The glaciers of Juneau Icefield

This article is based on the followed accepted and published article about Juneau Icefield: Davies et al., 20221, which has been published in final form at: All data produced in this work, including shapefiles and an A0 poster of the icefield, are available as supplementary data with the final published version.

Juneau Icefield straddles the Alaska and British Columbia border. It is one of the largest icefields in the world, with glaciers reaching from 9 m to 2300 m above sea level.

Icefields of Alaska and Western Canada. Red line denotes the national boundary.. Map produced by Bethan Davies.

The accumulation area is very low slope, at 1200 to 2300 m (1400 km2), drained by large outlet glaciers. It is surrounded by numerous valley glaciers, with defined accumulation areas, and smaller mountain glaciers and glacierets.

Glaciers, lakes and rivers of Juneau Icefield. Yellow area is icefield plateau.
Juneau Icefield, with named glaciers, Alaska/British Columbia. Glacier extent in 2019 is shown. Yellow/orange area is the interconnected, low-slope plateau. Inset shows the wider region, with the black line the dividing line between different regions of the Randolph Glacier Inventory. Map produced by Bethan Davies.

Glacier inventory of Juneau Icefield


We used the Randolph Glacier Inventory (date: 2005) as our basemap13. The corrected and updated RGI 2005 files comprised 1,113 glaciers, with a total area of 4,238.7 ± 47.6 km2.

Mean glacier area was 3.8 km2 with a median area of 0.41 km2. Individual glacier area ranged from 0.012 to 736.07 ± 2.39 km2.


In 2019, Juneau Icefield had 1050 glaciers, with a mean glacier area of 3.6 km2.

These 1050 glaciers were comprised of 40 outlet glaciers, that drained from the main interconnected plateau (covering 2939.1 km2), 145 valley glaciers covering 570.9 km2, 584 small mountain glaciers covering 279.2 km2, and just 281 small glacierets, covering 27.2 km2.

Outlet, valley, mountain glaciers and glacierets of Juneau Icefield.
Juneau Icefield contains very many small glaciers, and a small number of large glaciers. These large glaciers are mostly outlet glaciers, of which the largest is Taku Glacier.

The total area was 3816.43 ± 15.92 km2 in 2019. Over the 14-year time period between the surveys, 63 glaciers disappeared and glacier area shrank by 422.3 km2 (10.0%), at a mean rate of 30.16 km2 a-1.

The outlet glaciers of Juneau Icefield

The main interconnected icefield is made up of 40 outlet glaciers that drain from the low-slope plateau down towards the sea.

The largest outlet glacier is Taku Glacier (728.6 ± 1.0 km2). Meade Glacier is the second-largest outlet glacier; it covered 423.8 ± 0.6 km2 in 2019 and calved into a proglacial lake (4.7 km2). On the other side of the icefield, the third-largest is Llewellyn Glacier (290.8 ± 0.4 km2 in 2019 and calving into a proglacial lake (11.9 km2) at 725 m asl).

Taku Glacier Juneau Icefield
Taku Glacier, Juneau Icefield. Map produced by Bethan Davies

Further Reading

Introducing Juneau Icefield

The glaciers of Juneau Icefield

The lakes of Juneau Icefield

Structural glaciology of Juneau Icefield

Glacier disconnections of Juneau Icefield

Accelerating glacier mass loss in Juneau Icefield

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