http://www.digitaljournal.com/life/travel/mendenhall-glacier-one-of-alaska-s-main-attractions-is-vanishing/article/446927

Mendenhall Glacier, one of Alaska's main sites, vanishing Special

Posted Oct 18, 2015 by Igor I. Solar
Located a short drive from downtown Juneau in the Tongass National Forest, Alaska, the Mendenhall Glacier is one of 38 glaciers flowing from the almost 4,000 square kilometers Juneau Icefield.
Mendenhall Glacier. Small lagoon surrounded by native vegetation with the retreating glacier in the ...
Mendenhall Glacier. Small lagoon surrounded by native vegetation with the retreating glacier in the background.
Currently, the glacier is about 21 kilometres long from its origin on the Juneau Icefield, and almost 1.5 kilometres wide at the point it reaches the Mendenhall Lake. During the period known as the Little Ice Age, extending from the early 14th century through the mid-19th century, the glacier was much larger, and the glacial foot or terminus reached as far as present-day Juneau.
Since the mid-1700s the annual melt began to exceed the annual rate of snow and ice accumulation and the Mendenhall Glacial Lake was created in front of the glacier. It is anticipated that, under the current warming trend, the Mendenhall Glacier, as well as other Alaska glaciers, will continue receding.
Mendenhall Glacier. Terminus of the glacier with icebergs floating on Mendenhall Lake.
Mendenhall Glacier. Terminus of the glacier with icebergs floating on Mendenhall Lake.
Mendenhall Glacier. Temperate forest surrounding Mendenhall Lake. In the left side of the picture is...
Mendenhall Glacier. Temperate forest surrounding Mendenhall Lake. In the left side of the picture is the start of Steep Creek.
Historically, the glacier has had several names. The ancient Tlingit Native people originally called it Sitaantaagu ("the Glacier Behind the Town"), and later, as the glacier retreated they referred to it as Aak'wtaaksit ("the Glacier Behind the Little Lake"). John Muir, the Scottish-American naturalist, explorer and advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States, named the glacier “Auke” after the name of the local Auk Kwaan clan belonging to the Tlingit nation. In 1892, the glacier was renamed in honor of physicist and meteorologist Thomas C. Mendenhall, Superintendent of the U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey, and staunch advocate for the adoption of the metric system by the United States. Among Thomas Mendenhall’s other important accomplishments was delimiting the exact boundary between the United States (Alaska) and Canada (British Columbia and Yukon).
Mendenhall Glacier and Mendenhall Lake seen from the Visitor Centre. In the centre-right of the pict...
Mendenhall Glacier and Mendenhall Lake seen from the Visitor Centre. In the centre-right of the picture is Nugget Falls.
Mendenhall Glacier. View of Nugget Falls from the end of Photo Point Trail.
Mendenhall Glacier. View of Nugget Falls from the end of Photo Point Trail.
Being close to downtown Juneau, the Mendenhall Glacier is one of Southeast Alaska’s most popular attractions. Close to the lake there is a Visitor Centre featuring a 15-minute movie about the retreating glacier, interesting lectures, interactive exhibits, a bookstore, and a great glacier observation deck.
Area wildlife includes squirrels, mountain goats, wolves, black bears, and eagles. From late summer to early fall, red (Sockeye) and silver (Coho) salmon return to Steep Creek to spawn. Along the creek, there are accessible elevated boardwalks allowing visitors to watch the salmon as they swim upstream.
Mendenhall Glacier. In the mid-19 Century the glacier extended to the point this picture was taken.
Mendenhall Glacier. In the mid-19 Century the glacier extended to the point this picture was taken.
Global temperatures have risen more than 0.7 degrees C since the 1800s. This has caused Mendenhall Glacier, and many glaciers in temperate regions, to retreat by several kilometers in the past century, and could be gone before the next century. The impressive beauty of this glacier and the wildlife it sustains may be lost forever, unless significant measures are taken aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, allowing environmental parameters such as rainfall, sea level and ocean surface temperature to return to pre-industrial levels.