A 1000-Year-Old Forest Buried Under Alaska’s Mendenhall Glacier Uncovers A Warm Medieval Period

In recent decades, North American glaciers have advanced by many kilometers and buried forests in ice in the same regions where glaciers have receded and uncovered Medieval-era forests.

Image Source: Davi et al., 2019

Ancient forests buried beneath ice for the last ~1,000 years began “popping out from under southern Alaska’s Mendenhall Glacier” and garnishing headlines a few years ago (LiveScience, 2013).

Much of the attention centered around the glacier’s retreat and an apparent link to climate change. However, the revelation that intact and upright trees could be exposed from beneath a glacier suggests the Medieval climate was warm enough to sustain forests prior to the Little Ice Age glaciation.

In close proximity to Juneau’s wasting-away Mendenhall Glacier, the Taku Glacier has advanced 7 km since 1890 (Vore et al., 2019), encasing modern cottonwood tree forests in ice throughout the process.

There are claims that Juneau residents are concerned about the ice melt contribution to sea level rise due to the recession of the Mendenhall Glacier (LiveScience, 2013). This is ironic considering local relative sea level has been falling at a rate of over -13 mm/yr since the 1930s.

Image Source: LiveScience (2013) and NOAA

Image Source: Vore et al., 2019

In Arctic Canada, the Good Friday Glacier (GF) has been continuously advancing ever since it was first spotted in 1948. While the advance has slowed in recent years (upon reaching tidewater and calving in the late 2000s), the uninterrupted advance has amounted to 9.3 km in the last 70 years (Medrzycka et al., 2019).

Image Source: Medryzcka et al., 2019

Another North American glacier system on the slopes of Mount Rainer (Washington, USA) has undergone both retreat and advance since the 1970s (Moore et al., 2019), further emphasizing non-linear glacier responses to recent climate changes.

Image Source: Moore et al., 2019

10 responses to “A 1000-Year-Old Forest Buried Under Alaska’s Mendenhall Glacier Uncovers A Warm Medieval Period”

  1. Don B

    The melting Mendenhall glacier not only reveals evidence of a warmer Medieval Warm Period but also a warmer Roman Warm Period:

    “Connor said that her team has done some radiocarbon testing on the trees to determine the age of the forest. The researcher feels comfortable putting the forest at 1,000 years old, and some trees have tested even older. The oldest tree Connor has found on the Mendenhall Glacier is around 2,350 years old.


  2. John Lobert

    “Close” proximity? Is there any other kind?

    1. Yonason
  3. Yonason

    Some greenies ought to leave a plaque to commemorate the loss of that ice. //S//

  4. drumphish

    Paid a visit to the Byron Glacier in August of 2004. It was a hike up to the leading edge of the glacier from the point where it was once located near and at Portage Lake. Big chunks of rock were in the middle of the moraine, had to have been someplace else many years ago.

    If you take the goat trail through northern remote British Columbia to the Yukon, go west from Prince George and then to the only road north, you will witness the ice fields on the other side of the mountains from Juneau.

    The ice fields don’t go away, stay there 24/7/365, wax and wane with the seasons, but continue and remain as such. Too far north to melt it all away. If they’re there at the end of July, they’ll be there after that and into the winter, snow in The Yukon in August does happen. Best to keep moving south by then.

    Not one day of plus one hundred degree temps this summer at my location in North America, very unusual for summer days.

    It could still make it before early October, but it is now becoming less of a possibility.

  5. Alex

    Isn’t this proof enough that the current warming is just nature coming out of nature’s Little Ice Age? There’s nothing anthropogenic about the modern climate change except the lies by the fake scientists and the lame stream media, all members of the corrupt governments’ pay lists

    1. Chris Hanley

      No, what it shows is that anthropogenic effects are not a necessary cause of climate change although physics says that increasing the atmospheric CO2, all else being equal, is a sufficient cause viz. a global average temperature rise of ~1C for every doubling of the CO2 concentration.

  6. KAT

    An inconvenient spruce?

  7. TexanForever

    Can’t be. … Global Warming only happens now as modern humans and Trump cause CO2 and Clmate Change. Besides, Trump wasn’t alive back then. … Ask Al Gore, the scientist.

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