Archive for Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Mount Shasta glaciers growing despite warming

July 9, 2008

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The Hotlum glacier is seen on the northeast face of Mount Shasta in June. While global warming is causing the retreat of glaciers in the Sierra Nevada, Cascade and Rocky mountain ranges, the seven glaciers on Mount Shasta are growing.

The Hotlum glacier is seen on the northeast face of Mount Shasta in June. While global warming is causing the retreat of glaciers in the Sierra Nevada, Cascade and Rocky mountain ranges, the seven glaciers on Mount Shasta are growing.

— Global warming is shrinking glaciers all over the world, but the seven tongues of ice creeping down Mount Shasta's flanks are a rare exception: They are the only long-established glaciers in the lower 48 states that are growing.

Reaching more than 14,000 feet above sea level, Mount Shasta is one of the state's tallest peaks, dominating the landscape of high plains and conifer forests in far Northern California. Nearby Indian tribes referred to its glaciers as the footsteps made by the creator when he descended to Earth. Hikers flock to Shasta every summer to scale them.

With glaciers retreating in the Sierra Nevada, the Rocky Mountains and elsewhere in the Cascades, those on Mount Shasta - a volcanic peak at the southern end of the Cascade range - are actually benefiting from changing weather patterns over the Pacific Ocean.

"When people look at glaciers around the world, the majority of them are shrinking," said Slawek Tulaczyk, an assistant professor of earth sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who led a team studying Shasta's glaciers. "These glaciers seem to be benefiting from the warming ocean."

Climate change has cut the number of glaciers at Montana's Glacier National Park from 150 to 26 since 1850, and some scientists project there will be none left within a generation. Lonnie Thompson, a glacier expert at Ohio State University, has projected the storied snows at Africa's Mount Kilimanjaro might disappear by 2015.

But for Shasta, about 270 miles north of San Francisco, scientists say a warming Pacific Ocean means more moist air. On the mountain, precipitation falls as snow, adding to the glaciers enough to overcome a 1.8 degree Fahrenheit rise in temperature in the last century, scientists say.

"It's a bit of an anomaly that they are growing, but it's not to be unexpected," said Ed Josberger, a glaciologist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Tacoma, Wash.

By comparison, the glaciers in the Sierra Nevada, more than 500 miles south of Mount Shasta, are exposed to warmer summer temperatures and are retreating.

The Sierra's 498 ice formations - glaciers and ice fields - have shrunk by about half their size over the past 100 years, said Andrew Fountain, a geology professor at Portland State University. He inventoried glaciers in the contiguous U.S. as part of a federal initiative.

He said Shasta's seven glaciers are the only ones scientists have identified as getting larger, with the exception of a small glacier in the shaded crater of Washington state's Mount St. Helens. It formed after the 1980 eruption blasted away slightly more than half the mountain's ice, and scientists believe it will not grow in area once it stretches outside the shade of the crater.

Glaciologists say most glaciers in Alaska and Canada are retreating, too, but there are too many to study them all.

Climate change is causing roughly 90 percent of the world's mountain glaciers to shrink, said Thompson, the Ohio State glacier expert.

"Best that we keep our eye on the big picture," Thompson said in an e-mail about Shasta's unique position. "The picture points unfortunately (to) massive loss of ice on land, which has huge implications for future sea level rise."

Global forecasts show temperatures warming from 2 degrees to 11.5 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century if no major efforts are undertaken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Comments

gr 7 years ago

Isn't it amazing after all this time, there are still some who cling to the global warming myth?"It's a bit of an anomaly that they are growing, but it's not to be unexpected,"Must be one of those expected glacier anomalies. How many more expected anomalies?"but there are too many to study them all."Guess we don't know.Hmmm.... We don't know.But that doesn't keep some from making 100 year forecasts and "knowing" that we can affect the temperature of the whole earth!

Ragingbear 7 years ago

First of all, it is NOT global warming, it is man influenced climate change. Secondly, we will no doubt start hearing future headlines about giant rogue glaciers in the ocean.

gr 7 years ago

gr: "Isn't it amazing after all this time, there are still some who cling to the global warming myth?"beatrice: "Seeing the comments thus far, I'm reminded that there was once a time when, against all scientific evidence, some people continued to argue the case that the world was flat."Thank you!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

"Who? Are there any "Flat Earth Society" loonies hereabouts?"Different "Society," but a flock of loons, nonetheless.

Flap Doodle 7 years ago

There's no paper over here. Could somebody pass me a carbon credit?

gr 7 years ago

"First of all, it is NOT global warming, it is man influenced climate change."Why did they change it to "climate change"? Afraid it might not come out the way they wanted? Or they finally realized the earth has been cooling for the last decade?Whether it's Y2K, global warming, climate change, it's all the same - liberals doing their best to cause pain and suffering to others. They want to control all aspects of people's lives. It's the same doomsday ploy masquerading in different forms.I recall a story about some kid killing herself because someone said something bad about her on the internet. Things she had to intentionally keep going back to in order to "read". How much more guilty are the liberals for the harm caused to the Australian kid for promoting lies about his drinking water harming the planet? Lies he's been captive and subjected to in school.

beatrice 7 years ago

Seeing the comments thus far, I'm reminded that there was once a time when, against all scientific evidence, some people continued to argue the case that the world was flat. Not surprised to see they are still with us.

TopJayhawk 7 years ago

SFJayhawk. Yeah, it's kinda like Al Gore who is set to make millions on "carbon credits" that he has bought, but only if he can get the country and the world to buy into that silliness. Yes, you are sheeple. Ol' Al's got an angle, and you have swallowed it all. Say bah, bah. all you leftist sheeple.

jaywalker 7 years ago

It's been a year or so since I saw it so I can't remember it verbatim, but the headline roughly read, "Polar ice caps melting, polar bears face extinction, world wide flood and famine imminent". It was a 1920 Washington Post.

sfjayhawk 7 years ago

The only people left who deny climate change are energy execs and some loonies on the LJW blog - heck, even the decider believes it now! The good news is the more the deniers rant, the further they push themselves to the fringe.

TopJayhawk 7 years ago

class clown. Disappearing glaciers since the 1850's? So that means that at times we have been having global warming, and a coming ice age all at the same time? Wow, now that is a nuanced aproach that would humble even John Kerry.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

Well, Tom, Gore isn't preaching anything about a flat earth. But what he as been saying has a pretty strong backing from almost the entire scientific community.I'd say you're the one listening to a "preacher" with very suspect credentials and sermons.

Dwight_Schrute 7 years ago

Shasta, huh. Remember when you were a little kid on the T-ball team, and when it was your turn to bring the cooler of pop, your parents got Shasta. I was so embarrassed. Why couldn't we have Pepsi or RC or Coke. Guess that's why I'm so messed up today.

1029 7 years ago

This is just like what happened centuries ago when the liberal elite started all that heliocentric propaganda. There were all kinds of respectable and otherwise intelligent people who felt compelled (by religion?) to continue insisting that that the the Earth was at the center of the universe.

sfjayhawk 7 years ago

The climate change deniers and holocaust deniers held a group meeting. All the members of each group attended making it very difficult to get any dinner reservations. You know how tough it can be to get a table for 6.

Flap Doodle 7 years ago

Here's what Freeman Dyson had to say about global warming:"The first of my heresies says that all the fluff about global warming is grossly exaggerated. Here I am opposing the holy brotherhood of climate model experts and the crowd of deluded citizens that believe the numbers predicted by their models. Of course they say I have no degree in meteorology and I am therefore not qualified to speak.But I have studied their climate models and know what they can do. The models solve the equations of fluid dynamics and do a very good job of describing the fluid motions of the atmosphere and the oceans. They do a very poor job of describing the clouds, the dust, the chemistry and the biology of fields and farms and forests. They do not begin to describe the real world that we live in.The real world is muddy and messy and full of things that we do not yet understand. It is much easier for a scientist to sit in an air-conditioned building and run computer models than to put on winter clothes and measure what is really happening outside in the swamps and the clouds. That's why the climate model experts end up believing their own models.There's no doubt that parts of the world are getting warmer, but the warming is not global. The warming happens mostly in places and times where it is cold, in the arctic more than the tropics, in the winter more than the summer, at night more than the daytime.I'm not saying the warming doesn't cause problems. Obviously it does. Obviously we should be trying to understand it. I'm saying that the problems are being grossly exaggerated. They take away money and attention from other problems that are much more urgent and more important-poverty, infectious diseases, public education and public health. Not to mention the preservation of living creatures on land and in the oceans."University of Michigan 2005Winter Commencement Addresshttp://www.umich.edu/news/index.html?DysonWinCom05

1029 7 years ago

A July 1999 Gallup poll found that 18% of Americans believe that the Sun revolves around the Earth. (Upon further questioning, it was discovered that these misinformed Americans also insisted that evolution and global warming were myths made up by the liberal media as part of an elaborate scheme aimed at loosening religion's influence over society in an effort to pave the way for a sin-filled, minority-loving, homosexuality-promoting, socialist-sympathizing, high-taxing big government that wanted to take away guns from hard workin', law-abidin' folks.)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

"They take away money and attention from other problems that are much more urgent and more important-poverty, infectious diseases, public education and public health. Not to mention the preservation of living creatures on land and in the oceans.""Dyson loses any credibility he might have with this statement. The human race and the planet are beset with myriad problems, and all of them need attention. Bringing up one serious problem as justification for ignoring another is intellectually dishonest, especially when global climate change can exacerbate every one of the "more serious" problems he lists.

gr 7 years ago

"Well, Tom, Gore isn't preaching anything about a flat earth. But what he as been saying has a pretty strong backing from almost the entire scientific community."bozo, you're full of it. You have failed in the past and I don't expect you to be able to back your statement now. Since you have failed to support it beyond, "I believe", to show any evidence of humans causing global warming, how about support that "almost the entire scientific community" backs global warming and human caused.People deny there is global warming beyond any natural cycles which have been happening for centuries because there is no evidence supporting it.People further deny that humans could cause any supposed global warming as the only supporting evidence is, "you are denying it, but it's a fact!"But, it is a pretty clever plan of the liberals to cause pain and suffering. When it's pointed out that the earth has been cooling, they'll say, 'See it's working. We must keep up with stricter measures to prevent it from warming back up.' Just like with Y2K. Nothing happened, but they all took credit that if they hadn't done all they did, planes really would fall out of the sky. They argued that even if a computer chip had no way of setting a date, never had a date, and no idea whether the manufacture had set this non-existent date correctly, somehow this computer chip would know when the year changed to 2000, and would cause all kinds of havoc. They said that the deniers wouldn't accept the facts (which were...?), had their heads stuck in the sand, wouldn't attempt to solve and avert a problem, refused to do something rather than nothing, and refused to be safe than sorry.Sound familiar?And what was the result? Millions were made, people lived in fear. Mission accomplished. Sure, there were some software issues that needed to be corrected. But, I'm referring to the so called "facts" that computer chips knew the date when they had no date in them. They couldn't explain how that could cause problems, but they ranted on about it being a fact just like bozo and others aren't able to support their mythology nor that it has "backing from almost the entire scientific community."

classclown 7 years ago

Climate change has cut the number of glaciers at Montana's Glacier National Park from 150 to 26 since 1850.

TopJayhawk 7 years ago

I'm still wondering what happened to the hole in the ozone layer. I'm still wondering what happened to the gloom and doom of the coming "human caused" Ice age that graced the cover of Time Magazine back in the 70's. No one ever explained what changed to anyone because they really don't understand the mechanism, and all the complexities of the equation. What it means is they really don't understand any of this. Yet everyone on the left side of the isle are ready to believe anything they (Gore and scientists) say. Talk about sheeple.

beatrice 7 years ago

75x - I used the past tense for a reason. People once argued against the science that showed the earth wasn't flat. They were wrong back then. Today, there are people who argue against the science that shows man's involvement in producing global climate change, and they are wrong today. It is a pretty logical comparison. Unfortunately, some people argue against the science that clearly demonstrates man's involvement in causing global climate change because of petty political stances, hence the written attacks here against Al Gore but not a one against President Bush or John McCain, both of whom have recently agreed that we need to make changes to help stop climate change. Or it is because they are cheap and hate the idea of improvements in how we treat the planet costing money. Some people just don't care about the condition of the planet that we leave to future generations.

sfjayhawk 7 years ago

so let me get this clear - climate change is a conspiracy between gore, moveon and the media. The purpose of this vast evil plot is making millions on alternative energy products and forcing America into energy independence. How hateful!Interesting how the last 2 VPs use lies and propaganda to make millions - Gore on alternative energy and Cheney on War profiteering.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 7 years ago

"If I told you drinking gasoline was better than drinking whiskey would you believe that too?"No longer cheaper, though.

jaywalker 7 years ago

I believe there is a climate change/shift occuring. I do not believe that it is man made. I'm currently taking a geography course where, to make it as understandable as possible, the entire history of Earth was compacted into a one year time line. With that time line the 'written history of Earth' comprises the last minute of the year. And the Industrial Revolution is little more than 150 years old, which would equate to about 3 seconds, the last three seconds. And we're responsible for world wide climate change? I don't think so.

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