The last remaining advancing glacier which flows out of the Juneau Icefield is shrinking. A research paper which will be published in the Journal of Glaciology in January will demonstrate how climate change is to blame for Taku glacier’s recent retreat.
Due to reduced snowfall on the icefield, a rise in temperatures and more rain the glacier is melting. The Juneau Icefield Research Program has been collecting data on the area for 70 years, therefore there is a lot of information about Taku. In new photos by NASA’S Earth Observatory the gradual decline of Taku Glacier has become clear. Documented data shows that between 1946 and 1988 Taku Glacier had been gaining mass by approximately a foot a year and then in 2018 the glacier finally started to retreat. Glaciologist Mauri Pelto who has studied Juneau Icefield for three decades saw the greatest mass loss in that year. In July Alaska experienced it’s warmest month on record affecting Taku. Taku which stands north of Juneau is the world’s thickest mountain glacier and measures 4,860 feet from surface to bed.