In Alaska, not only is climate change real, its happening really fast. Our trip from Seattle to Skagway took in many wonderful views seen here with help from guest videographer and my lovely wife Sarah. The line on the horizon here still shows ice, but some glaciers here are retreating by a couple miles per decade. That kind of change in such a short amount of time was stunning to see up close.
What we saw in Alaska inspired a closer look at climate change occurring near the Arctic and closer to the Bay Area in our NBC Bay Area news special, “On Thin Ice”.
To get to know more about the human element on climate change: check out – http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/campaig…
We leave Mendenhall Glacier where we took in some amazing scenery on a rare mostly sunny day. Extensive Summer melting underway @ Mendenhall hints at more long term changes going on in Alaska and the Arctic. The most rapid and significant warming in the last 30 years has been in this region – leading to some surprisingly fast melting away of larger glaciers. South Sawyer Glacier for instance within Tracy Arm fjord has retreated by a mile in only five years time and 99% of Alaska’s glaciers shrinking.
We strap on our bolt boots and take a trip to the amazing Mendenhall Glacier. Our tour benefited from a mostly sunny, though somewhat breezy day. This provided some excellent visibility flying into our landing site and plenty of Summer sunshine to briefly accelerate some melting underway. Our snow boots were fitted with bolts along the edges insuring we wouldn’t slip or fall on the icy somewhat slushy surface. With large holes and cracks every few steps, maintaining control of your walking pace was critical and the touring company clearly had things well planned for us when we arrived. They had already zoned off a couple rather large depressions, and crevasses we wanted to part of getting too close to. However, we did enjoy a brief sampling of the most wonderful water I’ve ever tasted – pure decades old glacial melt water. My technique wasn’t the best at nearly had me tipping into the water, but the experience was certainly worth it. Many changes are underway at Mendenhall and more startlingly so at South Sawyer Glacier where we witnessed active calving underway. More on that topic to follow.