The mathematical theory of equilibrium glaciers is applied to data obtained on the Taku Glacier in the Juneau Ice Field. Although the data are not detailed enough to accurately characterize the behavior of the glacier, they are sufficient to illustrate the methods used to obtain relations between accumulation, ablation, and flow of ice.
Measurements made on the net accumulation and distribution of snow at the end of the 1953 ablation season show that the quantity of snow was primarily a function of the elevation above the firn line.
Ablation of bare ice below the firn line was determined. About 40 feet of ice melts each year in the terminal area of the Taku.
Detailed studies of movement were made on three transverse profiles where the thickness of the ice had been measured by seismic methods. The volumes of ice passing through these profiles were calculated from three types of measurements—flow, ablation, and accumulation. The volumes calculated from the accumulation data are much larger than the volumes determined from either ablation or flow measurements. The volumes derived from ablation data are larger than those determined from movement data except near the terminus.
The Taku Glacier may be in an approximately equilibrium condition in the terminal region, but much more snow is accumulating in the upper regions of the glacier than is melting below the firn line.