NatGeo on Global Melting, Big Thaw

June 10, 2007 at 3:57 pm | Posted in Antarctica, Climate change, Glaciers, Greenland, Ice sheets | Leave a comment

“In 1995, when we predicted the disappearance of the glaciers, very few people believed us,” Ramírez says. “We were accused of being alarmist. But now it has come to pass.”

June 2007 National Geographic Magazine has the full chilling story on Global Melting, Big Thaw. The four-page article (which I am going to read again tomorrow) ends with the stark reality:

From many people whose lives are bound up with ice—scientists, mountaineers, ordinary people who live near the glaciers—you hear a note of mourning.

Glacier National Park in Montana is a fitting emblem for the great change sweeping the world’s cold places. Dan Fagre has studied the glaciers in the park for 15 years. A scientist for the U.S. Geological Survey, he has the numbers at his fingertips: 27 glaciers left in the park out of 150 a century ago, 90 percent of the ice volume gone. He gives the remainder another 25 years. “It will be the first time in at least 7,000 years that this landscape has not had glaciers.”

As a scientist, he is fascinated to watch a planet being transformed. As a human being, he feels the loss of a beloved landscape. “When I go to some of the glaciers I know well, I come over the ridge, and I don’t even have to pull out maps or photos,” he says. “I can just look and go, Oh my gosh, that whole area’s gone.” Another icy landmark, seemingly as permanent as the mountains themselves, has vanished in the heat.


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