Glacier Melting Accelerating

Those of you who’ve taken an Alaska cruise may have visited the Mendenhall Glacier just outside of Juneau. Check out the recent rate of melting.



Time lapse of ten years of the Mendenhall Glacier, 2007 - 2017

courtesy of the Extreme Ice Survey


We lived in Juneau ('68-'70) and visited the Mendenhall Glacier several times. The face of the Glacier was the bluest of blue. Frozen water years and years old. Don’t see that sort of stuff in Texas these days. Hot, hot, hot!!!

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The glaciers in the area have been rapidly melting since the end of the Little Ice Age. Here is a map of Glacier Bay showing the massive ice retreat over the past two centuries:

Figure 2 in this article by Oerlemans shows the average length of 169 glaciers since 1700 and doesn’t show much change in the rate since 1950.



Sure. But they’re melting a lot faster today. Five years ago, the melt from the Mendenhall Glacier wasn’t pulling homes off their foundations along the river.



Nor is it now, that flooding was due to a glacial lake dam break. Presumably a natural dam rather than a man-made one.

From the above link:
“The flooding is due to a break on Suicide Basin, a side basin on the Mendenhall Glacier, located about 12 miles north of Alaska’s state capital. A glacial lake outburst flood occurs when a dam containing a glacial lake breaks.”

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From your link:

"Suicide Basin has been releasing glacier lake outburst floods that cause inundation along Mendenhall Lake and Mendenhall River since 2011, according to the National Weather Service.

The risk of flooding from melted glaciers to increase as climate warms, a study published in Nature Climate Change in 2021 found."

So, presumably the water from the melting glacier is causing the flooding that broke the dam. No mention of excessive rains doing it, either.



The water behind the glacier lake dam is from accelerated melting.