Study: Juneau Ice Field to shrink if warming continues

March 26, 2016 by Dan Joling
Study: Juneau Ice Field to shrink if warming continues
In this Feb. 15, 2016 file photo, snow-covered mountains are seen behind the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska. The massive Alaska ice field that feeds Juneau's Mendenhall Glacier, a tourist attraction viewed by hundreds of thousands each year, could be gone by 2200 if climate warming trends continue, according to a new University of Alaska Fairbanks study. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)

A Rhode Island-size ice field in the mountains behind Alaska's capital could disappear by 2200 if climate-warming trends continue, according to a University of Alaska Fairbanks study.

The study published this week by the Journal of Glaciology predicts 60 percent of the ice in the Juneau Ice Field could be gone by 2099.

The Juneau Ice Field is the source for a major Alaska tourist attraction, the Mendenhall Glacier, visited last year by 450,000 people at a U.S. Forest Service center. By 2099, the study authors said, the glacier's ice will be harder to find.

"By the end of this century, people will most likely not be able to see the Mendenhall Glacier anymore from the visitor's center," said Regine Hock, a UAF glaciologist and one of the authors of the study.

The Juneau Ice Field, one of the largest ice fields in the Western Hemisphere, covers 1,500 square miles in the steep Coast Mountains, the range that lines Alaska's Panhandle and much of British Columbia.

The Mendenhall Glacier, a 13-mile river of ice, terminates about 10 miles north of downtown Juneau.

The paper's lead author, Florian Ziemen, of Hamburg, Germany, worked on the study during a year of post-doctoral work at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Modeling the melt of the ice field was challenging because of the lack of weather stations in the remote mountains. Lacking weather data, models make computations based on physical characteristics such as sunlight, clouds and their movement and precipitation, Ziemen said.

"It just grabs the physical system of the climate," he said.

The numbers are translated into grid points every 20 kilometers, which Ziemen had to adjust to account for Juneau's topography.

"The topography in the Juneau area is very steep," he said. "Just having one data point every 20 kilometers doesn't really resolve the mountain flanks and how the precipitation falls."

The researchers applied corrected climate data to a forecasting model and combined it with a glacier model developed by UAF researchers that has been used to make predictions for the Greenland Ice Sheet.

If warming trends continue, more than 60 percent of the ice will be lost by 2099, the paper predicts. All climate models predicted increased warming of the planet, Hock said.

"Even the lowest emission scenarios that are realistic predict a warming, essentially, all over the world," she said. "It's only the question, how aggressive?"

Ziemen picked a middle-of-the-road forecast, Hock said.

The high altitude of the Juneau Ice Field would make it less vulnerable to melting. If current climate continued, the ice field would shrink by 14 percent, Hock said.

Explore further: Greenland model could help estimate sea level rise

More information: FLORIAN A. ZIEMEN et al. Modeling the evolution of the Juneau Icefield between 1971 and 2100 using the Parallel Ice Sheet Model (PISM), Journal of Glaciology (2016). dx.doi.org/10.1017/jog.2016.13

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18 comments

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SamB
1.5 / 5 (15) Mar 26, 2016
Wow! We need to kick these science articles up a notch.
Who knew that ice and snow melts when warmed, eh?
stnmn35
1.3 / 5 (14) Mar 26, 2016
How many years of education were necessary to come to that conclusion?
Mom and Dad must be so proud.
Money well spent.
Of course I'm sure this study was paid for by a Taxpayer Grant.
cantdrive85
1.6 / 5 (13) Mar 26, 2016
Modeling the melt of the ice field was challenging because of the lack of weather stations in the remote mountains. Lacking weather data, models make computations based on physical characteristics such as sunlight, clouds and their movement and precipitation,

"Challenging"? More guessing than science.
"It just grabs the physical system of the climate," he said.

So, nothing...
"Just having one data point every 20 kilometers doesn't really resolve the mountain flanks and how the precipitation falls."

Won't stop him, just fill in the blanks to support the claims.
The researchers applied corrected climate data

"Corrected climate data"? Sounds so AGWitey, definitely a climate post doc.
that has been used to make predictions for the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Well that must be relevant to this mountain glacier...

So, to conclude, this "study" is completely meaningless as are most claims and models produced by climate "scientists".
gkam
4.3 / 5 (11) Mar 26, 2016
Who are the folks making those silly statements above? Do they not understand how many people on Earth get their water from glaciers?

Look up "Asia".

cantdrive85
1.3 / 5 (12) Mar 26, 2016
Who are the folks making those silly statements above? Do they not understand how many people on Earth get their water from glaciers?

Look up "Asia".


And that is relevant because... A bad meaningless "study" regarding tourists and their views of a glacier in Alaska shows unequivocally people will die in Asia due to dehydration... Of course, what was I thinking...
Shootist
1.3 / 5 (14) Mar 26, 2016
Study: Juneau Ice Field to shrink if warming continues


So. What? The Laurentide Ice sheet melted as well.
gkam
3.7 / 5 (12) Mar 26, 2016
" Of course, what was I thinking..."
--------------------------------

You weren't. You were reacting emotionally from political prejudice, like the self-described "shootist".

The same conditions are occurring in Asia, home of billions who require the glaciers for water.
chileastro
3.4 / 5 (16) Mar 26, 2016
Drawing veridical conclusions from data is far above the pay grade of human flotsam and jetsam like cantthink and shittest. They will never contribute anything to humanity. They're simply a waste and drain on everything they encounter. I'd love to give their mother a good kick in the tubes to make sure she doesn't continue to produce human vermin that she can't raise to be responsible members of society.
gkam
3.3 / 5 (7) Mar 26, 2016
South America is also losing their glaciers, source of much of the water for their West Coast. In five to ten years, prepare for a panic.
retrosurf
4.8 / 5 (5) Mar 26, 2016
In my experience, Mendenhall glacier has been receding for at least 30 years, just like all the glaciers in nearby Glacier Bay. The Wikipedia article says that it has been in recession since the 1700s.

There are some intriguing facts, though, from about 2012, from the wikipedia article. The receding glacier is uncovering relict forests that were covered in situ around two millenia ago.Mendenhall Glacier. From one of the references cited by Wikipedia:

Taku Glacier, located south of Juneau, is currently triggering this same process as it advances over a modern forest of cottonwood trees, offering the researchers a chance to observe the process in real time, Connor said.

Unlike the growing Taku Glacier, which accumulates snow at a high elevation and thus is well situated to grow, the lower-elevation Mendenhall Glacier has retreated by an average rate of about 170 feet (52 m) per year since 2005.
antigoresockpuppet
3.7 / 5 (6) Mar 26, 2016
Remember what filth your wallowing in when you do anything but block cantdrive85. Someone else has that lame handle? I doubt it. Moves around, but here he is on page two of a glowing NAMBLA review. https://www.mywot...g?page=2
antigoracle
1 / 5 (6) Mar 27, 2016
I'd love to give their mother a good kick in the tubes to make sure she doesn't continue to produce human vermin that she can't raise to be responsible members of society.

How unsurprising, the Chicken Little morons applaud the above gem with 5s. Then they protests that they are not tards in a cult.
dustywells
1 / 5 (4) Mar 27, 2016
Hmmm...
Drought and retreating glaciers.... I wonder if the two could possibly be just coincident.
Add in the megastorms in the lower latitudes robbing the atmosphere of water...

Evaporation = cooling...
Drought = lack of surface water = no evaporation...
No evaporation = warmer surface temperature
No evaporation = fewer clouds
Fewer clouds = warmer surface temperature

Hmmm... Something to think about

Nahhh!!!! It's got to be the CO2!!! Everyone says so.

barakn
4.4 / 5 (7) Mar 27, 2016
Wow! We need to kick these science articles up a notch.
Who knew that ice and snow melts when warmed, eh? -SamB

Warmer air can hold more water vapor, which could have led to enough of an increase in snowfall to counteract the melting. There are plenty of resources about climatology on the internet geared towards novices and the under-educated. I suggest you and stnmn35 utilize them to avoid sounding like ignoramuses while posting here.
antigoracle
1 / 5 (5) Mar 27, 2016

Warmer air can hold more water vapor, which could have led to enough of an increase in snowfall to counteract the melting. There are plenty of resources about climatology on the internet geared towards novices and the under-educated. I suggest you and stnmn35 utilize them to avoid sounding like ignoramuses while posting here.

And, you are living proof that a warm head can hold more shite. You learnt it from the internet, really?? It obviously did not work for you, the undereducated (no hyphen, you ignoramus).
geokstr
1 / 5 (3) Mar 28, 2016
"Study: Juneau Ice Field to shrink if AND/OR WHEN warming STARTS UP AGAIN, IF EVER"

There. Fixed several, no doubt totally innocent, typos.

Hey, it's not my call. According to a recent article in the Gold Standard or warmism, Nature Magazine, the nearly two decade pause in AGW may just be real. One of the True Gods of Warmists, MICHAEL MANN, is even one of the co-authors, and there is a 97% concensus among environmental scientists that he is never wrong.
http://www.nature...M2NTgyS0

It must be sheer coincidence that this was never reported here.

antigoracle
1 / 5 (2) Mar 28, 2016
Warmer air can hold more water vapor, which could have led to enough of an increase in snowfall to counteract the melting. There are plenty of resources about climatology on the internet geared towards novices and the under-educated. I suggest you and stnmn35 utilize them to avoid sounding like ignoramuses while posting here.

So, why don't you utilize those resources and tell us how much the snowfall must increase and how much warmer the air must be?
geokstr
1 / 5 (4) Mar 29, 2016
Got a 1 star from some AGW acolyte who no doubt didn't even follow my link because the article's conclusion simply must be heresy. A mind so closed it can never, ever be even allowed to consider anything that might conflict in the slightest with the accepted apocalyptic dogma of his/her religious cult or their worldview might explode.

Not that I give a rat's derriere about votes here. I don't even deny that the planet may be warming, I just find it ludicrous and very telling that the only "solutions" we are even permitted to consider all align perfectly with the goals of Marxism.

It must be another of those freakin' coincidences, right?

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