All the Glaciers in Glacier National Park Could be Gone in 15 Years

Tuesday, December 02, 2014
(photos: Glacier National Park Archives)

In just 15 years, Glacier National Park may be in need of a new name.


The natural wonder has attracted tourists for generations; a hundred years ago it had as many as 150 ice sheets.


But global warming has taken its toll on Glacier National Park, which by 2030 may lose all of its current glaciers, about 25, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).


And it’s not just glaciers that are disappearing. Water for irrigation downstream is drying up and the trout population has fallen to the point where anglers must catch and release them instead of having them for dinner, according to The New York Times.


The park is warmer all year round. There are three times as many 90-degree-plus days in the summer as there were a century ago and the cold of winter doesn’t last as long.


The agency is now frantically documenting what’s left of the park’s namesakes. A program is underway to photograph the ice sheets before they turn to water.


If that occurs as projected, National Park officials will have to decide whether to keep the name to reflect what once was, or amend it to reflect what will be: no glaciers.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Climate Change Threatens to Strip the Identity of Glacier National Park (by Michael Wines, New York Times)

USGS Repeat Photography Project Documents Retreating Glaciers in Glacier National Park (U.S. Geological Survey)

Retreat of Glaciers in Glacier National Park (U.S. Geological Survey)

Global Warming in Alaska Reveals Remains of 1952 Air Force Crash (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


anonamouse 9 years ago
All gone in 15 years? Wanna bet? More likely, this prediction too will join the AGW Hall of Shame: after the El Nino of 1998 (the warmest year since the '30s) British children famously were never going to experience snow; the Arctic ice cap was supposed to be toast by now; the Himalayas ice free; global temps headed for the Moon; catastrophic hurricanes & killer tornadoes; epidemics; mass starvation. Fail, fail, fail. It should be noted the ice at Glacier National has been receding as part of a natural warming cycle that began in the mid-19th century; the comparisons in the article with conditions "100 years ago" therefore are quite spurious. BTW, I visited GNP last summer: there is a photo taken in the '30s of the glacier at Hidden Lake (Logan Pass); to my lying eye, it looked then very much the same in extent as it does today; in late July there was still ice covering the trail to the overlook, and I think that was a little unusual.

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