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9 October 2014

Meade Glacier Rapid Retreat 1986-2014, Alaska

Meade Glacier drains the northwest portion of the Juneau Icefield, with meltwater entering the Katzehin River and then Chilkoot Inlet. The glacier begins in British Columbia and ends in Alaska. Here we use Landsat imagery to examine changes in the glacier from 1984 to 2014. The glacier experienced a slow continuous retreat from 1948 to 1986 of 400 m, the glacier ended on an outwash plain. From 1991-2006 JAXA’s EROC …

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31 July 2014

Spotted Glacier Retreat, Katmai Region, Alaska

Spotted Glacier flows north from Mount Douglas and terminates in a developing proglacial lake. In the USGS map from 1951 the lake is not evident. Giffen et al (2008) noted that the glacier retreated ~1200 m from 1951-1986, a rate of 33 m/year. Here we examine 1985 to 2013 Landsat imagery to identify the terminus change of this glacier since 1985. In each image the red arrow indicates the 2013 …

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27 July 2014

Fourpeaked Glacier Retreat, Katmai area, Alaska

Fourpeaked Glacier drains east from the volcano of the same name in the Katmai region of southern Alaksa. The Park Service in a report (Giffen et al 2008) noted that the glacier retreated 3.4 km across a broad proglacial lake that the glacier terminates in from 1951-2986, a rate of 95 m/year. From 1986-2000 they noted a retreat of 163 m, or 13 m/year. In a more recent report with …

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2 July 2014

Wright Glacier Retreat, Southeast Alaska

Wright Glacier is the main glacier draining a small icefield just south of the Taku River and the larger Juneau Icefield. Wright Glacier is 60 km east of Juneau and has ended in a lake since 1948. A picture of the glacier in 1948 from the NSIDC collection indicates the terminus mainly filling the lake, but breaking up. The glacier drains the same icefield as the retreating West Speel and …

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26 June 2014

Long Peak Glacier, Southeast Alaska

“Long Peak” Glacier is an unnamed glacier southeast of Juneau, Alaska. The glacier occupies a narrow northeast oriented avalanche fed valley, light blue arrows indicate the avalanche feeding regions around the glacier. In 1948, as indicated in the USGS map,the glacier extended from 1600 m to 500 m, a small lake is shown at the terminus, with an overall length of 3.8 km. The glacier is a short distance southwest …

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11 June 2014

Shakes Glacier Retreat-Tributary Separation, Alaska

Shakes Glacier drains the southern portion of the Stikine Icefield and terminates in Shakes Lake. It is between the more famous LeConte Glacier to the west and Great Glacier to the east. Larsen et al (2007) indicate recent thinning of 2-4 meters per year on the glaciers along the southern margin of the Stikine Icefield. Here we utilize 1985-2013 Landsat imagery to examine changes in this glacier. The USGS map …

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26 January 2014

Walker Glacier Retreat and Lake Development, Alaska

Google Earth Image indicating flow of Walker Glacier. Walker Glacier terminates adjacent to the Alsek River, a popular rafting river route. Many rafting trips visit Walker Glacier since it is close to river, has a low slope and few crevasses.In 1984 the glacier ended as a piedmont lobe separated from the river by meters. Today the terminus has retreated into a lake basin at the terminus. Here we examine Landsat …

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12 January 2014

East Novatak Glacier Retreat, Alaska

Landsat comparison of East Novatak Glacier from 1984 to 2013.  Red arrow is 1984 terminus, yellow arrow 2013 terminus.  B denotes an expanding proglacial lake. Novatak Glacier and a large unnamed south-flowing glacier to the east, here designated as East Novatak Glacier, were connected when first mapped by the International Border Commission in the 1906-08 period. By the 1950’s maps indicated the Novatak and East Novatak Glacier have separated, with …

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1 July 2013

Juneau Icefield Glacier Terminus Change from Landsat 5 1984 to Landsat 8 2013

The Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP) has been examining the glaciers of the Juneau Icefield since 1946. Until the NASA Landsat program began field measurements and aerial observations were the only means to observe the glaciers of the icefield. For more than 40 years it was Maynard Miller, U of Idaho, who led this expedition that has trained so many of today’s glaciologists, today it is Jeff Kavanaugh, U of …

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16 January 2013

Riggs Glacier Retreat from the Sea, Alaska

Riggs Glacier for most of the 20th century was a tributary to the Muir Glacier in Glacier Bay Alaska. The two glaciers separated between 1960 and 1963 as noted by the USGS in their detailed research led by Bruce Molnia . The USGS chronicled the changes of this glacier from 1940 to 2004 with pictures from the same location by Bruce Molnia. The Muir, McBride and Riggs are still joined …

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22 November 2011

Field Glacier, Alaska Retreat, Lake expansion, tributary separation

Above is a paired Landsat image from 1984 left and 2013 right, indicating a 2300 m retreat in this period, below is further detailed examination. The Field Glacier flows from the northwest side of the Juneau Icefield, and is named for Alaskan glaciologist and American Geographical Society leader William O. Field. Bill also helped initiate the Juneau Icefield Research Program, which Maynard Miller then ably managed for more than 50 …

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12 June 2011

Chickamin Glacier, Alaska Extensive Retreat

Chickamin Glacier in southeast Alaska has undergone a 3 kilometer retreat since 1955. The glacier drains south from an icefield near Portland Canal and straddling the border with British Columbia. The glacier ended on an outwash plain in 1955 at 250 meters. The Through Glacier at this time is a large tributary feeder joining Chickamin at the elbow where it turns west, (bottom image) Shortly thereafter a lake began to …

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16 March 2011

Saywer Glacier, Alaska Retreat

Sawyer Glacier is an Alaskan glacier that many people have observed the retreat of. It is one of three glaciers that calves into Tracy Fjord, that is often visited by cruise ships. The 2.3 km retreat over the last 50 years has made approach to the actual terminus difficult for larger cruise ships. The terminus of the glacier was almost to the main arm of the fjord in 1961, USGS …

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4 February 2011

Grand Plateau Glacier Retreat, Alaska

Grand Plateau Glacier in 1984 and 2015 Landsat images.  Red arrow is the 1984 terminus location and yellow arrows the 2015 terminus locations. D=Distributary tongue, NF=North Fork, N=Nunatak, GP=Grand Plateau Grand Plateau Glacier drains southwest from Mount Fairweather in southeast Alaska. The glacier advanced during the Little Ice age to the Alaskan coastline. Early maps from 1908 show no lake at the terminus of the glacier. The 1948 map shows …

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2 January 2011

Thiel Glacier Alaska ongoing retreat

Thiel Glacier is a valley glacier in the Juneau icefield of Alaska. The glacier was a tributary of the Gilkey Glacier and is shown as such in USGS maps. From 1948-2005 the glacier has retreated 2100 meters from its former junction with the Gilkey Glacier. Below is the USGS map of the area showing the junction of the Battle, Gilkey and Thiel Glacier. The same view from the 2005 Google …

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25 June 2010

Okpilak Glacier Retreat, Brooks Range, Alaska

The Brooks Range of Alaska contains many alpine glaciers. You hear little about them as there are no large ones and none that can be seen from a cruise ship as in southern Alaska. Though I have worked on many Alaskan glaciers for extended periods, it has always been in southeast Alaska on the larger Juneau Icefield. Hey one month until my 30th field season. The climate is much different …

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18 February 2010

Brady Glacier, Alaska begins a substantial retreat

Brady Glacier is a large glacier at the south end of the Glacier Bay region, Alaska. When first seen by George Vancouver it was a calving tidewater glacier in 1794 filling Taylor Bay with ice. Brady Glacier ceased calving and advanced approximately 8 km during the 19th century (Klotz, 1899). As Bengston (1962) notes, the advance is likely another example of an advance following a change from tidal to non-tidal …

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30 June 2009

Dramatic Retreat of Antler Glacier, Alaska

Above is a pair of Landsat images from 1984 and 2013 indicating the 2600 m retreat of Antler Glacier in that period. Below is a detailed analysis of the glacier. The Antler Glacier is an outlet glacier of the Juneau Icefield. It is actually a distributary glacier of the Bucher Glacier. It splits from the Bucher Glacier 8.5 km above where the Bucher Glacier joins the Gilkey Glacer as a …

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