AD Main Menu

Columbia Glacier about to stop receding, scientists say


Fast-receding Columbia Glacier in Prince William Sound will stabilize in about 2020 with its foot resting in shallow water and will produce far fewer icebergs, says a scientific team at the University of Colorado.

Their computer model predicts the retreat of the Columbia Glacier will stop when the glacier reaches a new stable position, about 15 miles upstream from the stable position it occupied prior to the 1980s.  ...

The team of researchers created a flexible model of the Columbia Glacier to reproduce different criteria such as ice thickness and terminus extent. The scientists then compared thousands of outputs from the computer model under different assumptions with the wealth of data that exists for the Columbia Glacier.

The batch of outputs that most accurately reproduced the well-documented history of retreat was run into the future to predict the changes the Columbia Glacier will most likely experience until the year 2100. The researchers found that around 2020 the terminus of the glacier will retreat into water that is sufficiently shallow to provide a stable position through 2100 by slowing the rate of iceberg production.

 Read more at Science 2.0: Alaska's Columbia Glacier should stop retreating in 2020