Our colleagues at the USGS Alaska successfully replaced the old time-lapse camera installed at Columbia Glacier this week with our latest designed system. Capturing and transmitting images every 3-hours during daylight, this camera will help to track the movement of Columbia Glacier, which has been in accelerated retreat since the early 1980’s. Near real-time images can be viewed on the Columbia Glacier Real-time Images page.
Sometimes 1-day in Yakutat is all we need to get out to Hubbard Glacier for site maintenance. That’s exactly what Dave Finnegan and I did September 18th, on the tail-end of a week working up in Girdwood, AK testing our newly designed airborne LiDAR system. Arriving mid-day on the 18th, we immediately turned around and boarded a Yakutat Charter Boat Company boat piloted by Mark Sappington, and headed to Gilbert Point.
During the last visit in May 2014 our team cleared a safer, more stable path to the Gilbert Point station through the thick alders. Returning after the summer already the path is being reclaimed by nature, having grown over significantly. At the site we modified the Terminus Monitoring System’s battery voltage logging, modified the web camera software to transmit images to our new FTP server, and tightened down the myriad of bolts and nuts that inevitably loosen due to high winds buffeting the station. Overall, the station is solid and strong.
Next we visited the Haenke Island site, which also has held up nicely since the last visit. We made some modifications to the solar radiation sensor, and downloaded images from the Canon time-lapse camera.
The Automated Laser ranging system at Gilbert Point was replaced in late August with a new updated system. Researchers from CRREL, The National Snow and Ice Data Center (Boulder, Colorado) and the USGS Alaska Science Center (Anchorage) removed the previous laser scanning system and replaced it with an updated version of the system developed by CRREL. The previous system was dependent on a high-powered radio link to Haenke Island, which required significant power to operate. The new system utilizes a low-power two-way Iridium communication system that reduces overall power consumption and allows for increased data acquisition intervals (hourly). Furthermore, a realtime camera system has been installed at Gilbert Point to collect and transmit visible images every 3 hours and thermal images every 8 hours.
The climate station at Haenke Island is damaged beyond repair and is scheduled for replacement. Inclement weather prohibited the team from replacing the system in August but the team will return in November to bring a new modern station online. The new system will also operate on the Iridium network versus the previous GOES system.
In the Fall of 2011, researchers from the University of Maine (Dr. Gordon Hamilton) and CRREL worked to deploy a new automated climate station and two realtime Iridium web cameras at Helheim Glacier. All of these systems were deployed along the southern margin of the glacier to monitor climate, ice and pro-glacial activity. Due to a late deployment schedule a series of technical difficulties prevented the terminus camera from operating correctly. Furthermore, the climte station operated till December but has since become unavailable. Both of these issues will be repaired in the early spring
In the Fall of 2011, researchers from the USGS (Dr. Shad ONeel) and CRREL worked to deploy a realtime Iridium web camera at Columbia Glacier. The camera is focused on the central terminus of Columbia Glacier and captures up to 4 images per day in optimal lighting conditions. The camera operated succesfully until late November when it suffered a power failure. We are currently working on a schedule to make repairs to the camera.