Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ski Bowl New Years

This year for New Years Emily and I were invited to a Cabin in Brightwood, OR that Aaron’s friend Adam
put together for everyone. I had to wait until Emily got out of work so I went to work myself for most of the day, leaving at 4pm to go home and get ready for the two nights we planned to stay there. I had heard on the radio that Timberline was supposed to get nearly 2 feet of fresh powder throughout the day on Thursday so I was stoked but at the same time bummed that I didn’t have my powder skis mounted. Man, the weather man sure f’d up this time!
Emily arrived at the Cabin at 8pm to a steady downpour of rain. We heard from the 10 other people in the cabin that it was raining at Ski Bowl as well and had been all day. After a couple beers we convinced the crew that we needed to head up to SkiBowl around 10pm for the fireworks later in the evening. I drove along with Dennis with a packed vanigan of hooligans. We pre-gamed in the parking lot for a little bit then Amy, Emily, Hartz, and I hit the slopes sneaking Brad up to Upper Bowl with us. We took a bunch of runs in very wet mash potato snow that sucked and then headed down to the
warming hut for the fireworks that were definitely cool to see from above. We then went into the warming hut for a beer to relax before taking a final run. When we got down to the beer stub below we met up with the others and had another quick drink before returning down the road to the cabin and heading to bed shortly after
arriving because it was nearly 3am.
The next morning we woke up and and pancakes and bacon were cooked to much to our delight. We hung out for a bit before Hartz and others took off for a backcountry trip for the afternoon. Emily and I had not brought our skins so we decided to take a drive up to Timberline to check out all the supposed powder they got. Nope... no new snow... well maybe half an inch. After a few quick runs we decided to head back to Corvegas
instead of crashing at the cabin again in sleeping bags on the floor to save the cash. New Years was a great time with good friends but the snowpack this year in the Northwest is quickly becoming dissapointing... especially after buying big powder skis for the season.. go figure!

Monday, December 28, 2009

D'Agata, 2007. Reconstructing debris-covered glacier change using indirect sources

Carlo D'Agata, A. Z. (2007). "Reconstruction of the recent changes of a debris-covered glacier (Brenva Glacier, Mount Blanc Massif, Italy) using indirect sources: Methods, results and validation."Global and Planetary Change 56: 57-68.

The author used DEM’s derived from historical maps dating back to 1959 as well as photogrammetric surveys done in 1991 and 1997 to compare changes in the volume and thickness of the glacier tongue during the 2nd half of the 20th century.

- These were composed of four digitized maps and two aerial stereo-pairs covering intervals of about 10 years from 1959 to 2003 (decadal scale seems popular in papers).

-The DEM’s were derived from digitized historical maps.

-What are “delaciation” and macro-gelivation processes? (First paragraph after abstract).

-The tongue of the Brenva glacier has become completely separated from the upper accumulation basin.

From the description of the methods they used it seemed like they used good logic to overcome the gcp’s for the 1997 orthophoto but I feel like the varying resolutions of the historic maps and the way they interpreted those could have introduced some error.

-Getting past the very hard to see lines they describe in the surface elevation figures it was interesting to note that the glacier tongue was growing until 1991 then dramatically shrank in distance and retreated to higher elevation by 1997 and continued to do so through 2003. I wonder what the big difference was?

-But, the cross profile shows 2003 had the longest distance contradicting the longitudinal profile.

In the discussion the paper talks about the tongue thickening and expanding and contracting in distance, but I’m a little confused.. are they talking about the thickness of the ice or the debris or the debris and ice? Perhaps there were several rock slides during the time to add to the thickness?

Overall the paper cites an increase in average thickness over the years 1959 to 2003. They say that the results vary greatly from other results using the same methods on other Italian debris free glaciers which they say must be explained by the insulating effect of the debris.

If it is thicker than the “critical value” the debris reduces ice ablation… and they site Ostrem 1959, Fuji 1977, and Mattson 1993, and Rana 1997… what is this critical value they are talking about and how is it obtained?

-They do admit that using two different reconstruction techniques may have introduced errors but they also noted others studies showing growth in volume of other Italian debris-covered glaciers.

-The paper then goes into several pages of describing how they accounted for DEM accuracy using several equations but I don’t think this will apply to my work because I’m using LiDar as a base from Watershed which I know is accurate.

-Perhaps I can find DEM’s of the years I pick for each mountain.. or close to it to help calculate volume changes.

-Haha! I was right! At the end of the paper they discuss how the large volume increase from 1997 to 2003 doesn’t match with global warming trends during that time and high temps in 2003 so they propose it could have been linked to a large avalanche in 1997 in the area… But these are just hypotheses… that need to be tested.

They conclude by saying that using indirect sources such as DEM’s derived from old maps and Orthophotos will become increasingly important with remotely sensed data taking a supporting role. Perhaps I can do the opposite with my research and try to incorporate some indirect sources as well into my final analysis as support.

This was a very interesting paper. I will try to find various DEM’s for both Hood and Rainier so that perhaps I can use some indirect sources in my analysis as well to help support what I find from the Landsat Data analysis.

Papers of interest Cited

D'Agata, C., Smiraglia, C., Zanutta, A., Mancini, F., 2005. The recent variations of a debris covered glacier (Brenva Glacier) in the Italian Alps monitored with the comparisons of maps and digital othophotos. Journal of Glaciology 52, 183–185.

Florinsky, I.V., 1998. Accuracy of local topographic variables derived fom digital elevation models. International Journal of Geographical Information Science 12 (1), 47–62.

Rana, B., Nakawo, M., Fukushima, Y., Ageta, Y., 1997. Application of a conceptual precipitation–run off model in the debris-covered glaciarized basin of Langtang Valley, Nepal Himalaya. Annals of Glaciology 25, 226–231.

Kaab, 2007. Climate change impacts on mountain glaciers and Permafrost

A. Kaab, M. C., B. Raup, C. Schneider (2007). "Climate change impacts on mountain glaciers and permafrost." Global and Planetary Change 56: 7-9.

-IPCC formally recognizes glaciers as the best terrestrial indicator of climate change.

-Permafrost reacts in a much delayed and attenuated way to climate change compared to glaciers.

This paper was a very brief editorial. I may reference a few things out of it for my paper.

Papers of interest Cited

Chiarle, M., Iannotti, S., Mortara, G., Deline, P., 2007. Recent debris flow occurrences associated with glaciers in the Alps. Global and Planetary Change 56, 123–136. doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2006.07.003.

Kargel, J., et al., 2005. Multispectral imaging contributions to global land ice measurements from space. Remote Sensing of Environment 99 (1–2), 187–219.

Paul, F., Kääb, A., Haeberli, W., 2007. Recent glacier changes in the Alps observed by satellite: consequences for future monitoring strategies. Global and Planetary Change 56, 111–122. doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2006.07.007.

Coudrain, 2005. Glacier Shrinkage & Water Resources in the Andes

Anne Coudrain, B. F., Zbigniew W. Kundzewicz (2005). "Glacier shrinkage in the Andes and consequences for water resources - Editorial." Hydrological Sciences50(6): 925-932.

-For a typical mid-latitude glacier, a 1 C temp rise would have the same effect as much greater decreases in cloudiness (30%) or precipitation (25%).

-Glaciers advanced in the 1990’s due to enhanced precip in Norway from a large positive phase of NAO but recently have been shrinking.

-Andes experience ablation throughout the year in their lower regions unlike pacific northwest volcanoes.

-Glacier mass balance is strongly controlled by climate variability at decadal time scales – driven by ENSO.

-Energy balance investigations show that melt is primarily from net radiation (fraction of incident solar radiation absorbed by the glacier) – why albedo is so essential.

-Glaciers store 69.9% of the world’s freshwater (nearly 25 million km3). For mid and low latitude regions the equivalent water volume of the glacial ice is 0.2 million km3, which is over 100 times more than that of the rivers .0017km3.

-The mean global sojourn time of a water particle in a mountain glacier is of the order of 1600 years.

-This all may lead to water shortages in the future.

Most of this paper dealt with the Andes but it had some good facts about water resources stored in the world’s glaciers I noted above. No real questions for this paper. It was pretty straightforward.

Papers of Interest from article

L’Hôte, Y., Chevallier, P., Coudrain, A., Lejeune, Y. & Etchevers, P. (2005) Relationship between precipitation phase and air temperature: comparison between the Bolivian Andes and the Swiss Alps. Hydrol. Sci. J. 50(6), 989–997 (this


Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas time again with the Riggott family but this time my mom was invited along for the shinanigans and good times! Emily and I flew out of PDX through Chicago to Boston narrowly missing several major storms across the country but as usual our luggage was left behind at Chicago, AKA Shit-ago, the worst airport in existance. When we got to Boston Emily’s friend Amy picked us up with her fiance. Instead of driving all the way back to their place in
Brighton we instead drove down the road to a nearby Hyatt hotel for some brunch. Emily had gotten a few hours of sleep on our uncomfortable red-eye flight but I only had about an hour so was looking for some food and more importantly coffee! When we sat down we discovered scrambled eggs were about $15 on the menu so we got a couple cups of coffee which they gave us nicely on the house and then took off. I think our server understood we had made a mistake coming to that dining room! So... instead we went to a different fancy restaurant for breakfast - IHOP! After a delicious breakfast we headed back to Brighton to chill at their apartment for a few hours until Emily’s brother Chris from Portland, ME could pick us up and bring us up there for a visit. We felt bad that Amy’s fiance had dropped his blackberry case at the airport picking us up.. :( After a couple hours of watching “Cribs” and “Jersey Shore” (worst people on the planet on that show) they took off to look at some wedding locations nearby and Chris picked us up and brought us up to
Portland, picking up our found luggage at Logan Airport on the way.
I hadn’t been to Portland, ME for almost 5 years and it certainly brought back a lot of memories of visiting there during my days at Bowdoin College just an hour to the north in Brunswick, ME. We hung out for a little bit then decided to walk downtown and get some spicy lobster pizza at the famous Flatbread Company right on the waterfront. The pizza was fantastic and Emily really liked her blueberry microbrew beer. It was pretty cold out and Emily
had forgotten to take her down jacket home so we called a cab for the quick ride back to Julia’s place (which, funny to us, was just a block from Chris’ place and they had been dating for years). When we got back we were full with food coma so we popped in a cheesy chick flick called Julie & Julia about Julia child which quickly put us all to sleep. In the morning we got up and got bowls of lobster stew at Linda Beans on Exchange street. We then picked up some $6/lb lobsters at a seafood shop on the waterfront to bring back as a surprise for Emily’s parents before heading out of town with Chris on the 3hr drive through a light snow storm to meet up with Emily’s parents outside of Boston. On the ride down we heard from Chris that he was going to propose to Julia on Tuesday! We could tell he was nervous but we both were super excited for him. We met her parents and all got some chinese food for dinner at the exit we got off at. When we got back to her parents we just sat around and chatted for a while before hitting the sac.

It is always so nice to be able to sleep in at her parents house. We slept nearly till noon before meeting up with her mom who had already been to work all morning to go last-minute Christmas shopping. We were out all afternoon shopping and I found my mom a great book about how to write her memoirs and Ellie a photo frame to hold a bunch of photos of her I together. Emily’s dad was having issues installing a big boiler at a residence so we weren’t able to actually eat the lobsters until about 9pm but when we did I was freaking out. I never get to eat lobster in the Northwest it seemed so I literally devoured them. I ate all 4 lobster bodies and scooped out the inards and ate them too and even had part of her dad’s tail he didn’t want and a claw from her mom she didn’t want. It was a super rare occasion where I can actually say I was full from lobster! It was another relaxing evening watching TV before bed. The next morning my mom picked me up and we spent the next few days with Ellie (next blog post).

My mom and I raced back on Christmas Eve to make it to Jen and Nick’s house for Emily’s mom’s famous homemade lasagna. The usual were there - Tyler, Jim, Sally, Babs, Jen, Nick, Pattie, Keith, Emily and I and this year my mom! We had a terrific dinner and a relaxing night of snacks and cookies for desert. We busted out the Wii and showed my mom how to bowl in the video game which she really enjoyed. Completely stuffed Emily, her parents and my mom and I retired back to their place and had a relaxing evening chatting and watching tv.

Christmas morning I woke up to the smell of bacon and was happy to see Keith’s traditional chocolate chip pancakes being made when I arrived down stairs. Jay and Stacey were already there drinking mimosas with my mom and Emily’s parents. Soon the girls arrived
(Jason’s daughters) Jessica and Julia along with Jason and his new girlfriend Sue whom seemed very nice. We all had a great breakfast and a bunch more mimosas before the girls distributed our Christmas gifts from under the tree Emily had put together while I was visiting Ellie. We all got wonderful gifts and as usual Emily’s mom had picked out some really nice clothes for me and I got gift certificates from my mom which I really appreciate because I’m picky with everything I buy. Jen and Nick also got us a gift certificate to Fireworks, a restaurant in Corvallis! They had really done their research! We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing in a general malaise of food coma and alcohol. We even got my mom to take a few shots of Wild Turkey: American Honey (which is now the only bourbon which I really like). Dinner was gigantic as we had so many people. (Tyler and his girlfriend, Sally, Jim, Jessica, Julia,
Jason, Sue, Stacey, Jay, Keith, Pattie, my mom, Emily and I, Chris & Julia and Nick & Jen). The main man of Christmas
as usual, Sampson the pug was also there but unlike Christmas Eve at Nick & Jen’s couldn’t find a spot at the table which extended into the hallway this year. Sampson by the way loves the uTube video of the dog mental breakdown! Emily’s mom had cooked up an amazing loin roast for dinner which was soooo good (we ate it cold for days after). There were plenty of deserts but the only one I could put down after the large dinner were my mom’s famous lemon squares she had brought that I hadn’t had for years (I ate most of them I think.. hehe). We played a bit more Wii throughout the evening (check the video of Emily’s dad and her brother Nick fighting each other with swoards) before turning on tv and eventually crashing for the night in universal food-coma bliss.

The following morning my mom got up and left for upstate NY after saying her goodbyes and thanking them for a wonderful Christmas. I really am glad she had a good time and it’s the first Christmas I can remember not seeing her stressed out and not fighting and angry with me for some reason. I think it was the best Christmas she’d had in a very long time and I’m super happy for her, especially after the rough lonely year she’d had after my father’s passing.

Julia and Chris stayed over again and agreed to bring Emily and I to the airport on Sunday afternoon. Em and I were super happy about this as we both really enjoy hanging out with them. Chris and I are a lot alike in many ways I think. The previous night he had told the whole family about his successful engagement to Julia and everyone was happy for them. Now starts the planning for them! We stayed around the house the entire afternoon. We were planning on going to see a movie but Bill and Joanie from down the street came buy and we ended up eating dinner with them (left over lasagna thank God :) yum) and then playing Wii and then a board game called Smart Ass which Bill crushed us all at. After Bill and Joanie left we put
on Star Trek the recent movie to watch and then went to bed.
Sunday morning we crammed everything into Julia’s new Subaru (I had Chris’ coffee maker on my lap for the ride), said our goodbyes and thanks to Emily’s parents and headed to Boston. It was an uneventful but
more relaxing flight back. I didn’t sleep but Emily got a few hours as she needed to be up at the usual 6:30am the next morning. We ended up getting into PDX just 20 minutes after Kevin and Alexa so we raced them home only to be beaten by a few minutes... We had a very relaxing vacation but it was great to be back and to finally get to sleep on our brand new mattress which our gift to ourselves this Christmas (although Emily got me a helmet too) :) I really have a great time with Emily’s family and look forward to it each year!