Also left in the receding glacier’s wake is a National Park Service pavilion that once offered a sweeping view of the glacier but has since been repurposed as an educational center about climate change. A famed Alaska glacier where President Barack Obama warned about climate change just a year ago is unrecognizable as it keeps shrinking at an alarming rate. On the road to the glacier's toe, on the trail winding below the forest canopy and, ultimately, on the mostly bare rock at the end of the trail are signs marking 195 years of accelerating pullback. “My concern is the denial. The icefield has retreated over past decades but, more important, it has thinned, Kurtz said. I write history and I have great admiration for human ingenuity," Capra says. What happens then to the park infrastructure built for visitors to a glacier that is creeping out of view, year by year? I’m serenaded by birds, and rushing spring melt. What does the public expect us to do, within a reasonable parameter?" Exit's rapid changes have forced the Park Service to make frequent adjustments along the trail system. SEWARD, Alaska (AP) — President Barack Obama stared down a melting glacier in Alaska on Tuesday in a dramatic use of his presidential pulpit to sound the alarm on climate change. It will take years and maybe decades for the channels to settle on a stable pattern, Curran said. To walk the path to the lookout, then, is to tread a timeline of climate change, passing markers of the glacier’s historic extent. “The cruise-ship excursions, the Anchorage day-trippers, will they go elsewhere? You can renew your subscription or "We perceive it as flooding because the road's there.". Nearly 2 billion people depend on Himalayan glaciers. After five centuries of expansion during the period known as the Little Ice Age, Exit Glacier reached its maximum expanse around 1815. The approach to Exit Glacier, the most accessible of the 500 square miles of ancient ice covering Kenai Fjords National Park, is a timeline of retreat. For repeat visitors, the changes are stark, said Sharon Kim, chief of resources at Kenai Fjords. log out. "They're phenomenal. Already, there is some disappointment at the end of the Exit Glacier trail. The U.S. Geological Survey and researchers from the University of Alaska and University of Washington have crunched altitude data to calculate changes in the past half century at Exit and elsewhere. But it stands out for its location in an easily accessible national park, the in-your-face documentation of its retreat and its role as a real-time climate change laboratory. Land-terminating Alaska glaciers like Exit, though they make up only a tiny percentage of the world's ice, are significant contributors to global sea-level rise, and visitors to Kenai Fjords are able to see that process up close. One interpretative sign is titled Living Laboratory, a nod at the scientific value of studying glacier retreats. (Marc Lester / Alaska Dispatch News), A visitor takes in the view of Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park on July 17. Information signs posted in the pavilion explain why the once-sweeping view is now obstructed, along with other effects of climate warming. The colder the temperature, the more that heavier isotopes are present. The path is paved as far as a small pavilion of rough-hewn stone pillars and a vaulted wooden roof. They will lead you on a guided hike on the Lower Trail or to Harding Icefield, all while providing information about how climate change has affected the landscape, wildlife, and people of Alaska. The adjective glacial no longer applies, it seems. A lake at the toe of the glacier that was tiny two decades ago is now substantial. (Marc Lester / Alaska Dispatch News), The expanse of the Harding Icefield comes into view following a 4.1-mile hike up the Harding Icefield Trail on July 15 near Seward. Latest book reviews, author interviews, and reading trends. The shells' calcium counteracted the soil's acidity and the cod bones were perfectly preserved, down to the delicate rib bones, said Aron Crowell of the Smithsonian Institution, a co-author. The expedition group traveled eastward for eight days and exited at this point, which is how the glacier got its name. By the time he visits Alaska, the aptly named glacier – more on that name later – may have exited altogether. "I'm shocked it changed this much," said Julie, with her husband and two daughters at the trail summit. This stunning short film examines the glacier’s dramatic impact through the voice of local guide Rick Brown. Six years,” she says. I’m thinking more about my son, age 6. It is unlikely that any kind of similar structure would be put in near the glacier's current terminus, she said: "If you build something that has a lot of infrastructure, at some point it's going to be out of date again.". Acidification, a threat to shell-bearing organisms and marine life that eat them, has been linked elsewhere to melting glaciers — in Prince William Sound, for example — as increased torrents of freshwater dilute the saltwater and the calcium in it, pushing pH levels lower and more acidic. SEWARD — A finger of ice spilling out of the Chugach Mountains marks Alaska's rapidly warming climate — almost literally. Exit Glacier, in Alaska's Kenai Fjords National Park Elizabeth Earl. was the biggest in any single summer on record, pioneering 1968 ski traverse across the Harding Icefield, honed his dog-sledding skills in the glacier's valley, retreat has caused the terminus to split into two thinner branches, are significant contributors to global sea-level rise, alculate changes in the past half century at Exit and elsewhere, the arduous hike up to the base of Harding Icefield, the most mass loss at the icefield's lowest elevations, increased torrents of freshwater dilute the saltwater and the calcium in it, floods that had regularly closed off traffic, Alaska House is split 20-20 and remains leaderless as Kodiak Republican sides with coalition, FBI questions Alaska lawmakers on topics including Permanent Fund dividend votes, 1 dead, 3 injured in Seward Highway collision between trucks on the Kenai Peninsula, Anchorage Assembly passes new pandemic relief package, calls on Congress for more assistance, Tribal land issues are a serious challenge facing Alaska. The state spans a wide range of climatic and ecological conditions that include rainforests, glaciers, boreal forest, tundra, peatlands, and meadows. (Marc Lester / Alaska Dispatch News). The group used the glacier to exit the icefield, and the name stuck. "You could see the blue. Exit Glacier is only a small part of Kenai Fjords' ice and ice-influenced ecosystem that covers about half the 1,047-square-mile park. A marker shows how far Exit Glacier has receded since 2005. The bones are from two sites, one about 200 years old and another about 100 years old, left by ancestors of today's Kenai Peninsula-area Sugpiaq people. Eight days and exited at this point, which is how the Glacier ’ s easy... Was closer to the overlook to an overlook from the Exit Glacier Nature Center channels to settle on a freeze! 3 feet a year, based on soil and tree-ring analysis up to 300 feet in single! Telling her: 'You 're going to see the same process in the National... 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