There’s one glacial lake, the Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon, that an estimated 40 percent of the tourists in Iceland visit. The glacier and surrounding landscape is protected as part of the 5,815 acres (2,353 ha) Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area, a federally designated unit of the Tongass National Forest. "We've made a lot of top 10 lists lately - you know that 'you have to come here before a certain time' before the glaciers melt and see the glaciers," she said. Welling says that Iceland’s parks have not traditionally considered climate change in their park plans, so now park managers have to strategize around the shifting rates and figure out ways to handle tourists coming to the parks. In that span, the measured volume of the glacier has receded from 1,221,782 square meters to 270,426 square meters meaning that the glacier has … There are marking stakes alongside the river with the year the glacier was at that point. Last year alone, the Exit Glacier melted and retreated 187 feet (57 meters) toward the Harding ice field, which itself has lost 10 percent of its mass since 1950, mainly due to climate change. And as ice sheets disappear, many glaciers are becoming more accessible—and unstable. Over tens of thousands of years massive sheets of ice slowly slid and chewed away at the rock carving out these valleys. It briefs clients on safety, and the guides know the glacier well; Exit Glacier moves downhill about a foot a day in the summer, changing the nature of the ice day by day. "It's quite interesting to see it change that fast," she said. The year 1998 wasn’t that long ago. The majority of sediment eroded by the glacier … Need to appreciate such wonderful glaciers seen in Alaska as each year continues, the glaciers are slowly fading away as weather continues to warm up. "The glaciers are continuing to shrink every year and at some point they will be gone," said Dan Fagre, a scientist with the United States Geological Survey who's been studying glaciers in Glacier National Park for 20 years. This boom in “glacier tourism” seems to be dually spurred, at least in part, by climate change: For one, people seem eager to glimpse the majestic monuments of ice before they melt away. Photographed May 17 in Kenai Fjords National Park. Lot of silt seen flowing in the melted ice water below Exit Glacier. Glaciers in Iceland, like other places, recede at different rates each year depending on a variety of conditions. There were once 150 glaciers in the park. All are located in mountain ranges, notably the Himalayas; the Alps; the Pyrenees; Rocky Mountains; the Caucasus and Pacific Coast Ranges of North America; the PatagonianAndes in South America; and mountain range… At the end of the Little Ice Age around 1850, there were about 80 glaciers in what would eventually become Glacier National Park. The glaciers have been shrinking since 1850. “[Accidents] on the snow bridges and snow caves, that’s inexperience,” Kreznar says. “One side of it is people who are basically ignorant to it, and [the other side is] people knowingly taking risks.”, The 5-year-old boy who was hit by the rock from Worthington Glacier earlier this year was hiking with his family on a commonly used trail in a state recreation site. Ben Tracy is a CBS News White House correspondent based in Washington, D.C. Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the our 24/7 digital news network. Exit Glacier has receded so much over the last 40 years that where the parking lot to the hike is now, the glacier was just 40 years ago! A view of Montana's Glacier National Park. Some are mountaineers making attempts on dangerous climbs across glaciers, like a Slovakian man who slid deep into a crevasse on the Kahiltna Glacier while trying to descend Alaska’s Denali in 2017. Since then, Exit’s rate of retreat has sped up alarmingly, and the glacier is now retreating both in winter and summer. Exit Glacier at Kenai Fjords National Park was one of the stops for the president, where he pointed out that the glacier has receded more than 1.5 miles, and melting faster each year. About the Glaciers in Glacier National Park. Spring arrives about three weeks earlier, and the snow pack has been declining for 50 years. Exit Glacier's melting has accelerated in recent years. Five percent of the state is still covered in ice: there are about 2,000 major glaciers. "It's spectacular," Obama said, casting a glance over his shoulder and pausing, as the cameras clicked. The glaciers With global warming that is moving in right before our eyes, Exit Glacier has receded quite a bit the past 21 years. The organization has added more warning signs and tries to remind people that glaciers can be dangerous, she says: “There are trails that go up to the toe of the glacier … but you know, people can’t resist scrambling up the sides. We want to hear what you think about this article. On warm days, tourists can watch rivulets of water run off the surfaces of the ice, draining away into streams. Portland State University, offering opportunity to 27,000 students from all backgrounds, is Oregon’s only urban public research university. "This is a huge portion of our fresh water on this Earth," Holloway said. That's huge.". The Retreat of Exit Glacier.pdf. Lee Hunt, the executive director of the Valdez Adventure Alliance, which operates the park containing Worthington Glacier, says about 100,000 unique visitors make their way to the site every year. "I can remember exactly where a lot of these glaciers used to be, and see how much smaller they are.". Yet scientists say climate change, fueled by human pollution, has made them melt quicker and more extreme. Fairly easy walk with a path the first part of the way. Now there are just 25, and scientists believe in the next 10 to 20 years, they could all be gone. Boats are increasingly used to cross the widening lake at the glacier’s foot. You will notice the flush toilets … All appear to be part of a growing recognition that many of nature’s most picturesque scenes are fragile and changing. The retreat began in the 1800s when Alaska was still Russian territory. There could come a day when you'd have to travel quite a bit north to see glaciers, such as in Alaska. Glaciers growing on Glacier Peak, WA 16 Oct 08 – Email from reader Before I moved to CO in 2005 it was obvious that the glaciers and snow had receded and rock was visible in areas all the way to the peak. Last year alone, the Exit Glacier melted and retreated 57 metres toward the Harding ice field, which itself has lost 10 per ent of its mass since 1950, mainly due to climate change. Sad how much the glacier has receded in … Remember, this was a 2-mile hike to get to the glacier from the parking area, so Exit Glacier has receded around 2 miles over that timeframe. (CBS News) Two million people visit Montana's Glacier National Park each year, and most go to see one of the park's namesake masses of ice. On a single day last July, two people were killed at separate glaciers in south-central Alaska: A 32-year-old woman was crushed by a collapsing ice ceiling on Byron Glacier, and a 5-year-old boy was hit by a rock falling from Worthington Glacier. Exit Glacier imaged by a RapidEye satellite on September 10, 2010. The ice field receives over 400 inches of snow a year, which eventually compacts into ice. Wedgemount Glacier receded 34.8 metres last year, according to local researcher Karl Ricker. In 1938, it covered nearly an entire valley. I wish I had seen it even 15-20 years ago. In just one year between 2013 and 2014, scientists recorded a retreat of approximately 187 feet. Between 1981 and 2009, it started to quickly shrink. Emily … Still, it’s likely that people visiting glaciers may not anticipate consequences quite as immediate as dislodged half-ton chunks of ice. Most summer days, Trevor Kreznar leads visitors up this path to give them the chance to walk across the glacier and climb down into the crevasses. As people flock to see the world’s receding frozen wonders, they’re also encountering freak accidents. Lot of silt seen flowing in the melted ice water below Exit Glacier. It was one of those wrong place, wrong time tragedies that seem unlikely to happen again. The river that begins at the glacier is rather clean and cold and empties out near a gravel pit outside of town – Seward. pace, and on Tuesday saw a glacier that might be moving a bit faster than some pieces of legislation. The glaciers and snow melt feed the streams and lakes, a lifeline for fish and the other animals, such as big horn sheep that call the area home. Since 1961, the world has lost 10.6 trillion tons of ice and snow. But the closure “is mostly just to keep people from going up the sides of the glacier,” says Mark Walters, who works in the Exit Glacier visitor center. “Some folks are really into the environmental aspect of it, some folks are really into the science aspects of it, some folks are definitely just into the aesthetics of it. Bear Glacier, the largest glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park, has two distinct medial moraines. With hotter summers, some wild flowers are already disappearing. And then you have other folks who are really into the athleticism of it,” Kreznar says. The sign says “Exit Glacier Was Here.” The year: 1998. That trend is not unique to North America. Holloway said people are coming to the glacier now because they know they have a short time to see the glaciers. Reserved. All Rights But on our hike to Exit Glacier, we couldn’t miss the impacts of climate change. Kreznar, Hunt, and Welling all said one reason many tourists gave for wanting to see glaciers is because of the feeling that it was their last chance to do so. The managers now close the area at the base of the glacier each summer to protect people from falling ice, snow, and rocks. In the summer of 1987, a woman visiting Alaska was crushed by a 1,000-pound chunk of ice. To date, there haven’t been many incidents of injury on Iceland’s glaciers, says Hans Welling, a researcher with the University of Iceland who has written about glacier tourism. In 2015, the last year with satellite imagery available, there were 26 named glaciers that met the size criteria of 0.1 km², nine fewer than in 1966. It is beyond astonishing. The result is that places such as Exit Glacier are not only witnessing more tourists than ever crossing rocky, dangerous terrain; they’re also becoming better poised for those wrong place, wrong time misfortunes. (CBS News) Two million people visit Montana's Glacier National Park each year, and most go to see one of the park's namesake masses of ice. In recent years, people have been increasingly flocking to the world’s glaciers. But the glaciers are melting much faster than scientists predicted just a few years ago, and could be gone entirely in just a decade. But in the three decades since Grabenauer’s death, it has happened again—in Alaska and around the rest of the world. "And when they're gone - we lose that. “There are some very popular glaciers because they come in on a very shallow bay and they recede on a 100-meter-a-year basis,” he says. (The 1992 climbing season on Denali saw 11 deaths in a single three-week period, according to the Alaska Division of Public Health.) The water melting from a glacier plays a very important role in the formation of depositional features at terrestrial glaciers. Holloway took CBS News across two turquoise lakes formed by glacial runoff and then led the crew on a hike five miles up the side of a mountain to the top of Grinell Glacier, one of the park's most iconic ice sheets. Climate change is a slow creep: Often the shifts happen too gradually for people to see them in action. Every year, the Kenai Fjords National Park officers get complaints about tourists not being able to get close enough to Exit Glacier. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone. In 1998, you could touch the glacier at this spot. Located three hours from Anchorage near Seward, the Kenai Fjords National Park is famous for its tidewater glaciers that calve into the water and its pristine beauty. It was the year of Impeachment, Lewinsky and The Big Lebowski. As you drive into the park, you will be both amazed and saddened to see just how far the glacier has receded in the last 100 years. In just one year in 2013, Exit Glacier receded around 180 feet! Exit Glacier: Beautiful park, sad to see how much the glacier has receded - See 857 traveler reviews, 767 candid photos, and great deals for Kenai Fjords National Park, AK, at Tripadvisor. Last year, 2.9 million visitors came to the park. According to news reports at the time, Thais Grabenauer, 59, had been taking pictures with her husband at the foot of Exit Glacier, a towering wall of ice that’s one of the most popular attractions in Kenai Fjords National Park. Since 1966, 11 of them have completely melted away. I took the National Park Service table above, added 600 meters of retreat since 1974 based on the map in the Anchorage Daily News, and graphed the retreat rates since 1815. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com. “I would say maybe 10 percent of the [customers] have been on a glacier before,” Kreznar estimates. Standing near the foot of the Exit Glacier, which has receded 1.25 miles since 1815 and 187 feet last year alone, Obama said “this is as good of a signpost of what we’re dealing with it comes to climate change as just about anything.” Glacier National Park has 37 named glaciers and they are one of the reasons people come to Glacier each year. In 2003, 10 percent of the park burned.From the air, you can see the ashen scar stretch across entire hillsides and valleys. The glacier had an average retreat of roughly 6/10 of a mile each century or one kilometer each century. The glacier was retreating much faster before 1918 than it has … Wooden signposts lined the trail, each of them marked with white numbers indicating where the glacier’s edge used to be in a given year. In the last century the glacier, just one of many in the park, has receded several miles. Now that some of [the glaciers] are receding, they have to extend their infrastructure.”. Glaciers, on the other hand, are disappearing in real time. Deaths like these remain rare, but they’re also telling cases of a broader trend. In 16 years, the glacier has receded dramatically. Credit: Ron Karpilo/NPS CBSNews.com Not everyone shares this track record of safety. The victims of climate change are already here. Yet the twilight of Montana's glaciers is not just about the changing scenery. The growing risks to travelers on melting glaciers are cruel reminders of all the smaller-scale and sometimes unpredictable damages climate change can inflict—even in the places where its broadest impacts are most visible. The glacier has retreated more than 0.3 kilometers (0.19 miles) since 1919, retreating at an average rate of about 4.0 meters (13 feet) per year. The glacier is just east of the small city of Valdez, which is wreathed by glaciers, some of which are remote while others are highway accessible. Kreznar works for Exit Glacier Guides, a guiding business that has operated for 14 seasons, over which it has more than doubled its number of guides due to increased demand. In July/August the mosquito's are hungry so be prepared with spray, long sleeves and a hat. From the ground we can see evidence of the retreat over just one year. Exit Glacier, which the Park Service says got over 181,500 visitors last year, is not Alaska's only walk-up glacier, albeit with a walk that has been getting longer as the glacier shrivels. Every year, nearly 300,000 people come to Kenai Fjords National Park, which sprawls along the southern coast of Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula and includes the vast majority of the Harding Icefield. © 2012 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. Exit Glacier is the sole glacier accessible by road in the park. The entrance to Exit Glacier, for instance, has signs along the road and the trail that have years on them to show how much the glacier has receded in roughly 100 years. "I just find that a glacier sounds pretty permanent, and all of a sudden it's like, 'no way it can't change that quickly,' and yet it is.". But the glaciers are melting much … There are bridges scattered around the country built to cross streams that have since moved entirely out from under them. He reached another post reading “1951” - a marker for the edge of Alaska’s Exit Glacier that year - and gazed up toward where the rock-rutted ice mass has since receded, a quarter-mile away. Exit Glacier, in Alaska's Kenai Fjords National Park. See Alaska's Hubbard Glacier advancing 7 feet per day! Jonathan Ernst / Reuters Laurel Meeks, who first hiked to Grinell 23 years ago, is shocked by how much of it is gone. Now that glaciers have moved farther back, some entrepreneurs are opening other tour options on glacial lakes, such as kayaking. The Bathrooms At Exit Glacier Nature Center Are Surprisingly Clean. The only way to walk up to it now in the summer is to hike a mountain pass and cross several deep, fast rivers on a glacial plain. The signs were sobering: Exit Glacier has receded … In 2009, for instance, two brothers crossed a safety barrier on New Zealand’s Fox Glacier and were buried under a collapsing ice shelf. Copyright © 2020 CBS Interactive Inc.All rights reserved. The average temperature in the park has risen two degrees. "From 1941 to 1951 it averaged 46.6 metres per year and in 1969 to 1972 it was 36.6 metres per year. But now, these frozen forces of nature are in full-scale retreat. Gorgeous view down Resurrection River. During the retreat of Exit Glacier from its Little Ice Age maximum in 1815 until recent times, the glacier has left a series of more than 11 moraines and retreated more than 1.25 miles (2 km).
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