Hydrologist on an ice sheet.

Stu Hamilton next to an ablation stake on the Peyto Glacer. Note the meltwater channels eroded into the ice surface. When the sun hits the ice later in the day these channels will be running full of water and draining down crevasses contributing to sub-glacial flow. Sub-glacial flow is linked with glacier thinning. Photo by Ian Hamilton, July 20, 2014

A 3-day hike in July on the Wapta Icefield in the Canadian Rockies with my son took us up the Bow Glacier, briefly onto the Yoho Glacier and then down the Peyto Glacier. Bow Glacier meltwater flows into the South Saskatchewan River (146,100 km2). Yoho Glacier meltwater flows into the Columbia River (668,000 km2). Peyto Glacier meltwater flows in the North Saskatchewan River (122,800 km2).

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Neil Young.

The recent uproar over Neil Young’s comments about Alberta’s oilsands development got me thinking about energy and water. Water is used in many of our energy generation methods. Whether it’s hydro power, thermal generation, oil extraction, etc., water is vital to most current energy production methods. That might not be a problem except water is also vital for agriculture, industry, drinking water, domestic use, waste removal...

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Hoover Dam from above.

Dave Gunderson, a frequent contributor to this blog, has been active in designing his monitoring program to be highly self-aware. Achieving this requires quite a high level of customization and programming of the field hardware and a fairly high bandwidth of communication. This is in stark contrast to many monitoring programs where highly sophisticated hardware and software has replaced a simple float and pulley system...

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Susitna river.

 The growth of hydro-power projects in the United States has been flat since the 1970s. That may change with a recent announcement that the Alaska Energy Authority intends to develop a 600MW project on the Susitna River. That project has been under consideration for over 35 years. In the summer of 1979 I was considering paddling Devil’s Canyon in what was only the 4th descent of...

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