Exactly why the glacier is growing while others around the world are shrinking is a bit mysterious. A 2003 reportwas based on modeling a scenario of doubling pre-industrial atmospheric CO2 levels by 2030, which would have melted the park’s major glaciers – and presumably the minor ones, too – by 2030. The reality: The glaciers in GNP are shrinking. Despite recent cold winters, warmer-than-average summer temperatures have been erasing all the wintertime gains, and then some. The evidence presented is a single, blurry photograph snapped from an overlook along a popular park road, and a video that compares a cell phone photo to an image of Grinnell Glacier on a park recycling bin. In Glacier National Park (GNP), USGS scientists define glaciers according to the commonly accepted guideline in which a body of ice has an area of at least 0.1 km2 (100,000 m2), or about 25 acres. Scientists predict that, by the year 2030, the glaciers that give their name to Glacier National Park will be gone. Caitlyn Florentine, a glaciologist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center, is one of several scientists charged with keeping an eye on the park’s glaciers. The U.S. Geological Survey spells it out in plain language: “Despite occasional big winters or frigid weeks that occur, the glaciers of GNP, like most glaciers worldwide, are melting as long-term average temperatures increase.”. The myth: Glaciers are growing in Glacier National Park, and the National Park Service doesn’t want you to know about it. “Officials at Glacier National Park (GNP) have begun quietly removing and altering signs and government literature which told visitors that the Park’s glaciers were all expected to disappear by either 2020 or 2030” because of climate change. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Glacier National Park covers a huge swath of land, yielding plenty of accommodation options. The National Park Service has quietly removed all the signs put up by the Obama administration that told visitors that the glaciers would “all be gone” by the year 2020 due to global warming… because… it’s 2019, and the glaciers are all still there and have been growing. Park officials have known that the glaciers would still be intact come 2020 since 2017, when they learned that the US Geological Survey forecast model had changed, spokeswoman Gina Kurzmen tells CNN. The Matterhorn in Switzerland and Italy (and its copy in Disneyland, California) is a glacial horn. But – and this bears repeating – the claim is false. (Some signs even tell visitors that the glaciers may be gone by 2020.) The page about climate change bears a stark headline: “This rapid rate of warming is melting the park’s glaciers, increasing the severity and likelihood of wildfires, and shifting wildlife habitat.” The caption on a graph of CO2 and temperature over the past 400,000 years leaves no doubt about the cause of warming: “In the past century, human activities have emitted a significant amount of CO2, which is causing the Earth to heat up – and glaciers to melt – at an alarming rate.”, One element of deliberate misinformation is that it often contains a grain of truth. Get discount Code We've received your submission. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. 78,524, This story has been shared 69,149 times. 39,086, © 2020 NYP Holdings, Inc. All Rights Reserved Titled “Glacier National Park Quietly Removes Its ‘Gone by 2020′ Signs,” Roots’ describes a scramble by federal park officials to hide or … Accessed June 13, 2016. May 30, 2019. “Almost everywhere, the Park’s specific claims of impending glacier disappearance have been replaced with more nuanced messaging indicating that … Glaciers Appear to be Growing, not Melting in Recent Years. Alas, it isn’t. Florentine summarized the findings as an “overall, consistent trend of mass loss” which she described as “pretty striking, considering that the benchmark glaciers are in such different climate settings.”, Echoing USGS, the National Park Service is unequivocal on its website: “the park’s glaciers are all getting smaller,” explains the park’s webpage about glaciers. Accessed June 13, 2016. The signs have been updated to say, “When they will completely disappear, however, depends on how and when we act.”, Another sign that used to have the 2020 date now reads, “Some glaciers melt faster than others, but one thing is consistent: the glaciers in the park are shrinking.”. Waitress takes home $2K tip after claiming she was stiffed by restaurant, Family speaks out after boy shoots himself during Zoom class, 5 MTA high-rollers busted for allegedly raking in OT while bowling, running a 5K, YouTuber arrested after nearly naked, pregnant girlfriend dies in livestream, Popular host out at ESPN after network 'blindsided' him. After publication of that report, field observations showed glacier melt to be years ahead of the projections, causing scientists in 2010 t… If that were actually happening, it would be welcome news, and as the blog author hints, it would indeed be newsworthy. Placards at the park’s St. Mary Visitor Center have been updated, Kurzmen says, and signs at two other park locations are awaiting budget authorization to be replaced in the future. Do Not Sell My Personal Information. The site that made these claims turns out to be mostly that of a single person who writes a blog espousing libertarian themes, while crediting himself as “the only research institution challenging the government’s Glacier Park climate hysteria.”, The blog post goes on to chastise the media for ignoring its assertions: “No mainstream news outlet has done any meaningful reporting regarding the apparent stabilization and recovery of the glaciers in GNP over the past decade.”. Enter email for instant 15% discount code & free shipping. The glaciers at Glacier National Park probably formed after the Holocene Climatic Optimum and reached their maximum extent in the mid-1800’s toward the end of the Little Ice Age. The signs of climate change may be most visceral on a local level, but preserving what remains of the glaciers requires dramatically scaling back greenhouse gas emissions around the world. If true, that would be welcome news. You can visit their website to learn more about the projects they fund throughout Glacier. On average, the glaciers have reduced by 39 percent and only 26 glaciers are now larger than 25 acres, which is used as a guideline for deciding if bodies of ice are large enough to be considered glaciers. Your Ad Choices The “government is quietly seeking to conceal some of its hysterical claims,” reads one claim. The data include scientific information for the 37 named glaciers in Glacier National Park and two glaciers on U.S. Forest Service land. While Montana’s winters often are impressively cold, the state is warming at nearly twice the rate of the globe on average. Arctic wildfires are lasting longer and burning more intensely, 'Zombie fires' a growing risk in the warming Arctic. Visit Glacier virtually with the park's webcams! Funding for these webcams comes, in part, from the Glacier National Park Conservancy. Species like the whitebark pine are now more vulnerable to an increase in blister rust infections, beetle infestations and wildfire. This alluring falsehood appeared in a denialist blog earlier this summer (June 2019) and quickly spread to several others. Between 1966 and 2015, every named glacier in the park got smaller, some by more than 80%. As the myth was repeated across multiple denier websites, the situation was described as the Park Service’s being “forced to admit” it had been wrong and “scrambling to remove the signs without their visitors noticing.”. Trees burned by the 2017 Sprague Creek Fire in Glacier National Park in September 2019. An arête where three or more glaciers meet to form a peak is called a horn. While the projected melting date has been pushed forward, the glaciers are far from being out of harm’s way, park reps say. – Going-to-the-Sun Road, the mountain pass that connects the east and west sides of Montana's Glacier National Park, is free of snow and ahead of schedule. USGS Satellite images show the rapid retreat of Sperry Glacier, one of 39 ice sheets in Montana's Glacier National Park, since 1966. These tall, singular landforms are also called pyramidal peaks. Glacier was established as a national park on May 11, 1910, America’s 10 th national park. The original estimates of the timing of glacier melt were based on two things: modeled projections of the glaciers’ response to warming, and direct observations of glacial retreat. A 2017 USGS report suggests that as glaciers retreat upward in elevation, they become more resistant to melting. “It’s measurement-intensive,” she said in a video call from her West Glacier office. Loathe to let actual science get in the way of a good story, some climate contrarians have played up the idea that the updated signs are evidence that the government had been withholding the truth from the public. Perito Moreno is one of the only glaciers in the world that is growing instead of shrinking. However, strict maintenance budgets belated the park’s ability to begin changing the signs until recently. 69,149, This story has been shared 39,086 times. Below this size, the ice is generally stagnant and does not move, unless it is on a steep slope. As scientists continue to warn about melting glaciers in the Antarctic, one key glacier in Greenland is growing again, NASA says. Thus a picture of a glacier taken in June or July will always show the glacier much larger than will a photo taken in early September. This is just one of many examples where interpretive signs in the national parks are updated to reflect emerging science. Official Park literature claims that all glaciers in GNP are predicted to melt away by the year 2030. Jakobshavn Glacier in western Greenland is notorious for being the world’s fastest-moving glacier. Webcams are located throughout the park to provide views of the vast diversity of landscapes found in Glacier. Glaciers are “dynamic and flowing landforms,” explained Florentine, and new understanding of the intricacies of glacier retreat can help clarify why the remaining glaciers are more persistent than once thought. Your California Privacy Rights Both glaciers have gotten progressively smaller, and their overall footprints shrank by 8.4% and 5.8% respectively, in the 10-year period between 2005 and 2015. For more than 10 years, Glacier National Park in Montana had signs that said all of its namesake glaciers would be gone by 2020. This story appears to have been triggered when the Park Service changed three signs about projected dates when the glaciers might melt completely. Thus, new research continues to shed light on the subject. Privacy Notice In 2018, a wildfire in the park destroyed structures and forced evacuations. Comparing one year (“circa 1952”) to another year (“2005’) can be highly manipulative. Were it true that Jackson glacier had grown by 30% since 2009, the glacier would be larger now than it was in the 1990s. The death throes of glaciers are an urgent research topic, as streamflow, water supplies, aquatic habitat, and albedo feedback all hinge on the presence of glaciers. The myth gets even more strange. Reflecting on the worldwide loss of glaciers, Florentine underscores “how critical this science is,” particularly when informing policymakers about responses to climate change. This year (2018) it quickly became clear that the glaciers have grown substantially in recent years. One thing is consistent: The glaciers in the park are shrinking.”. Climate variability sometimes causes more snow to accumulate on glaciers, causing them to grow. Terms of Use Do Not Sell My Personal Information, Your California Privacy Rights In late summer when the glaciers are most visible, satellites can capture images to measure the areas of glaciers. Glacier National Park in the U.S. state of Montana is filled with deep glacial valleys and sharp arêtes. “It appears that the National Park Service is trying to hide the fact that the glaciers are growing!”. National Park Service (2016) Glacier National Park: Crown of the Continent. Climate Alarmists Meltdown Over Glacier National Park (Except When They’re Growing) A blog published earlier this month by Roger Roots, an attorney, reveals overheated desperation of a different sort than we tend to hear about in the mainstream media. No need for imaginary secrecy. Never put a time limit on your doomsday predictions. What, then, is the future of the million-acre national park … Fortunately, the topic is getting due attention from legitimate scientists. That’s the case with this myth, too. Since 1895, NOAA data show the two counties that comprise Glacier National Park have warmed nearly 3 degrees F, a trend that is taking a heavy toll on the glaciers. Official Park literature claims that all glaciers in GNP are predicted to melt away by the year 2030. A startling example is seen at the Jackson Glacier overlook on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. © 2020 Yale Climate Connections | Created by Constructive, Inuit activist Sheila Watt-Cloutier on the cultural value of ice and snow. The myth states that Montana’s cold, snowy winters and “extreme amounts of snowfall” have not only halted the decades-long trend of glacier retreat, but in fact, have caused glaciers to expand. These images have generally shown a trend of shrinking area. The cumulative dataset spanning 50 years of glacier monitoring was released in 2017 and is freely available to the public. We now know that’s not the case. “That’s why we turn to science.” Florentine described the work of the USGS as “systematic and reproducible,” a far cry from snapping a photo from the side of the road. A fake “university” claims to have sent a “delegation” of volunteers to check up on the glaciers and see for themselves. The government has erected a sign with two photos: (1) the Glacier in 1911; and (2) the Glacier in 2009. Signs added to Montana’s Glacier National Park over a decade ago forecasting that the park’s signature dense ice formations would be gone by 2020 have been removed. As for reports that Grinnell and Jackson glaciers are growing, data clearly show that’s not the case. Glaciers appear to be growing, not melting in recent years at Glacier National Park. The residual parts of the glaciers are higher, more shaded, and receive more snow deposition from avalanches and windblown snow. 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