Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Lei Meng

Second Advisor

Dr. Lisa M. DeChano-Cook

Third Advisor

Dr. Yosef Mendelsohn


Alaska, climate, glacier, climate change, glacial retreat

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Glacial health in Alaska, USA is demonstrating an interannual declining trend. Repetitive years have suffered an imbalance between winter seasonal ice accumulation and summer seasonal ice loss. Increased ice loss has commonly been attributed to warmer Arctic summer temperatures, which contribute to greater calving events and amplified ablation. Study of the unique climatic influences by different variables is ongoing and at the forefront of climate-glacier interaction research.

This study is designed to quantitatively evaluate correlations between changes in Alaskan climatic patterns and an interannual trend of declining glacial health for Mendenhall Glacier by combining analysis of Landsat satellite imagery, teleconnection data for the Arctic Oscillation, the Southern Oscillation, and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, sea surface temperature anomalies, and Alaskan climatological data. Neither the expected significant relationship between glacier area loss and the Arctic Oscillation nor between glacier area loss and summer seasonal temperatures are reflected in the results of this analysis. However, the results of this study do suggest a significant correlation between Gulf of Alaska sea surface temperatures and glacier area loss along the southeastern coastline of Alaska, represented here by a specific look at Mendenhall Glacier.