June 17, 2010

Hoboe Glacier retreat, British Columbia

Posted by Mauri Pelto

The Hoboe glacier is a distributary tongue of the Llewellyn Glacier draining the Juneau Icefied in Northwest Britsh Columbia. In 1984 I had the opportunity to hike the length of the glacier carrying supplies to the terminus for a master thesis research project of Richard Campbell at the Univ. of Idaho, during the JIRP summer field season. The glacier is 4 km long separating from the Llewellyn Glacier at 3800 feet and ending at approximately 3000 feet. This is our view from the glacier surface notice the evident trimline above the ice surface showing how thick the glacier used to be.This glacier has receded 2200 meters since early visitors to the area mapped its terminus around 1910, and 3900 m from its maximum advance of the Little Ice Age. The Google Earth views below are from 2001 images. The glacier has retreated 450-500 m in the fifty years that the Juneau Icefield Research Program has been examining it. The first view is looking up glacier and the next two looking down glacier. In all three a trimline is evident where vegetation has not had time to develop due to retreat of the last 75 years. The image above is an aerial photograph taken by Don McCully of JIRP. The trimline in the photograph is 75-85 meters above the glacier surface indicating the thinning that has occurred in the last century. Nearly one meter a year due to the recent climate change that has enhanced summer melting and reduced winter snowfall. The Hoboe Glacier is continuing its retreat like all but one of the nineteen outlet glaciers of the Juneau Icefield. Including the Gilkey Glacier and Tulsequah Glacier.