The Retreat of Exit Glacier

tumblr_inline_orqmb5KbTF1uik13p_1280According to this article, Exit Glacier has melted back about 1 mile in the past 100 years. It retreated 136 feet in 2015 alone. Here’s the article, which also explains how the increased melting is causing annual flooding in the surrounding areas, requiring expensive infrastructure repairs and planning:

When you visit Kenai Fjords National Park, specifically at the Exit Glacier point, you see signs that the National Parks Service posted, showing the year when the glacier actually extended out to that point in the road. We ended up camping at a beautiful campsite that was in a wooded area where the glacier stood in 1889.

From a National Geographic article that helps explain what we know about why the glaciers are melting, how fast, and what will be the consequences:

Eugene Brower, an Inupiat Eskimo and president of the Barrow Whaling Captains’ Association, doesn’t need fancy parts-per-million measurements of CO2 concentrations or long-term sea-level gauges to tell him that his world is changing.

“It’s happening as we speak,” the 56-year-old Brower says as we drive around his home in Barrow, Alaska—the United States’ northernmost city—on a late August day. In his fire chief’s truck, Brower takes me to his family’s traditional ice cellars, painstakingly dug into the permafrost, and points out how his stores of muktuk—whale skin and blubber recently began spoiling in the fall because melting water drips down to his food stores. Our next stop is the old Bureau of Indian Affairs school building. The once impenetrable permafrost that kept the foundation solid has bucked and heaved so much that walking through the school is almost like walking down the halls of an amusement park fun house.

Here’s the article:

I’m willing to admit that I’m a fan of modern industrialization, and the conveniences that come with it, like cars and being able to eat foods from far away lands on a daily basis. But we all need to accept that we are going to start seeing the effects of our lifestyle soon. Our kids, our nieces and nephews, and their kids are probably going to deal with a lot more problems related to climate change than we ever have. We’re not ones to preach–I mean, we drove up to Alaska in a truck. But, it’s worth saying that being here, surrounded by all this coastline and ice, makes it much more real.

They say that one of the things that is already changing is the salmon. They can’t get as far up as they need to for spawning. Get your lox bagel while you can.


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