Signs that have been around for years in Glacier National Park warning visitors essentially to hurry since the glaciers would disappear by 2020 have, themselves, disappeared.
The Daily Caller reported the change in signage – there’s still a warning but the 2020 date is entirely gone – was noticed by a blogger.
“Blogger Roger Roots first noted the signage change in a blog post published Thursday on the website Watts Up With That. Roots was able to compare the signs to film and photographs he had taken on previous visits,” the Caller reported.
“As recently as September 2018 the diorama displayed a sign saying GNP’s glaciers were expected to disappear completely by 2020,” Roots wrote. “The ‘gone by 2020’ claims were repeated in the New York Times, National Geographic, and other international news sources.”
The report said Roots located another sign that had been changed to more “nuanced” wording.
“Almost everywhere, the park’s specific claims of impending glacier disappearance have been replaced with more nuanced message indicating that everyone agrees that the glaciers are melting.”
He said on Facebook that the park is “scrambling” to change the messaging “without their visitors noticing.”
The Park Service told the Caller: “There are currently 26 glaciers in the park. Scientific models project that many will no longer meet the size criteria used to define a glacier sometime between 2020 and 2030.”
The report cited higher-than-average snow in recent years that changed previous projections.
The U.S. Geological Survey explained glacier “retreat” in the park “speeds up and slows down.”
“Those signs were based on the observation prior to 2010 that glaciers were shrinking more quickly than a computer model predicted they would,” the agency told the Caller.
“Subsequently, larger than average snowfall over several winters slowed down that retreat rate and the 2020 date used in the NPS display does not apply anymore.”
In one location, the park now warns, “When they completely disappear, however, will depend on how and when we act.”
The park land covered with glaciers has dropped 70 percent from the 1950s to its current level.
At about the same time, Smithsonian.com reported that “oddly,” in a time when “Earth’s glacier’s are in retreat, shedding many such bergs into the ocean and triggering sea level rise,” the same glacier that delivered an iceberg to the hull of the Titanic … has actually “grown thicker in recent years.”
It’s the Jakobshavn Glacier in Greenland.
During the 2000s, the report said, it was moving 10.5 miles per year, and the front end retreated about 66 feet per year during that time.
Smithsonian.com said: “The glacier, which spills into Disko Bay, is one of the major pathways for ice from Greenland’s ice sheet – the largest in the world behind Antarctica – to enter the ocean and cause sea level rise. Harry Cockburn at The Independent reports that between 2000 and 2010 the Jakobshavn Glacier alone contributed 1 millimeter to sea level rise.”
But in 2013, the ice front stopped thinning and instead began to get thicker.
“It’s a complete reversal in behavior and it wasn’t predicted,” study leader Anna Hogg of Leeds University and the U.K. Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling said in the report.
“The question now is: what’s next for Jakobshavn? Is this just a pause, or is it a switch-off of the dynamic thinning we’ve seen previously?”