A sign in Glacier National Park in Montana has been forced to remove signage about its glaciers. Because climate change has caused irreversible damage to the park’s namesake glaciers, experts created signs that warned guests that the glaciers would be going away. However, they got the date wrong. The signs that have been removed previously said “Goodbye to Glaciers” and called 2020 the year that every glacier would be gone from the famous national park of the American west.
The glaciers in Glacier National Park are shrinking at alarming rates. The shrinkage is a result of “human-caused” climate change.
The sign, which was installed years ago, read: “Computer models indicate the glaciers will all be gone by the year 2020.”
Fortunately, this computer simulation was not accurate. There are still glaciers in the park, although “human-caused” climate change has largely ruined them for tourists.
Park spokeswoman Gina Kurzman addressed the removal of the signs, claiming that the line was originally added after predictions from the United States Geological Survey came in and warned of the catastrophe that threatened the park.
Glacier National Park learned in 2017 that it would NOT lose the entirety of its glaciers by 2020, but “tight maintenance budgets made it impossible” to update the signage to reflect this updated outcome.
Now the Park is expected to work closely with the United States Geological Survey to follow the progression of the park’s glaciers, which are growing smaller every year.
Instead of predicting the year that the park will lose its glaciers, the new sign will warn people about the dangers of climate change in a boarder sense.
“When they will completely disappear, it depends on how and when we act. One thing is consistent: the glaciers in the park are shrinking.”
The new sign is a lot more open-ended because there are far too many factors to consider when trying to estimate the exact date when a glacier will disappear due to human-caused climate change.
According to an article on the National Parks Service website, “In 1966, the park had 35 named glaciers large enough to be considered active. By 2015, only 26 named glaciers remained. The average area reduction was 39 percent, though some lost as much as 85 percent. This trend of glacier retreat is expected to continue as temperatures rise.”
Back when President Howard Taft created the national park in 1910, there were 150 active glaciers. Now, due to climate change, there are only 30 active glaciers. And these are in danger.
The park website added, “Recent studies have revealed the real-world complexity of mountain landscape change. Though the park’s glaciers are all getting smaller, variations in snow avalanches, ice flow dynamics, and ice thickness cause some glaciers to shrink faster than others. Sometimes a glacier will retreat very quickly where it was thinly and widely spread, only to shrink much more slowly when only the shaded, high elevation ice remains. Some small remnant ice may persist late into the 21st century or even beyond, depending on how and when we act.”
What do you think about the changes to Glacier National Park?
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