Ben Pelto bio photo


My research interests are broad and varied, I am most passionate about the nexus of climate and the cryosphere, particularly relating to water resources. I am most interested in collecting quality observational data to better inform and validate geodetic data to examine large-scale glacier change, and to use direct observations and remote sensing to calibrate and validate local- to regional- scale physical models of glacier evolution. These topics are outlined here:

Hydrologic change in mountain catchments

My current research project at UBC with Dan Moore is titled “Cumulative effects of climate and land cover change on river flows in mountain catchments”. We are studying the Bridge headwater catchment of the Bridge River, where the 75 km2 Bridge Glacier is located. I recently presented a poster on this research at the AGU conference: Poster PDF.

Glaciological and geodetic mass balance

Figure: Conrad Glacier LiDAR-derived annual surface height change for (left to right) 2014--2015, 2015--2016, 2016--2017, 2017--2018, and cumulatively 2014--2018.

Relevant publications:

Ice dynamics modeling at local and regional scales

Pelto et al. (2020) Bias-corrected estimates of glacier thickness in the Columbia River Basin, Canada.

Figure: Ice thickness measurements (Table 2) for (a) Kokanee, (b) Haig, (c) Conrad, (d) West Washmawapta, (e) Illecillewaet, (f) Nordic and (g) Zillmer glaciers. Coordinates are °N and °W. Scale differs among glaciers. Figures S1–S7 contain detailed maps with LiDAR DEM hillshades.
Figure: Optimized ice thickness for (a) Kokanee, (b) Haig, (c) Conrad, (d) West Washmawapta, (e) Illecillewaet, (f) Nordic and (g) Zillmer glaciers.

Relevant publications: Pelto et al., 2020.

Mass balance gradients from ice flux

Currently in review in the Journal of Geophysical Research

Current Projects

GIF: Kokanee Glacier terminus 2015-2021 from 1-m-resolution LiDAR DEMs. Retreat of 140 m, 23 m year.

Past Projects


Panorama: The upper portion of the valley tongue of Conrad Glacier in 2018.