over the last thousand years. They're researching the relationship between the temperatures and precipitation rates, and the response of glaciers in this area to climate changes. In 2013, the team drilled ice cores high atop Denali's Mount Hunter. By carefully analyzing ice layers inside the cores, the team is developing a record of temperature change in the Alaska Range over the last millennium. While the vast majority of glacier ice on our planet lies in Greenland and Antarctica, Kreutz says the glaciers in Alaska could also make a significant contribution to global sea level rise in the coming decades.