Hatfield Science on Tap has returned to its regular in-person format. The option to watch online is still available.

Making measurements at the face of an actively calving tidewater glacier

Wednesday, March 20: Onsite and Online

Location: Hatfield Marine Science Center, Gladys Valley Marine Studies Building, Carmen Ford Phillips Auditorium

Social Hour - 5 to 6 p.m. Food and beverages are available for purchase.

Talk Begins - 6 p.m.

Online Option: Please click the link below to join the webinar: https://oregonstate.zoom.us/j/91439768308

Or Telephone: Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):

  •     +1 971 247 1195 US (Portland)
  •     +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
  •     +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)

Webinar ID: 941 3976 8308


  • Meagan Wengrove, College of Engineering, Oregon State University
  • Jonathan Nash, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, OSU
  • Erin Pettit, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, OSU

One of the biggest sources of uncertainty in projecting sea level rise is the accurate prediction of tidewater glacier melt rates.  Despite the fact that we can observe our glaciers retreating, very few observations of glacier melt rates exist.  The observations we have made come from remote sensing and suggest that the leading predictive models are underestimating melt by a factor of 10-100.  That means we still don’t have a great idea of what is controlling glaciers to melt as fast as they are melting. Why? Because it is hugely challenging to make underwater measurements of processes that control melt at the face of an actively calving tidewater glacier terminus.

Yet! Our collaborative and innovative team have ideas about why glaciers may be melting faster than the prevalent models predict.  This includes interesting physics of buoyant melt plume convection, rough ice surfaces, and bubbles popping out of the ice (that not only make sounds but also cause the ice to melt faster!)  We are making extremely important, cool!, and at times scary measurements of ice melt and of the processes that control melt at the terminus of Xeitl Sít’ (also known as LeConte Glacier) in Southeast Alaska. Never before made measurements are collected from robotic platforms that can travel right to the ice-ocean interface (no human can be aboard).

Join us to learn about glacier retreat, the processes we think may be important for melt at the ice-ocean interface, the way we are making insightful new measurements and what we have learned so far to deduce the source of the missing melt.

Did you miss a talk?

If you missed a talk - no worries. We have them recorded and posted in our Science on Tap playlist on Hatfield's YouTube channel, along with dozens of research seminar presentations, video tours and more.

Science on Tap is a free, family-friendly event in a casual environment featuring a host of scientists talking about the latest ocean research.

This speaker series runs monthly from September to June. Look for new events on this page, our social media accounts, the HMSC events calendar on the home page, or the OSU events calendar.