Glaciers and climate of the Upper Susitna basin, Alaska

Extensive field observations were conducted in the Upper Susitna basin, a 13 289 km2 glacierized catchment in central Alaska in 2012–2014. This paper describes the comprehensive data set of meteorological, glacier mass balance, snow cover, and soil measurements, as well as the data collection and processing. Results are compared to similar observations from the 1980s. Environmental lapse rates measured with weather stations between about 1000 and 2000 m a.s.l. were significantly lower over the glaciers than the non-glacierized areas. Glacier-wide mass balances shifted from close to balanced in 1981–1983 to less than −1.5 m w.e. yr−1 in 2012–2014. Winter snow accumulation measured with ablation stakes on the glaciers closely matched observations from helicopter-borne radar. Soil temperature measurements across the basin showed that there was no permafrost in the upper 1 m of the soil column. The data produced by this study are available at: (Bliss et al.2019) and will be useful for hydrological and glaciological studies including modeling efforts.


Bliss, A., Hock, R., Wolken, G., Whorton, E., Aubry-Wake, C., Braun, J., Gusmeroli, A., Harrison, W., Hoffman, A., Liljedahl, A., and Zhang, J.. 2020. Glaciers and climate of the Upper Susitna basin, Alaska. Earth System Science Data. 12: 403-427. DOI: