Watch: How researchers study glacial lake outburst floods in Juneau

The AK CASC has released the second video in a short series on glacial outburst flooding at Suicide Basin in Juneau. Following the first video, the recent addition highlights research in the basin and how scientists collaborate to give Juneau residents advance flood warning.

Outburst floods, which occur when water dammed by a glacier suddenly releases and floods downstream areas, have occurred from Suicide Basin almost every year since 2011, when the glacier-dammed lake first began forming during the summer months. This summer, Suicide Basin began to drain sub-glacially into Mendenhall Lake on July 30th after spilling over the top of the ice dam for 5-6 days. The Mendenhall Lake rose almost 6 ft to go above moderate flood stage and crested at 11.53 ft in the early morning of August 1st. This crest was 2.5 ft above minor flood stage of 9 ft and was the 3rd highest crest of record.

A collaborative team of researchers from the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS), the City and Borough of Juneau, the National Weather Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, and the Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Center, which provided the primary funding for the study, have been monitoring the basin for several years to better understand and predict flooding events.

Current conditions

For the latest information on conditions in the basin, visit the Suicide Basin web page hosted by the National Weather Service.