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The imminent calving retreat of Taku Glacier

February 18, 2021

Along the rugged Southeast Alaska coast, 30 kilometers northeast of the state capital Juneau, a tidewater glacier has largely defied global trends by steadily advancing for most of the past century while most glaciers on Earth retreated. This 55-kilometer-long and nearly 1,500-meter-thick tidewater glacier, named Taku Glacier, or T'aaḵú Ḵwáan Sít'i in the language of the Indigenous Tlingit people, has been the focus of continuous scientific study for more than 70 years. Some records even extend back to the mid-18th century. With this long observation record and the glacier’s year-round accessibility and proximity to Juneau and adjacent research facilities, Taku provides an unparalleled locale to study tidewater glaciers and their response to Earth’s rapidly changing climate.