The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) revealed the satellite images of the World's thickest alpine glacier, the Taku Glacier melting on November 7. After withstanding the drastic climate change for nearly four decades, the images of the glaciers in 2014 when compared to the ones of 2019, show that Taku has lost its mass. The coloured photos were captured by NASA's Operational Land Imager on Landsat 8 even though, the changes are subtle, they have started showing at the boundaries between the glaciers and the river.
The Taku Glacier is at the north of Juneau in Alaska where the largest of the 20 major glaciers stand tall. Taku is also one of the thickest with measuring 4,860 feet from the surface to the top. Initially, Taku had been increasing its mass and spreading farther into the Taku river for nearly 50 years when other glaciers were melting. However, now the apparent decline is finally visible. The Taku started melting in 2018 with officials observing the highest decrease in the snowline along with mass loss in the glacier's history. Furthermore, the changes were falling in synergy with the high temperatures being recorded in Alaska.
Mauri Pelto, the glaciologist who has been observing Taku glaciers for many years reportedly said that the pictures showing the retreating snowline makes him want to score 'climate change: 250 and glaciers: 0'. Pelto admitted that it was a huge deal for him since there was only one glacier for him to hold on to and study. According to the glaciologists, the mass balance at the Taku was very 'positive' and they hoped that the glaciers will not only be able to withstand the climate change but also advance for the rest of the century. Pelto also said that the shortening Taku means the climate crisis is hindering the natural cycle of glaciers advancing before they start to retreat.
(With inputs from agencies)