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pscot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 12:48 PM
Original message
Three glaciers tell the same story
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/TECH/science/08/07/global.w... /

U.S. scientists monitoring shrinking glaciers in Washington and Alaska reported this week that a major meltdown is under way.The Gulcana glacier in Alaska is one of three glaciers considered a benchmark by the U.S. Geological Survey.
A 50-year government study found that the world's glaciers are melting at a rapid and alarming rate. The ongoing study is the latest in a series of reports that found glaciers worldwide are melting faster than anyone had predicted they would just a few years ago. It offers a clear indication of an accelerating climate change and warming earth, according to the authors.Since 1959, the U.S. Geological Survey, which published the study on its Web site, has been tracking the movements of the South Cascade glacier in Washington and the Wolverine and Gulcana glaciers in Alaska. The three glaciers are considered "benchmarks" for the conditions of thousands of other glaciers because they're in different climate zones and at various elevations.

"These changes are taking place in Washington State and Alaska in three different climate regimes," said Edward Josberger, the lead researcher on the study with the USGS Washington Water Science Center in Tacoma, Washington. "So we feel it's definitely something going on, probably on a global scale, and of course, if you look at other such measurements around the world and put it all together, yes, glaciers are retreating and retreating rapidly."

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The half-century record contains measurements of the amount of snow that has fallen on the glaciers each winter and on how much ice has melted off each summer. The data give scientists a sense of whether the glacier is getting more "healthy" or losing mass, Josberger said. They also indicate what's happening to mountain glaciers in other parts of the world, the scientist said.

"We feel it's definitely the signature of global change and climate warming," Josberger said.
The melt of glaciers is resulting in higher sea levels and affecting ecosystems and the rivers that emanate from these glaciers, Josberger said. "In terms of water supply available for people, Anchorage is fed by two glacially fed lakes. There are some very strong impacts that could happen."(more)

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Heidi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 12:51 PM
Response to Original message
1. If you're a scientist, this is the dumbest thing you'll ever read, BUT
Edited on Sat Aug-08-09 12:52 PM by Heidi
I saw my first, up close and personal, glaciers and glacial lakes last endof-of-August and early September on a business trip to Switzerland's exquisite Upper Engadine. How I've managed to live a decade here, and 46 years on this earth, without ever seeing first-hand something so majestic as a glacial lake and spending the night on a glacier, is beyond me. Our glaciers worldwide are beautiful treasures that inform us if we'll only look.

Recommended.
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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 12:53 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Don't feel bad -- you've drunk plenty of glacial runoff. :^)
If the glaciers melt away completely, that will be bad news for people who drink water, or use it for other purposes. Hypothetically speaking.
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Heidi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 01:08 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Nah, we only drink bottled water
because our water here in the village this summer is full of chlorine from some mishap in the village water tank. If the glaciers melt away completely, it will be bad for many forms of life; humans are the least of my concerns, frankly, with regard to the glaciers.
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Jackpine Radical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 02:02 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Where does the bottled water ome from?
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OKIsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 05:46 PM
Response to Original message
5. See Also
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