Herbert Glacier Recession (2005-2017)

Matt Beedle

Director of Academics and Research

Returning to the same vantage points each year provides JIRPers with a unique opportunity to document glacier change through repeat photography. We've begun this effort during Juneau Week and look forward to continuing it as we make our way across the Juneau Icefield.

Herbert Glacier, Alaska

Herbert is one of the glaciers we visited this week. The recession and thinning of the glacier is quite plain, but a sense of scale is hard to grasp. Look for some JIRPers (multicolored jackets) standing on the bedrock knob in the lower left of the 2017 image for a bit of perspective on the immensity of this scene. While the loss of ice is perhaps the main feature, I'm amazed by how rapid the alders gain a foothold and thrive, turning a barren landscape into a veritable jungle in a handful of years. Thanks to Evan Koncewicz for bushwhacking through this jungle with me to reach this point!

See this post on From a Glacier's Perspective (by Mauri Pelto, JIRP alumni/faculty) for more perspective on the recession of Herbert Glacier in recent decades.