NSF funds Appalachian research of ‘Changing Glacier Dynamics at Athabasca Glacier’ (Photo of glacier courtesy of National Science Foundation.)

Appalachian State University’s Dr. William Armstrong has received more than a quarter million in funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to complete a three-year research project titled “A Half Century of Changing Glacier Dynamics at Athabasca Glacier.”

“As glaciers and ice sheets decay in a warming climate, water previously stored as land ice is transferred to other reservoirs, affecting downstream habitat quality and the rate of sea level rise. Accurate prediction of glacier change requires a complete understanding of the controls on glacier motion,” said Armstrong, who is a visiting assistant professor in Appalachian’s Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences.

He said the project will take Appalachian undergraduates and faculty to the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park to leverage a long-term dataset that investigates how the basal motion of the Athabasca Glacier has evolved over the past half century. The glacier has thinned by 20 percent and retreated by half a kilometer over the past half century, he added.

For the project, Armstrong is collaborating with Dr. Martin Truffer, professor in the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, as well as junior geology major Hannah Field, of Pisgah Forest, and Anthony Hengst, a senior geology and mathematics double major from Palm Harbor, Florida.

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Originally published Nov. 20, 2018.

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