Anchor Glacier, Northwestern Fjord

Anchor Glacier, Northwestern Fjord

by | Dec 18, 2019

Anchor Glacier is on the western shore of Northwestern Fjord, at the head of Harris Bay, 52 miles (84 km) east-northeast of Homer and 32 miles (52 km) southwest of Seward, Alaska. The Northwestern Glacier extends for 7.4 miles (12 km) from the southeastern side of the Harding Icefield to tidewater in Northwestern Fjord. The fjord was named by Grant and Higgins of the U.S. Geological Survey for Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Harris Bay was named for Abram W. Harris who was president of Northwestern University between 1906 and 1916.

Northwestern Glacier had its terminus position mapped for the first time on 23 July 1909 by Grant and Higgins and has since retreated about 17 miles (27 km). This retreat has exposed two glaciers that were named Anchor Glacier and Ogive Glacier by Austin Post. Post was a photographer, glaciologist, and mountaineer known for his oblique aerial photographs of the mountains and glaciers of North America in the 1950s and 1960s, particularly in Washington and Alaska. These photographs provide a valuable baseline for recent changes in glaciers attributed to a warming atmosphere and ocean.

The Anchor and Ogive glaciers reach tidewater 4 miles (6.5 km) and 3.5 miles (5.6 km) respectively southwest of Northwestern Glacier. Continued retreat of these glaciers has separated their terminus from the Harding Icefield. The Anchor Glacier now has a length of about 3 miles (4.8 km) and the Ogive is about 4.2 miles (6.8 km) long. Many other glaciers that were tributaries to the lower part of Northwestern Glacier at the turn of the 20th century are now small relict ice patches stranded high above the fjord. Read more here and here. Explore more of Anchor Glacier here:

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This ‘warming stripe’ graphic is a visual representation of the change in global temperature from 1850 (top) to 2021 (bottom). Each stripe represents the average global temperature for one year. The average temperature from 1971-2000 is set as the boundary between blue and red. The color scale goes from -0.7°C to +0.7°C. The data are from the UK Met Office HadCRUT4.6 dataset. 

Credit: Professor Ed Hawkins (University of Reading). Click here for more information about the #warmingstripes.

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