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Michael Loso - The Trajectory and Fate of Crevassed Human Waste on Denali

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Michael Loso's presentation to Sustainable Summits 2014.

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Michael Loso - The Trajectory and Fate of Crevassed Human Waste on Denali

  1. 1. Loso SS 7/23/2014 The trajectory and fate of crevassed human waste on Denali Michael G. Loso, Ph.D. Katelyn Goodwin, MS Haley Williams, BS Rich Johnson, BS Dustin English, BA *Alaska Pacific University Matthias Braun, Ph.D. *University of Erlangen Funded by Denali National Park and Preserve
  2. 2. Loso SS 7/23/2014 The trajectory and fate of crevassed human waste on Denali Michael G. Loso, Ph.D. Katelyn Goodwin, MS Haley Williams, BS Rich Johnson, BS Dustin English, BA *Alaska Pacific University Matthias Braun, Ph.D. *University of Erlangen Funded by Denali National Park and Preserve
  3. 3. Loso SS 7/23/2014 580000 580000 600000 600000 6930000695000069700006990000 Summit Camp 3 Camp 1 Camp 6 Camp 2 Camp 5 A B C KahiltnaGlacier 600000 Summit Camp 3 Camp 1 Camp 6 Camp 2 Camp 5 A B KahiltnaGlacier
  4. 4. Loso SS 7/23/2014 The Problem Kahiltna Glacier is the busiest “trail” in the Denali National Park wilderness, and it has the least capacity to degrade human waste Cumulative waste burial 1951-2012: 68 metric tons 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 Estimatedannualhumanwaste(kg) Numberofclimbingattempts Year
  5. 5. Loso SS 7/23/2014 Our Questions • Trajectory – Where will it emerge? – When? • Fate – Bacterial survival in glacial environments? – Present in runoff? • Solutions – Carbon and cost accounting – Weighing costs and risks Burial Emergence Accumulation zone Ablation zone Equilibrium line
  6. 6. Loso SS 7/23/2014 BA 400 0 200 100 50 Feature Tracking Stake Measurements Velocity(m/yr) Index Site ELA 224 229 246 236 210 197 230 384 201 2144 36 92 115 121 166 156 87 112 92 118 83 113 96 106 130 140 124 120 145 120 92 128 131 125 Trajectory I: Glacier velocities • Stake measurements and feature tracking • Glacier-wide: 0-400 m/yr • Climbing route: 20-120 m/yr
  7. 7. Loso SS 7/23/2014 Trajectory II: Flowline velocities Velocities
  8. 8. Loso SS 7/23/2014 Trajectory III: Mass balance • ELA 1879 m • Ablation zone gradient 0.0031 m weq/m • Accumulation zone gradient 0.0008 m weq/m
  9. 9. Loso SS 7/23/2014 Emergence predictions • Expected first emergence 2025 • With errors, possible now • No evidence yet located 210 years 142 years 102 years 71 years
  10. 10. Loso SS 7/23/2014 Effects of climatic warming warmer / less snow Emergence times shorten by 13-27% in response to a 10% rise (188 m) in ELA
  11. 11. Loso SS 7/23/2014 Bacterial survival I: Lab experiments KatieGoodwinphotos • 150 day freezer experiments • Constant 0° C or modest freeze- thaw • UV or no UV • Consistent results: no detectable microbial mortality
  12. 12. Loso SS 7/23/2014 Bacterial survival II: Burial experiment • One-year waste burial experiment at base camp • Still biologically active
  13. 13. Loso SS 7/23/2014 A S2 S1 S3 S4 S5 Camp 1 F5 Figure 4 Top 580000 600000 69600006980000 Clean Contaminated Contaminated Clean Clean Contaminated Pre-season snow Post-season snow Feces Water CA S2 S1 S3 S4 S5 Camp 1 F5 W1 Bacterial survival III: surface exposure 10 m • fecal coliform and E. coli present in pee holes near camps • Improper disposal common on summit day • coliform and E. coli present in year old surface samples from 18,900’ and base camp
  14. 14. Loso SS 7/23/2014 Surface runoff Contaminated B Water6 Water3 Water4 W1 Water1 W2 Water2 W3W4 Water5 Contamination in eastern channel of Kahiltna River • E. coli and total coliform • Higher than drinking water standards, but safe for “recreational waters” • No contaminants elsewhere • Consistent with findings of Whiteman et al. (Switzerland, 2005)
  15. 15. Loso SS 7/23/2014 Summary of findings • Present management strategy mostly effective, along climbing route, in keeping glacier surface clean • Waste will emerge on glacier surface within decades • Emergent waste will be intact and biologically active • Buried waste already contaminates Kahiltna River • Emergent waste will contaminate surface waters, too
  16. 16. Loso SS 7/23/2014 Solutions
  17. 17. Loso SS 7/23/2014 Carbon and cost accounting: 3 options 1. Current Practice • 1 CMC each • Crevasse-dumping • CMC’s flown off from Base Camp by air taxis • Most waste remains on mountain 2. Intermediate • 1 CMC each • No crevasse-dumping • Full CMC’s traded at 14,200 Camp for clean ones, flown off by helicopter • All waste removed 3. Full Packout • 2 CMC’s each • No crevasse-dumping • All waste carried to Base Camp, flown off by air taxis • All waste removed
  18. 18. Loso SS 7/23/2014 Carbon and cost accounting II • Up-front costs dominated by purchase of CMCs • Operating costs dominated by use (or not) of helicopter • Up-front emissions dominated by shipping of CMCs from Kansas • Operating emissions sensitive to use of helicopter and road-hauling to wastewater treatment plant
  19. 19. Loso SS 7/23/2014 Weighing costs and risks
  20. 20. Loso SS 7/23/2014 FINANCIAL SUPPORT Denali National Park and Preserve Murie Science and Learning Center Alaska Pacific University FIELD ASSISTANCE NPS mountaineering rangers and patrol members Jill Michalak Anthony Arendt Joanna Young JT Thomas LAB AND LOGISTICAL SUPPORT Rusty Myers Jason Geck Matt Heavner Paul Brusseau Chad Hults Louis Sass Thanks

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