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  • Station or cluster: CryoNet Station
  • Type: Reference
  • Attribute(s): Research
  • Belongs to cluster: Peyto Glacier
  • WMO ID (if any):
  • Shape: point
  • Latitude, longitude: 51.68549, -116.54495
  • Altitude and/or range (m): 2250
  • Landscape: Mountain
  • Year established: 1965
  • Year-round? Yes
  • Operations contact: Dhiraj Pradhananga
  • Science contact: John Pomeroy
  • Data contact: Branko Zdravkovic
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Peyto Main
Reference CryoNet Station Information

Peyto Glacier in Banff National Park is a valley outflow glacier Wapta Icefield in the Waputik Mountains, a part of the Canadian Rocky Mountains – the headwaters of major river systems in western Canada [location map is included]. During the 1960s, the area of the glacier was 13.4 km2. However, it has been continuously losing mass since the mid-1970s (9.9 km2 of the glacier as of 2016) and the new proglacial lake formed at the tongue of the glacier is increasing in size every year. The lake in the research basin has been named as ‘Lake Munro’ by the Centre for Hydrology (University of Saskatchewan) to honor Scott Munro’s research contribution to the glacier. Peyto Creek flowing out of Lake Munro drains the Peyto Glacier Research Basin (22.4 km²) and discharges to Peyto Lake, which has outflow into the Mistaya River, one of the tributaries of the North Saskatchewan River.

Although the first record of Peyto Glacier goes back to the photograph in 1896 by Walter D. Wilcox, significant research of the glacier began in 1965, when it was selected as one of the research sites for the International Hydrological Decade (IHD). The past studies over the glacier is well documented in the book – ‘Peyto Glacier: One Century of Science’ edited by Demuth et al., (2006). Automatic weather stations (AWS) were installed on the ice and off-glacier sites and several post-IHD-period micrometeorological studies were made by Dr. Scott Munro, University of Toronto. These climate stations are now being continued by the Centre for Hydrology – University of Saskatchewan.

Other Networks to Which This CryoNet Station Belongs

Data Information


Changing Cold Regions Network, 3. Wapta Icefield/Peyto Glacier, AB. http://ccrnetwork.ca/science/WECC/western-cordillera/peyto-glacier.php


The measurements made at Peyto Main are listed in the following tables. (Note: If End Year is blank, measurements are ongoing.)

Cryosphere Measurements

Element Variable Start Year End Year Frequency
SnowSnow on the ground (WMO code 0957)1965Continuous
SnowSnow water equivalent2013Sporadic
SnowSnowpack profile2013Continuous
SnowSnowfall depth1991Continuous
SnowWater equivalent of snowfall2013Continuous

Atmosphere Measurements

Element Variable Start Year End Year Frequency
MetAir temperature1991Continuous
MetHumidity/vapour pressure1991Continuous
MetWind speed and direction1991Continuous
MetAir pressure1991Continuous
MetTotal precipitation1991Continuous
RadiationDownwelling shortwave1991Continuous
RadiationUpwelling shortwave2013Continuous
RadiationDownwelling longwave2006Continuous
RadiationUpwelling longwave2013Continuous
RadiationSunshine duration19651974Sporadic

Measurement Notes and Other Measurements

Category Description or List
AtmosphereThe precipitation was not reliable in winter until recently.
OtherThe Peyto Main (also known as 'Peyto Creek Base Station') was operational during summer months in IHD period. It was re-established during the 1980s with data loggers. New instruments with a new setting have also been added in 2013 by Centre for Hydrology, University of Saskatchewan.

Last updated: 24 February 2018