Friday, December 21st, 2012
Winter Solstice In Juneau, Alaska

Happy Winter Solstice from Juneau!  For those Alaskans deprived of daylight, this is a welcome turnaround point, as from now on the days will slowly get longer.  This shot was taken at 2:30 PM, with the low angle sun illuminating the terminus of the Mendenhall Glacier. The glacier’s eastern margin reveals a huge cave and is an area of great instability, so please be careful out there!

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Friday, July 15th, 2011
Ruth Glacier Terminus

This aerial perspective of a kettle pond reveals how much vegetation has grown above the Ruth Glacier near its terminus. It’s essentially a forest growing on ice! The organic layer provides protection for the ice, unlike the exposed face, which continues to flake off during the warmer times of the year.

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Thursday, March 10th, 2011
Mendenhall Glacier Retreat

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Alaska’s most visited glacier is undergoing dramatic changes in response to climate and environmental changes in temperature and precipitation. According to University of Alaska Southeast researchers, the terminus lost 540 feet between 2009 and 2010. This is more than twice the yearly average of ice loss between 1997 and 2009. Here’s a link to a time lapse video created by the ‘Extreme Ice Survey’ that really visualizes changes between May 2007 and September 2010:
http://www.extremeicesurvey.org/index.php/new_gallery/timelapse_41/
I took this shot from the lateral moraine on the west side of the glacier earlier this week. Notice the person standing on the glacier near the edge on left side of the picture. The huge blue chunks of ice off-center to the right have already detached from the terminus of the glacier. There’s a lot of speculation as to when the glacier will have receded beyond the margins of the lake. It could happen as soon as in five years.

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Monday, January 24th, 2011
Mendenhall Glacier Calving Activity

Mendenhall Glaicer

The Mendenhall Glacier continues to calve, with huge sections along its terminus flaking off. The face of the glacier is very instable and the recent warm weather only makes it more dangerous. This picture was taken from firm ground on the lateral side of the glacier.

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