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Glacier National Park to have no glaciers by 2030

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Glaciers Disappear in Before & After Photos

By Bjorn Carey

LiveScience Staff Writer

posted: 24 March 2006

02:10 pm ET

Glacier National Park might soon need a new name.

The Montana park has 26 named glaciers today, down from 150 in 1850. Those that remain are typically mere remnants of their former frozen selves, a new gallery of before and after images reveals.

060324_glacier_pics_01.jpg

All arguments about global warming aside, now is a time of clear retreat by age-old ice packs in many locations around the world. Some retreat just a few inches or feet per year, but others are melting faster than a snow cone in Texas.

030324_glacierB_03.jpg

80 feet per day

Montana might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of glaciers. Elsewhere, however, the situation is similar.

The Columbia Glacier in Prince William Sound, the world's fastest-melting glacier, slides into the ocean at a rate of 80 feet per day. This tidewater glacier is up to 3,000 feet thick, but it has thinned up to 1,300 feet in places during the past 25 years, and researchers say it's stretching like taffy. Each year, it dumps 2 cubic miles of ice into the sound.

In Greenland it's not uncommon nowadays for glaciers to recede several miles in one year.

Fast or slow, the melting is usually a gradual process compared to, say, a flooded, rushing river. But sometimes glaciers can weaken to the point where they suddenly, and noisily, collapse. One dramatic example of a quick break is the Larsen B ice shelf in Antarctica (this collapse also revealed a surprisingly thriving underwater world).

Along with glacial melting, permafrost around the globe is turning to mush, causing ground to simply collapse.

All this melting might lead one to believe that land is being freed up, but a new study suggests just the opposite. Melting glaciers, a result of global warming, could cause sea levels to rise as much as three feet per century, submerging coastal regions.

Summers in parts of the Arctic could be ice free in the next 100 years, which could prove daunting for the existence of polar bears.

Closer to home

Ice in Glacier National Park is also disappearing.

In 1997 the U.S. Geological Survey began the Repeat Photography Project in the Montana park to compare how glaciers have changed over the last century. Photographers returned to locations where old-timers had taken photos long before they could possibly have imagined their scientific value. Locating these vantage points was the trickiest part of the project, as some required extensive off-trail hiking.

The before and after pictures [Gallery] released this week are dramatic—all that remains of some glaciers are big puddles. Others have simply faded away to expose bare mountainsides. The images were taken at similar times of year under similar conditions.

Based on the pictures and global recession rates, scientists predict that the park will be glacier free by 2030.

While global warming gets most of the blame for glacier recession, soot pollution from automobiles and industrial chimneys might also play a role. Clean, shiny ice reflects sunlight and remains cool. But dirty, soot-covered ice absorbs more warmth from the sun, causing a glacier to melt more quickly.

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This is very bad news.

I've always wanted to visit Glacier. I will have to make a point to take the wife and kids there before too long. Have you ever been?

Thanks for the very cool info :applause:

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Stuff like this is both fascinating and disturbing. On the surface it seems rather innocent but, the more you think about...the more unsettling it becomes.

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Stuff like this is both fascinating and disturbing. On the surface it seems rather innocent but, the more you think about...the more unsettling it becomes.

Why is it unsettling. The glaciers have not always been there. And glaciers will be back in the future. This cycle has no bearing on any portion of our lives that we can control.

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Why is it unsettling. The glaciers have not always been there. And glaciers will be back in the future. This cycle has no bearing on any portion of our lives that we can control.

Yes, there is a natural cycle of global warming that causes glacial melting, but the rate of glacial recession may have been increased beyond natural levels due to pollution:

While global warming gets most of the blame for glacier recession, soot pollution from automobiles and industrial chimneys might also play a role. Clean, shiny ice reflects sunlight and remains cool. But dirty, soot-covered ice absorbs more warmth from the sun, causing a glacier to melt more quickly.

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Yes, there is a natural cycle of global warming that causes glacial melting, but the rate of glacial recession may have been increased beyond natural levels due to pollution:

What are natural levels? You mean natural rates.

I am just not convinced that 100 of industrial history can lay claim to significant global warming. This is an interesting conversation that I do not want to debate. But I did take cross country trip to Anaheim a month ago.

It is amazing when 35,000 feet in the air how little of our land is inhabited. I am not saying that localized warming happens in cities where pavement runs for hundreds of city block.

But to say that these glaciers are melting "because" of global warming does seem to be a reach if indeed we are blaming pollution as the culprit.

That is a LOT of energy coming from the sun. A sun we have no control over.

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Why is it unsettling. The glaciers have not always been there. And glaciers will be back in the future. This cycle has no bearing on any portion of our lives that we can control.

Neither does the cycle of large-scale meteor impacts, but I find those unsettling as well.

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Neither does the cycle of large-scale meteor impacts, but I find those unsettling as well.

Indeed.....

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I am just not convinced that 100 of industrial history can lay claim to significant global warming. This is an interesting conversation that I do not want to debate. But I did take cross country trip to Anaheim a month ago.

But to say that these glaciers are melting "because" of global warming does seem to be a reach if indeed we are blaming pollution as the culprit.

That is a LOT of energy coming from the sun. A sun we have no control over.

While many claim that global warming is solely due to pollution/industry, that was not my claim. My position is that current global warming is due to a combination of natural processes and human processes. What the ratio is of each in contributing to global warming is up for debate.

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Glacier is gorgeous. They have know for quite some time the glaciers there are disappearing. I would recommend visiting sooner rather than later as the famous glaciers are already evaporating quickly ...

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Montana's melting glaciers: The poster-child for climate change

(CNN) -- As recently as 100 years ago, Montana's Glacier National Park had more than 150 glaciers throughout its more than one million acres.

In 2005 only 27 remained. Today the total is down to a just 25 and those that are left are mere remnants of their former frozen selves.

With warmer temperatures and changes to the water cycle, scientists predict Glacier National Park will be glacier-free by 2030.

Daniel Fagre, a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) ecologist who works at the national park believes that even those estimates are too conservative and says the park's namesakes will be gone about ten years ahead of their predicted demise.

Glacier National Park has been the poster-child park for climate change.

--Chas Cartwright, Glacier National Park Superintendent. "The glaciers have been around for the last seven thousand years," he told CNN, "and if we are going to lose them in the next 10 or 20 years that is a pretty radical shift."

The rapid melting of glaciers has led scientists to believe that mountains are more susceptible to global warming than the lowlands beneath them.

"Mountain ecosystems have been changing about twice as fast as the rest of the globe. We have had temperature increases that are two times greater than the average," said Fagre.

Many scientists are now concerned about the cascading effects on the landscape and the consequences for all species -- including humans.

"Many people are directly dependent on the water coming out of mountains and in the arid western United States that figure is much larger, it is about 85 percent," said Fagre.

"So even if you live a long ways a way you are tied to the water in mountains and so we have a lot of concerns of future climate change scenarios."

Fagre says mountains are the "water towers of the world" with 70 percent of the world's fresh water frozen in glaciers.

Click on the link for the full article and a slideshow

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Why is it unsettling. The glaciers have not always been there. And glaciers will be back in the future. This cycle has no bearing on any portion of our lives that we can control.

I do agree that its a natural course of life but what if its not? I think there is an argument to both sides of global warming, the idea that we can not or do not destroy our planet is just simply ignorant! Time will tell about all of our theories, I would worry a bit more than just blaming nature for it.

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Think of all the bottles of pure drinking water and beer that could be made from those glaciers. :rolleyes:

So in 160 years, 124 glaciers have added to the Montana water table a lot before Dubba Ya and the evil GOP and those SUVs were around.

Greenland was green once and Iceland was a land of ice.

What did we selfish Americans do to change that????

When Greenland becomes green again will our President apologize and should we give fur coat and parka makers in Greenland a bailout? :D

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So in 160 years, 124 glaciers have added to the Montana water table a lot before Dubba Ya and the evil GOP and those SUVs were around.

Were you under the impression that Bush and the GOP had been blamed for climate change? That's funny.

Just keep on supporting environmental policy that amounts to don't ask don't tell.

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the problem with environmental policy is the same as converting to the metric system. it's necessary, but too damn expensive.

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What are natural levels? You mean natural rates.

I am just not convinced that 100 of industrial history can lay claim to significant global warming. This is an interesting conversation that I do not want to debate. But I did take cross country trip to Anaheim a month ago.

You sound so much like the industry chief of a few decades ago who justified dumping his chemicals into the local watertable and rivers to reduce his clean up costs.

You'd say, "How could the tiny ammount of toxic waste I dump into this river possibly harm anyone? This river's been flowing for millions of years and has been exposed to all sorts of events. The few tons of material I dump are insignificant next to the number of gallons of water that rushes through this river every day. My dumping could not possibly make anyone sick. It will be too dilute to cause any harm."

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That is a LOT of energy coming from the sun. A sun we have no control over.

Some of that energy gets reflected back into space. Some of that energy stays here. Release of greenhouse gasses increases the latter.

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I wish they would make up their minds;)

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.6f90940f6d9bb44d73f1c586d3a44fbb.8c1&show_article=1

Scientists found that a decline in the Sun's activity did not lead as expected to a cooling of the Earth, a surprise finding that could have repercussions for computer models on climate change.

The Sun's activity is known to wax and wane over 11-year cycles, which means that in theory the amount of radiation reaching Earth declines during the "waning" phase.

The new study was carried out between 2004 and 2007 during a solar waning phase.

The amount of energy in the ultraviolet part of the energy spectrum fell, the researchers found.

But, contrary to expectation, radiation in the visible part of the energy spectrum increased, rather than declined, which caused a warming effect.

The investigation, based mainly on satellite data, is important because of a debate over how far global warming is attributable to Man or to natural causes.

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The amount of energy in the ultraviolet part of the energy spectrum fell, the researchers found.

But, contrary to expectation, radiation in the visible part of the energy spectrum increased, rather than declined, which caused a warming effect.

This seems like an obvious result. If the Sun's surface cools there will be a shift of energy from the UV to visible wavelengths. UV is absorbed in the upper atmosphere while visible reaches the surface where it has a greater warming effect.

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This seems like an obvious result. If the Sun's surface cools there will be a shift of energy from the UV to visible wavelengths. UV is absorbed in the upper atmosphere while visible reaches the surface where it has a greater warming effect.

And yet they have credited cooling to the solar minimum

puzzling?

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/15jul_thermosphere/

A Puzzling Collapse of Earth's Upper Atmosphere

added OT

Been there several times,cool place glaciers or no.

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I wish they would make up their minds;)

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.6f90940f6d9bb44d73f1c586d3a44fbb.8c1&show_article=1

Scientists found that a decline in the Sun's activity did not lead as expected to a cooling of the Earth, a surprise finding that could have repercussions for computer models on climate change.

The Sun's activity is known to wax and wane over 11-year cycles, which means that in theory the amount of radiation reaching Earth declines during the "waning" phase.

The new study was carried out between 2004 and 2007 during a solar waning phase.

The amount of energy in the ultraviolet part of the energy spectrum fell, the researchers found.

But, contrary to expectation, radiation in the visible part of the energy spectrum increased, rather than declined, which caused a warming effect.

The investigation, based mainly on satellite data, is important because of a debate over how far global warming is attributable to Man or to natural causes.

from your own article:

Insisting on caution, Haigh said that if the Sun turned out to have a warming effect during the "waning" part of the cycle, it might also turn out to have a cooling effect during the "waxing" part of the cycle.

In that case, greenhouse gases would be more to blame than thought for the perceptible rise in global temperatures over the past century.

:whoknows:

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notice the title above the last 1,000,000 years or so:

Rapid Glacier Cycles

65_Myr_Climate_Change.png

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What would we do without our resident scientists who are not actually scientists.

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