Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Taku Glacier and the Juneau Icefield Research Program

Last week we finished some of the last work on Taku Glacier under our current NSF grant. We serviced all our borehole instruments that we installed last year; many of which are still working. We also ran a low frequency radar to measure the ice thickness. In the past, Taku had been excavating sediments at its base, so the glacier has been getting thicker, although the surface elevation barely changed. In some places this happened at rates of more than 3 m/yr!

Taku Glacier is an advancing glacier, but over the past two years it has been retreating slightly. This is probably still an after-effect of the very warm winter 2014/15, when no snow fell on the lower glacier. Consequently, last summer saw a big seasonal retreat, and this winter's advance could not compensate for that. It will be interesting what happens after this El Nino is over.

After Taku, I was invited to go to JIRP (Juneau Icefield Research Program) and give a lecture. This is an undergraduate research expedition that has been going on every year since the 1940s. I was very impressed by the program and the many smart and interested students, many of which had very little or no experience with snow and ice.

Doug is laying out radar antennas

Ice radar in crevassed areas
Nice evening light at our base camp

Base camp at sunset

JIRP Camp 17 at the top of Lemon Creek Glacier

The JIRP students are doing safety training on the glaciers. For some it was their first time on skis.

JIRPers at sunset

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