Thursday, June 14, 2007

Glacier National Park

No more glaciers in Glacier National Park?

Park officials see global warming as the main reason why glaciers and snow caps are retreating in Glacier National Park.

The park, located in Montana, was once home to some 150 glaciers. The past 150 years slowly but surely melted 124 (!) of them away, centimetre by centimetre, inch by inch. National Park officials estimate the last glacier in the park will have vanished in less than 25 years from now.

Elsewhere in the world, it’s not much better. Temperatures in Antarctica have risen dramatic in the last 50 years! Not much better in the Canadian Arctic. Temperatures rose to 3 degrees Celsius above normal. And a gigantic 66 square kilometres (that’s 11,000 football fields!) chunk of ice, the Ayles ice shelf, broke off Ellesmere Island in the Canadian North. It was one of the last six ice shelves – floating ice connected to land – left in Canada.

Government and state officials are beginning to see how serious the problem of global warming is. Even the recent G-8 summit in Germany put the worldwide rising temperature on its agenda. If this will make a difference is another story…

Images of the calving of the Ayles Ice Shelf can be seen on the Web site of Environment Canada.