Articles | Volume 5, issue 2
15 Nov 2013
 | 15 Nov 2013

Juneau Icefield Mass Balance Program 1946–2011

M. Pelto, J. Kavanaugh, and C. McNeil

Abstract. The annual surface mass balance records of the Lemon Creek Glacier and Taku Glacier observed by the Juneau Icefield Research Program are the longest continuous glacier annual mass balance data sets in North America. Annual surface mass balance (Ba) measured on Taku Glacier averaged +0.40 m a−1 from 1946–1985, and −0.08 m a−1 from 1986–2011. The recent annual mass balance decline has resulted in the cessation of the long-term thickening of the glacier. Mean Ba on Lemon Creek Glacier has declined from −0.30 m a−1 for the 1953–1985 period to −0.60 m a−1 during the 1986–2011 period. The cumulative change in annual surface mass balance is −26.6 m water equivalent, a 29 m of ice thinning over the 55 yr. Snow-pit measurements spanning the accumulation zone, and probing transects above the transient snow line (TSL) on Taku Glacier, indicate a consistent surface mass balance gradient from year to year. Observations of the rate of TSL rise on Lemon Creek Glacier and Taku Glacier indicate a comparatively consistent migration rate of 3.8 to 4.1 m d−1. The relationship between TSL on Lemon Creek Glacier and Taku Glacier to other Juneau Icefield glaciers (Norris, Mendenhall, Herbert, and Eagle) is strong, with correlations exceeding 0.82 in all cases.


Final-revised paper