Jacobsen Glacier, BC Retreat

Jacobsen Glacier is part of the Monarch Icefield of the Coastal Range of British Columbia. VanLooy and Forster (2008) noted that the glacier retreated at a rate of 30 meters/year from 1974 to 1992 and 47 meters/year from 1992-2000. In this post we examine Landsat satellite imagery from 1992, 1994, 2010 and 2012 to illustrate the changes over the last two decades. There are three readily observable changes. The first, indicated by purple arrows, is the lateral recession 2.5 km upglacier of the current terminus. At this point the glacier was in contract with a proglacial lake. The lake shoreline has not changed from the 1992-1994 images, but the glacier margin is now 300 meters distant from the lake margin. The second change, indicated by yellow arrows, is of what was previously a secondary terminus that terminated in a small proglacial lake in 1992-1994. This small lake has turned into an embayment of the larger unnamed lake that the Jacobsen Glacier ends in. The secondary terminus has retreated 900 meters since 1992. The last change is the actual terminus retreat of Jacobsen glacier with the 1992 terminus indicated by the pink arrows and the 2012 terminus by the blue arrow on the northern margin. The retreat and lake expansion has been 1100 mters from 1992-2012, a rate of 55 meters/year, only a slight change from the 1990-2000 reported rate. The changes indicate a consistent mass balance loss that is typical of glaciers in the Coast Range from Lemon Creek Glacier to Bridge Glacier and Helm Glacier. The ongoing mass balance losses are resulting in substantial glacier area and volume losses ( Pelto, 2007; Scheifer et al, 2008).