Title

Measuring Snowmelt Change in Olympic National Park

Presenter Information

Matthew CanningFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Environmental Science

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Robin Zhang, PhD

Presentation Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Description

Glaciers play an integral role in Earth’s climate and the global environment. As average temperatures on Earth begin to rise with the increase in human activity, the glaciers begin to retreat, as the snowfall can’t replace the amount of ice that is melting or the snow melts before it can begin the long process of compacting into ice. Observing glaciers and their snowfall allows us to understand how much the Earth’s climate is changing and see its early impacts. One of the ways we observe these processes is observing the snowfall on glaciers, as an increase or decrease in the amount of snow precipitation and the amount of snow residing on glaciers at different points in time can shed light on the dynamics of the glaciers in a region. Focusing on the region around Mount Olympus in Olympic National Park in Washington state, I gathered imagery from USGS Earth Explorer for summer and winter of two years roughly ten years apart, and analyzed how much snow was on the mountain during these times. Using Erdas Imagine, I created a model for the NDSI, Normalized Difference Snow Index, to focus on pixels that contain snow, and then calculated how much area that snow covered. This showed how much the snow cover changed between seasons during different times of human activity.

Fall Scholars Week 2019 Event

Earth and Environmental Sciences Poster Session

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Measuring Snowmelt Change in Olympic National Park

Glaciers play an integral role in Earth’s climate and the global environment. As average temperatures on Earth begin to rise with the increase in human activity, the glaciers begin to retreat, as the snowfall can’t replace the amount of ice that is melting or the snow melts before it can begin the long process of compacting into ice. Observing glaciers and their snowfall allows us to understand how much the Earth’s climate is changing and see its early impacts. One of the ways we observe these processes is observing the snowfall on glaciers, as an increase or decrease in the amount of snow precipitation and the amount of snow residing on glaciers at different points in time can shed light on the dynamics of the glaciers in a region. Focusing on the region around Mount Olympus in Olympic National Park in Washington state, I gathered imagery from USGS Earth Explorer for summer and winter of two years roughly ten years apart, and analyzed how much snow was on the mountain during these times. Using Erdas Imagine, I created a model for the NDSI, Normalized Difference Snow Index, to focus on pixels that contain snow, and then calculated how much area that snow covered. This showed how much the snow cover changed between seasons during different times of human activity.