As a PhD student at the University of Northern British Columbia Department of Geography, Pelto investigated glacier mass change in the Columbia and Rocky Mountains of British Columbia. His project focused on further our ability to measure and understand the response of glaciers to climate change. To do so, he collected field-based and remotely-sensed data over a five-year period for glaciers in the upper Columbia River basin. Pelto use these data to quantify glacier change over this period. More importantly, however, he uses this data to develop methods to systematically measure mass balance at seasonal to annual time scales for many hundreds of glaciers within a given mountain range.
His passion is studying the nexus between climate and the cryosphere, particularly from a water resources perspective. Pelto's work at UNBC is part of the Canadian Columbia River Basin Snow and Glacier Research Network. After the five-year study, they created a technical report on the state of glaciers, snowpack, climate and hydrology relating to the cryosphere in the upper Columbia River Basin. Pelto is also a Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) Fellow.
Ben Pelto successfully defended his PhD under the supervision of Professor Brian Menounos at UNBC. In late 2020 Ben started a two year Mitacs Elevate postdoc at UBC/BC Hydro studying "Cumulative effects of climate and land cover change on river flows in mountain catchments."
Pelto's masters degree (MSc in Geoscience), from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, focused on paleoceanography in the Bering and Chukchi Seas, studying the flooding of the Bering Strait and connection of the Pacific and Arctic Oceans. He studied under the direction of Dr. Julie Brigham-Grette. His master’s thesis focused on cores from the Bering and Chukchi Seas from 27,000 to 2,000 years before present. The Bering Sea half of his thesis was published in Paleoceanography.
Prior to attending UMass Amherst, Pelto graduated from Alfred University in 2012 with a B.A. in Geology and Environmental Studies.
Pelto, B. M., Maussion, F., Menounos, B., Radic, V., & Zeuner, M. (2020). Bias-corrected estimates of glacier thickness in the Columbia River Basin, Canada.Journal of Glaciology,118, 1–13. doi: 10.1017/jog.2020.75
Pelto, B. M., Menounos, B. and Marshall, S. J.: Multi-year evaluation of airborne geodetic surveys to estimate seasonal mass balance, Columbia and Rocky Mountains, Canada, The Cryosphere, 13(6), 1709–1727, doi:10.5194/tc-13-1709-2019, 2019.