Not by Fire but by Ice
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Glacier National Park
31 July 11 - After a year of record snowfall across the west, the New York Times bemoans the death of the glaciers in Glacier National Park.
Somewhat prematurely, I would say.
"Twilight of the Glaciers," headlined the story by Stephen P. Nash, describing his hike in northwest Montana.
"Given that a century and a half ago there were 150 (glaciers) and now there are 25, the trip makes me an enlistee in the practice known by a somewhat prickly term: last-chance tourism," says Nash.
Now Mr. Nash vividly describes the "remote and frigid glory" of the glaciers, and the spectacular view of the Sexton Glacier: "a massive, ragged smear of snow-laden ice, perched just under the sawtooth granite skyline."
Eloquent writing, to be sure.
Then Nash quotes Daniel Fagre, who coordinates climate change and glacial geology studies at the park for the United States Geological Survey. "The retreat of the glaciers began around 1850, he said, as part of a slow, natural climatic variation, but the disappearing act has accelerated during the last hundred years. Until recently, his research projected that, as global warming hit its stride, the park’s glaciers would all be gone by the year 2030. Now he thinks it may be as soon as 2020."
"Outsize snows this past winter, which kept many park roads and trails closed well into July, could briefly forestall the meltdown, but the longer warming trend is inexorable, he said."
Or look at the chart on this page: It shows
temperatures falling in Glacier National Park. Falling. Not rising.
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