Kwadacha Provincial Park Glacier retreat, British Columbia

Kwadacha Wilderness Provincial Park in Northern British Columbia is host to numerous glaciers. Here we focus on an unnamed glacier that drains north into the Kechika River, which joins the Laird River. This glacier straddles both a watershed divide. The map of the glacier indicates the three separate termini of this glacier. Bolch et al (2010) noted that this area of BC lost 15% of its glacier area from 1985 to 2005. kwadacha wp glacier ge A comparison of Landsat imagery and Google Earth imagery during the 1994-2013 period indicate the changes to this Kwadacha Park glacier. In 1994 the glaciers three termini are at the red-northern terminus, yellow-southeaster terminus and orange-southwestern terminus arrows. A separate glacier ends at the margin of an alpine lake at the violet arrow. In 1995 there is no snowcover retained on the glacier. In 2001 the terminus at the orange arrow has retreated leading to lake expansion and at the red arrow. By 2013 the glacier’s northern terminus has retreated 250-300 m since 1994 and now terminates at the end of a rock rib. The southeastern terminus has retreated 250 m losing most of this glacier tongue. The southwestern terminus has retreated 300 m, and some calving is occurring. The glacier also has no retained snowpack in 2013. A glacier that consistently loses all of its snowpack cannot survive (Pelto, 2010). This glacier falls into that category. The retreat is evident in the Google earth image with the arrows marking the 1994 terminus locations. A closeup of this image indicates the lack of retained snowcover, blue dots mark snowline. The southwestern terminus calving margin is noted at the green arrow. The near stagnant nature of the northern terminus is also evident with the lack of crevassing. This glaciers will continue to thin and retreat and with current climate will not survive. The retreat is similar to that of other glaciers in the region including Snowshoe Glacier, Yukon, Great Glacier and Freshfield Glacier.
kwadacha 1994
1994 Landsat image

kwadacha 1995
1995 Landsat image

kwadacha 2001
2001 Landsat image

kwadacha 2013
2013 Landsat image

kwadacha ge
2013 Google Earth image

kwadacha close ge
2013 Google Earth image

Porcupine Glacier Retreat and Lake Expansion, British Columbia

Porcupine Glacier is a 20 km long outlet glacier of an icefield in the Hoodoo Mountains of Northern British Columbia. Bolch et al (2010) noted a reduction of 0.3% per year in glacier area in the Northern Coast Mountains of British Columbia from 1985 to 2005. Scheifer et al (2007) noted an annual thinning rate of 0.8 meters/year from 1985-1999. Here we examine the retreat of Porcupine Glacier and the expansion of the lake it ends in from 1988-2011 using four Landsat images from 1988, 1999, 2010 and 2011. Below is a Google Earth view of the glacier with arrows indicating the flow paths of the Porcupine Glacier. The second images is a map of the region from 1980 indicates a small marginal lake at the terminus.
porucpine ge porcupine map
In 1988 a tongue of the glacier in the center of the lake reached to within 1.5 km of the far shore of the lake, yellow arrow. All but the red arrows are in the same location in each of the images below. The orange image is at the 1988 terminus position on the northern edge of the glacier, the purple arrow indicates the 1988 terminus position on the south side of the glacier. The yellow arrow indicates the 1988 center tongue position. The pink arrow is the 2011 terminus position at the north edge of the glacier. The glacier has retreated 2 km in the 22 year period. The number of icebergs in the lake at the terminus indicates the retreat is mainly due to calving icebergs. Glacier thinning of the glacier tongue leads to enhanced calving. The glacier tongue has a low slope up to an icefall, noted by red I, at this icefall the glacier rises from 450 m to 750 m. This is a likely point at which the lake basin ends and the glacier retreat can slow. The retreat of this glacier is similar to a number of other glaciers in the area Great Glacier, Chickamin Glacier, Patterson Glacier and Bromley Glacier. The terminus viewed up close in 2005 has numerous weaknesses indicating the calving that was going to happen in the next several years.
porcupine glacier 1985
porcupine glacier 1999

porcupine glacier bc 2010

porcupine glacier bc 2011procupine terminus closeup