November 22, 2014--Climate change threatens to strip the identity of Glacier National Park (New York Times)

What will they call Glacier National Park once the glaciers are gone? A century ago, this sweep of mountains on the Canadian border boasted some 150 ice sheets, many of them scores of feet thick, plastered across summits and tucked into rocky fissures high above parabolic valleys. Today, perhaps 25 survive. In 30 years, there may be none. A warming climate is melting glaciers, an icy retreat that promises to change not just tourists’ vistas, but also the mountains and everything around them. Streams fed by snowmelt are reaching peak spring flows weeks earlier than in the past, and low summer flows weeks before they used to. Some farmers who depend on irrigation in the parched days of late summer are no longer sure that enough water will be there. Bull trout, once pan-fried over anglers’ campfires, are now caught and released to protect a population that is shrinking as water temperatures rise. Many of the mom-and-pop ski areas that once peppered these mountains have closed. Increasingly, the season is not long enough, nor the snows heavy enough, to justify staying open. What is happening here is occurring, to greater or lesser extents, in mountains across the North American West. In the Colorado Rockies, the median date of snowmelt shifted two to three weeks earlier from 1978 to 2007. In Washington, the Cascades lost nearly a quarter of their snowpack from 1930 to 2007. Every year, British Columbia’s glaciers shed the equivalent of 10 percent of the Mississippi River’s flow because of melting.

To view the full article visit the New York Times. For a copy of the original article stop by or write the Water Information Program at 841 East Second Avenue, Durango, CO 81301 or call (970) 247-1302.