Silly Headline of the Day – NYT: Climate Change Threatens to Strip the Identity of Glacier National Park

Guest Post by Bob Tisdale

And the opening of the NewYorkTimes article reads:

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, Mont. — What will they call this place once the glaciers are gone?

My suggestions are at the end of the post.

There is a redeeming paragraph in the NYT article. It reads (my boldface):

The retreat is not entirely due to man-made global warming, though scientists say that plays a major role. While the rate of melting has alternately sped up and slowed in lock step with decades-long climate cycles, it has risen steeply since about 1980.

“sped up and slowed” suggests the glaciers have been melting all along. And that’s correct. The epoch we are now in is called an interglacial. And what happens during interglacials? Glaciers melt. That’s precisely what they’ve been doing since the last ice age ended many millennia ago. The author of the NYT article even acknowledges that in the opening of the next paragraph:

And while glaciers came and went millenniums ago…

The rest of the article is about how regional climate might be different with the glaciers gone. A hearty thank you to the author for noting that. That’s precisely why we need realistic regional decadal and multidecadal forecasts from climate models…something that climate models are still incapable of doing because the climate science community, under the direction of the UN, has only focused their efforts on the hypothetical effects of human-induced global warming, neglecting the basic processes and impacts of coupled ocean-atmosphere processes.

My suggestion is they leave the park name as it is OR they call it Beautiful Landscapes Are Now Visible…Now That The Dangerous, Cold And Slippery Ice Is Gone National Park.

Here’s a link to the slide show the NYT provided. As I said: beautiful landscapes.

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Editor
November 24, 2014 5:07 am

How about Glacier Memorial National Park?

Reply to  Ric Werme
November 24, 2014 5:13 am

Good suggestion, although I would prefer the more forward-looking “Future Tropical Paradise National Park.”

Jimbo
Reply to  Michael Palmer
November 24, 2014 10:41 am

What about ‘Interglacial National Park’?
Imagine this today. It would be mostly blamed on man changing the climate. We must act now (1940)!

WUWT – September 27, 2012
Surprise: glaciers in Montana retreated up to 6 times faster during the 1930′s and 1940′s than today
A new paper published in Quaternary Science Reviews finds that alpine glaciers in Glacier National Park, Montana retreated up to 6 times faster during the 1930′s and 1940′s than over the past 40 years.

The paper’s abstract
“A lacustrine-based Neoglacial record for Glacier National Park, Montana, USA”
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2012.08.005

November 24, 2014 5:07 am

Or – “After the Martini is Drained National Park”.

Neil
November 24, 2014 5:08 am

My suggestion is, “the interglacial park”, got a good ring to it, and it’s the truth.

Walt D.
Reply to  Neil
November 24, 2014 1:45 pm

They can rename the lodge “The Interglacial Retreat”.

Editor
November 24, 2014 5:09 am

The last worldwide glacial retreat was in the 1940s. About a PDO/AMO cycle ago. Come on negative AMO, we need ya. 🙂

Keith Willshaw
Reply to  Ric Werme
November 24, 2014 5:16 am

No thanks as somebody who lives around the Atlantic I prefer it warm.

Brian H
Reply to  Keith Willshaw
November 25, 2014 2:15 am

‘Zackly. It’s perverse how AGW has skeptics “hoping” for cold, Warmists for warm. Skeptics should remember that aside from SSL continental flooding, all the negatives and disasters from storms to droughts that AGW warns about are actually results of cooling.

David A
Reply to  Keith Willshaw
November 25, 2014 5:30 am

True Brian, yet climate is difficult to predict, and wll happen regardless, but CAGWA is manifesting tragedy. (Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming Alarmism)
Skeptics hope for cold, so that the certain economic harm of CAGWA, and social structure harm of CAGWA statism is avoided or stopped as soon as possible.

November 24, 2014 5:15 am

Just leave the name alone, and be patient, these things arrive and depart in cycles.

michael hart
November 24, 2014 5:23 am

When I visited, it was June and the roads were still blocked with snow. So I never saw the glaciers anyway.

Chip Javert
November 24, 2014 5:30 am

Ain’t Gonna Happen National Park

wws
November 24, 2014 5:38 am

Maybe if the Glacier Park can’t use the name anymore, they can sell it to Buffalo.

Reply to  wws
November 24, 2014 5:52 am

You owe me a new keyboard. This one’s now covered in coffee.

PiperPaul
Reply to  wws
November 24, 2014 8:08 am

Identity politics strikes again!

Hal Jordan
November 24, 2014 5:51 am

“And while glaciers came and went millenniums ago…”
Millennia

Kitefreak
Reply to  Hal Jordan
November 24, 2014 7:34 am

Good one. I’m a total pedant myself, when it comes to language. Stadia, referenda, millennia, et cetera.

brians356
Reply to  Kitefreak
November 24, 2014 12:47 pm

Those perky “millennials” at the Times eschew “millennia”. The dumbing down of the Grey Lady muddles through to … irrelevance?

Russell Johnson
November 24, 2014 6:01 am

The NYT is being written at a 3rd grade level. What will they call the NYT building when technology puts the paper out of business an a cold wind blows through their shattered windows?

MarkW
Reply to  Russell Johnson
November 24, 2014 6:04 am

Justice

Reply to  MarkW
November 24, 2014 2:43 pm

Now that’s funny!
But true

Reply to  Russell Johnson
November 24, 2014 6:08 am

Long Overdue

latecommer2014
Reply to  geofcol
November 24, 2014 8:38 am

I will miss the sports page however.

tz2026
November 24, 2014 6:04 am

A few weeks ago there was plenty of new snow and ice across the high plains and the rockies.
The better question is what will they call it when the glacier becomes larger than yellowstone.

K_Naranek
Reply to  tz2026
November 24, 2014 7:24 am

The Mannian Ice Sheet as in Laurentide Ice Sheet

November 24, 2014 6:06 am

Thanks, Bob.
There is something anti-green in this love for ice.

Admad
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
November 24, 2014 12:18 pm

Maybe the greens just love skiing, in their precious and over-privileged lifestyles.

VicV
November 24, 2014 6:10 am

Pick any story that reflects on the current state somewhere in the world of observable effects of this interglacial period and write it. Then add the “what ifs” to the story and state them as fact: what if these things were sped up by Catastrophic Warming, what if man were the cause. Presto, another perfectly reasonable sounding Climate Change story that passes the stinky smell test of those who perpetuate this fraud.

Ken
November 24, 2014 6:12 am

I was up there a couple of years ago. The AGW propaganda was everywhere.
Articles like this are so irritating because the editorial agenda so often contorts lists of facts into false cause-and-effect relationships. Here is an obvious example: “Rising temperatures and early snowmelt make for warmer, drier summers as rivers shrink and soils dry out. That is already driving a steady increase in wildfires, including in the park, and disease and pest infestations in forests.”. There is abundant research that shows that wildfires are nature’s way of moderating disease and pest infestations. Why doesn’t the NYT publish an article decrying the National Park System’s misguided wildfire suppression program?
By the way, I hiked the Skyline Trail and the Loop Trail. Highly recommended. Those hikes alone are worth the trip to this fairly remote national park.

latecommer2014
Reply to  Ken
November 24, 2014 8:40 am

But…. Carry bear protection. Bears are pissed at all the melting!

fraizer
Reply to  latecommer2014
November 24, 2014 1:04 pm

Just wear some bells on your ankles and take a whistle to blow. The noise will scare most bears away.
Works fine in Black bear country, but not so well in Grizzly country.
Now you might ask, how do you know if you are in black bear or grizzly country?
And the answer is you look at the scat.
Black bear scat will have twigs, nuts and berries.
Grizzly scat on the other hand…
…will have mostly bells and whistles.

michael hart
Reply to  latecommer2014
November 24, 2014 3:33 pm

‘Grizzly scat on the other hand…
…will have mostly bells and whistles.’
Just like the models!

pk
Reply to  latecommer2014
November 25, 2014 4:20 pm

if you’re running from a bear how fast do you have to run?
just a bit faster than your buddy.
grizzlies don’t climb trees.
no they crawl up the sides of big ones and pick the sweet succulent hikers off of the low hanging branches.
if the tree is to small to climb a grizzly simply reaches up bends the tree down to his level and picks the sweet succulent hikers off of the now low hanging branches.
if you’re out in the woods and see a cub bear (even if your transportation of choice is an m1a1 mbt.
RUN LIKE HELL……………. MOMMA IS GUARANTEED TO BE NEAR BY AND MOMMA BEARS DON’T LIKE PEOPLE MESSING WITH THEIR CUBS.
C

marque2
Reply to  Ken
November 24, 2014 9:31 am

Well that, and fires have actually been declining over the last 20 years and it seems the rivers are going dry from drought at the same rate as they always were.

Joe Born
November 24, 2014 6:23 am

Bob Tisdale: ““sped up and slowed” suggests the glaciers have been melting all along. And that’s correct. ”
I had thought I’d head that some glaciers in Europe had actually been advancing a few centuries ago, to the extent that Alpine villages were in danger of being wiped out. Was I in error?

H.R.
Reply to  Joe Born
November 24, 2014 7:48 am

“I had thought I’d head that some glaciers in Europe had actually been advancing a few centuries ago, to the extent that Alpine villages were in danger of being wiped out. Was I in error?”
I dunno, Joe. Ask Otzi, the Ice Man. He was along for the ride in one of the glaciers.

Joe Born
Reply to  Joe Born
November 24, 2014 8:29 am

This site: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/08/120810-glaciers-vatican-prayer-alps-science-gobal-warming/ mentions a glacier that was advancing until 1850, after which it began receding. Its length has lost nearly 3 miles since 1864, i.e., about 106 ft./yr. Now that we’ve been enriching the atmosphere with CO2, the rate has fallen to 75 ft./year. Go figure.

H.R.
Reply to  Joe Born
November 24, 2014 9:21 am

Joe Born: Thanks for the link.
Well, then! Otzi just might have put on quite a few miles while he was out cold. I have some drinking buddies that have done that, too ;o)
Seriously, I never thought about it, but Otzi may not have been found where he died. I wonder if they matched up the detritus found on the body with the surroundings where he was found? I’ll have a look when I get some time.

Editor
Reply to  Joe Born
November 24, 2014 11:20 am

Otzi died long, long before the Little Ice Age. The discovery of his remains is one of many cases that shows glaciers around the world were much smaller than now 6,000 years ago.
See http://wermenh.com/climate/6000.html

H.R.
Reply to  Joe Born
November 24, 2014 3:39 pm

Ric,
Yup, I’m aware that Otzi was killed about 5300 years ago or so. My point to Joe was that glaciers are always advancing and retreating on a lot of different time scales – witness Otzi – but then his link got me thinking about anything that gets caught in a glacier. Whatever the object, there were certain conditions, including temperature, that existed when the object was captured in the glacier. His link points out that an object could do some significant traveling before the conditions returned allowing the object to be revealed.
P.S. Followed your link and did some reading. Nice… thanks!

Editor
Reply to  Joe Born
November 24, 2014 11:32 am

Brian Fagan’s “The Little Ice Age” has a couple pages of notes about glacial advances, and destruction by ice and floods from glacial lakes:
Alpine glaciers, which had already advanced steadily between 1546 and 1590, moved aggressively forward again between 1600 and 1616. Villages that had flourished since medieval times were in danger or already destroyed,Land values in the threatened areas fell. So did tithe receipts. During the long period of glacial retreat and relative quiet in earlier times, opportunistic farmers had cleared land within a kilometer of what seemed to them stationary ice sheets, Now their descendents paid the price of opportunism. Their villages and livelihoods were threatened.
Notes from Scott Mandia (hey, I found his web site!) at http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/lia/little_ice_age.html
During the post-MWP cooling of the climate, glaciers in many parts of Europe began to advance. Glaciers negatively influenced almost every aspect of life for those unfortunate enough to be living in their path. Glacial advances throughout Europe destroyed farmland and caused massive flooding. On many occasions bishops and priests were called to bless the fields and to pray that the ice stopped grinding forward (Bryson, 1977.) Various tax records show glaciers over the years destroying whole towns caught in their path. A few major advances, as noted by Ladurie (1971), appear below:
1595: Gietroz (Switzerland) glacier advances, dammed Dranse River, and caused flooding of Bagne with 70 deaths.
1600-10: Advances by Chamonix (France) glaciers cause massive floods which destroyed three villages and severely damaged a fourth. One village had stood since the 1200’s.
1670-80’s: Maximum historical advances by glaciers in eastern Alps. Noticeable decline of human population by this time in areas close to glaciers, whereas population elsewhere in Europe had risen.
1695-1709: Iceland glaciers advance dramatically, destroying farms.
1710-1735: A glacier in Norway was advancing at a rate of 100 m per year for 25 years.
1748-50: Norwegian glaciers achieved their historical maximum LIA positions.

Matt
November 24, 2014 6:26 am

It’s not called Glacier National Park because it has glaciers in it. It’s called Glacier National Park because the mountains were formed by Glaciers. Go there and any park ranger will tell you that. Go on the bus tour and the guide will point out how many ice age glaciers form this peak and how many formed that peak. It’s moronic not silly.

David Charles
Reply to  Matt
November 25, 2014 1:08 am

Come to Australia! We’re glacier-free (at least for now).

pj
November 24, 2014 6:39 am

There is one very important aspect of the article. The glaciers are melting in the parks – as has been happening for a millennium. We are reaching a point where there will be water shortages from the lack of glaciers and much of the west depends on the constant flow of water over the summer that comes from the glaciers.
Although the loss of the glaciers has nothing to do with AGW, it still requires action for adaptation. Dams will need to built in order to capture some of the snowmelt, so that the water can continue to flow all summer long. These dams are going to destroy some of the current natural landscape (as hundreds of feet of water on the lake-side of the dam tends to do), but this will have to be done. If only the environmentalists would focus their efforts on reality and work to planning for the changes that are occurring, we might all be better off.

Mark from the Midwest
Reply to  pj
November 24, 2014 8:10 am

There is not one water system in the Western U.S. that depends on water from melting glaciers, the amount of water that melting glaciers add to the major river basins is trivial compared to water from year-to-year snowfall and snow-pack. Further if residents of Vegas and Orange County would recognize that they live in a desert, and adjust their residential planting to match their climate there would be plenty of water in the west.

Newly Retired Engineer
Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
November 25, 2014 9:40 am

Mark –
It isn’t just the OC – add San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, LA, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties to the list, The worst example, of course, is Palm Springs. However, you may be mistaken about the residential plantings being the problem. The biggest user of water in LA County (at ~10%) is the LA Parks Department.

November 24, 2014 6:48 am

The NY Times forgot to mention that “the park is named for its prominent glacier-carved terrain…” The landscape was formed by ancient glaciers and that’s where it gets its name. Quote from the park online brochure:
“The park is named for its prominent glacier-carved terrain and remnant glaciers descended from the ice ages of 10,000 years past. Bedrock and deposited materials exposed by receding glaciers tell a story of ancient seas, geologic faults and uplifting, and the movement of giant slabs of the earth’s ancient crust overlaying younger strata. The result of these combined forces is some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet.”
Of course they do promote man caused climate change, as all National Parks do now, as they have all been Gruberised with CAGW.

hp
November 24, 2014 6:58 am

why not leave it the same, the terrain was created by a glacier right?

Bruce Cobb
November 24, 2014 7:05 am

Frigid alpine streams may dry up, and cold-water fish and insects may grow scarce. Snowfall may decline, and fewer avalanches may open up clearings for wildlife or push felled trees into streams, creating trout habitats. Tree lines may creep up mountains, erasing open meadows that enable mountain goats to keep watch against mountain lions. A hummingbird that depends on glacial lilies for nectar may arrive in spring to find that the lilies have already blossomed.

And pigs may sprout wings and fly….

Mark from the Midwest
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
November 24, 2014 8:15 am

We already have Humming Pigs here, they are nature’s response to Human Induced Micro Brewery Proliferation. We often see in the evening, just after happy hour.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
November 24, 2014 11:00 am

I thought hummingbirds could fly! Duh, to go higher up to get the later-blooming lilies.

Keith A. Nonemaker
November 24, 2014 7:18 am

Keep the name. Dinosaur National Monument does not currently have any dinosaurs.

JJ, too.
Reply to  Keith A. Nonemaker
November 24, 2014 9:17 am

Yes it does. I’ve seem ’em. They’re hiding under the surface…

O Olson
Reply to  JJ, too.
November 24, 2014 5:47 pm

This humor is really quite deep! I wonder if Trenberth would get it?

Gunga Din
Reply to  JJ, too.
November 25, 2014 1:32 pm

Graboids predate the dinosaurs.

123andy
November 24, 2014 7:22 am

What is missing from both the NYT and this article is the history of how and why Glacier National Park actually got its name. It was not from the remaining glaciers in the park, rather because of the formation of the natural shapes left behind by retreating glaciers of long ago. It is a spectacular reminder of how glaciers carved and shaped the landscape. I have been going to GNP for decades, for the past 30+ years and hiked on many of its trails. When the human caused climate change adopted the GNP remaining glaciers as its focus point those of us who know and love GNP cringed! The National Park Service in line with the Fed Govt policy of trying to manager climate change has introduced some materials into the exhibits in the Park. When a year ago I asked a ranger to defend the claims there re” human caused climate change he demurred and said “this was sent for Washington and we have to show it, but I can’t defend it.

Resourceguy
November 24, 2014 7:39 am

Spooky Environmentalism at a Distance has always been the approach with NY media coverage of conservation and related policy over reach. The farther it is from local issues the better with this approach, like world peace and other theoretical concepts.

November 24, 2014 7:42 am

What a coincidence. I am putting together a talk showing why vanishing ice is a better indicator of natural climate change and Glacier National Park is an iconic example if misinterpreting natural change in order to blame CO2 climate change.
http://landscapesandcycles.net/image/97767533.png
In 1913 the park’s largest glacier, the Sperry Glacier was nearly 500 feet thick at a point that would become its 1946 terminal edge, by 1936 that thickness had dwindled by 80% to just 108 feet. That rapid retreat prompted scientists 70 years ago to predict the natural disappearance of the park’s glaciers.
As seen in the graph of , the contrast between the early and late 20th century retreat is striking. Between 1913 and 1945 the Sperry glacier lost 1.88 squared km of its area. In contrast since 1979, it has lost just 0.1 squared kilometers despite extensive thinning. That is a yearly retreat rate less than one tenth of what scientists observed in the beginning of the 20th century. Indeed the glaciers is still receding but if rising CO2 has been the driver of recent glacier retreats, we would expect an increasingly faster rate of retreat, not slower rates.

Reply to  jim Steele
November 24, 2014 7:57 am

And in 2014 what is/was the area? That may be crucial as maybe it has been growing for the last 11 years.
Who knows, in the next 20 years it may start growing again because of global cooling and/or because of increased snowfall.
You might want to study the largest tidewater glacier in North America – Hubbard Glacier. And Taku Glacier, the largest glacier in the Juneau Ice Field. Both are reported to be advancing.

Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
November 24, 2014 8:18 am

I re-read my post and it reads like I was critical of your post. Not. I really enjoyed your presentation(s) to IEEE. I do see your point that most of the receding in Glacier Park happened before the big increase in CO2. I was just thinking about the record snowfall in the park which resulted in the latest opening of Going-to-the-Sun road on July 13, 2011, since its opening in 1932. I haven’t seen any reports about Sperry Glacier since 2011.

O Olson
Reply to  jim Steele
November 24, 2014 8:15 am

If you consider the actual volume of ice melted rather than area covered, the retreat before 1945 as compared to after is even more striking. When you see the “ranger” talk at Logan Pass about the loss of the glaciers you will note that the early pictures of Sperry and all the other glaciers show a rough and dirty surface on the ice indicative of a rapidly melting glacier. Point that out to the “ranger” and they will quickly change the subject and move along. Been there and done that.

Don B
Reply to  jim Steele
November 24, 2014 8:58 am

Another way of looking at the shrinkage….
Of the total reduction in Sperry Glacier area between 1850 and 2003, 81% of it occurred by 1945, when the rapid rise in global carbon dioxide emissions began. Natural variability is dominant.

EternalOptimist
November 24, 2014 7:54 am

Call it ‘Still’
Still the Glacier National Park.

Alec aka Daffy Duck
November 24, 2014 8:00 am

The glaciers are not from the last ice age, they are new!
“The glaciers in Glacier National Park today are all geologically new having formed in the last few thousand years. ”
http://www.nature.nps.gov/geology/parks/glac/

O Olson
Reply to  Alec aka Daffy Duck
November 24, 2014 8:17 am

Excellent point and absolutely true.

Joe Born
Reply to  Alec aka Daffy Duck
November 24, 2014 8:33 am

I wonder what “few” is. You’re reading it to mean less than, say, eight, but they they did leave plausible deniability.

Reply to  Alec aka Daffy Duck
November 24, 2014 9:07 am

Most of the glaciers were much smaller just 3000 years ago.It was during the anomalous Little Ice that most glaciers expanded and the current retreat is no different than during past warm spikes.

Joe Born
Reply to  jim Steele
November 24, 2014 10:30 am

Thank you.

November 24, 2014 8:04 am

The National Park Formerly Known as Glacier

Denis Christianson
November 24, 2014 8:13 am

As I recall from Glacier Park ranger talks from years past was that George Bird Grinnell so named the park in the 1880’s because of the circs carved out of the mountains to give them the horn and blade shapes. Glaciers did that more spectacularly in GNP than any where else in North America. It is also known as the Crown of the Continent.

Taphonomic
November 24, 2014 8:23 am

They could call it Unglaciated National Park or Yosemite II.

Mark from the Midwest
November 24, 2014 8:32 am

Just like Prince: The Park Formerly Know as Glacier National, then in about 7 to 8 years we can change the name back

Frank
Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
November 24, 2014 8:20 pm

Too bad it’s not in Alaska. Then we could call it Baked Alaska.

Stevan Makarevich
November 24, 2014 8:38 am

In this day-and-age of gender reclassification, how about Trans-Glacier National Park?

Doug Proctor
November 24, 2014 8:39 am

Another bs statement: a mass of ice has to be thick enough to flow plasticly to be a “glacier”. Almost all thesr “glaciers” are remnant, stagnant ice blocks. The usage of the term glacier is manipulative, allowing the eco-green to say we have caused a huge change, the “killing” of glaciers. These “glaciers” are long dead. Theu are huge ice cubes melting in the mountains, melting faster perhaps but continuing a process that started long before our oil business.
As to Greenland: edge glaciers will retreat until the advance equals the melting loss. If the non melting accumulation drops below the gravitational thinning and expansion rate, the first issue to be answered is about changes in precipitation in the accumulation zone. You don’t need changes in temperature to create or stop glaciation. You need changes in snow accumulation rates. Ten centimeters excess snow wrt loss per year creates a glacier in 120 ky, one meter, in 12,000 years.
Glaciers are such an advertising gimmick, I have to conclude the glaciologists of the world are complicit in the CAGW scam.

JimS
November 24, 2014 8:46 am

I had no idea that a national park had such a fragile ego tied to its identity.

Dawtgtomis
November 24, 2014 9:00 am

Who knows, in a decade or two it might be hard to see the glacier for all the ice and snow around it all year.

Don B
November 24, 2014 9:12 am

North and west of Glacier National Park lies Alaska’s Glacier Bay. The chilly Little Ice Age filled it to the Pacific Ocean with glaciers, but during the late 1700’s the glaciers began retreating, and by 1892 the glacier in the main bay had retreated about 50 miles.
http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2011/03/19/glacier-bay-ice-retreated-50-miles-between-1780-and-1892/
The first public coal fired power plant was not in operation until 1882, by the way. Those facts have not stopped the NY Times from writing scare stories about shrinking glaciers around that bay, as if that were all our fault.

Charles Pilton
November 24, 2014 9:28 am

This reminds me very much of the story with the Swiss glaciers. Swiss glaciers have probably the most comprehensive and long-running monitoring of anywhere in the world:
http://glaciology.ethz.ch/messnetz/lengthvariation.html
It is true that the Swiss glaciers are receding. But what they don’t tell you is that they have been receding since about 1870. Before that they were expanding rapidly. The people of the village of Grindelwald were afraid that thier village might be destroyed by the advancing glacier in around 1870. Then the glacier began to recede.
Like many, or even all, glaciers in Switzerland, the Grindelwald glacier rapidly retreated in the late 19th century.
They also don’t tell you that in 2 periods in the 20th century, the Swiss glaciers were mostly growing or stationary – in about 1920 and around 1970.
The picture is not one of stable glaciers until, say, 1980 and then rapid retreat. The glaciers have been growing and shrinking long before that, with very much a bias towards shrinking.

Kurt in Switzerland
Reply to  Charles Pilton
November 24, 2014 12:58 pm

Yes.
And most are not aware that for over half the Holocene, glacier extent was less than it is today and the tree line was at a higher elevation than it is today.
Kurt in Switzerland

Charles Pilton
Reply to  Kurt in Switzerland
November 24, 2014 2:05 pm

Kurt, I have often wondered how much the rate of shrinkage of the Swiss glaciers is due to changes in the amount of snowfall rather than changes in temperature. It is easy to imagine that the amount of snow falling over the Alps has changed enormously over time.
But I cannot find good, long-term measurements of snowfall. Has there been any proper study of this that you know of?
Also, the Swiss glaciers have been retreating to higher altitudes – this presumably should mean reduced rates of shrinkage in the future as obviously it is colder for longer at higher altitudes than lower altitudes.

Reply to  Kurt in Switzerland
November 24, 2014 3:47 pm

Charles
read 787. Holzhauser, H. et al. (2005) Glacier and lake-level variations in west-central Europe over the last 3500 years. The Holoccene, vol. 15, p. 789 803 It shows that high lake levels coincide with every advance of the Swiss Alps’ glaciers.
Also read 855. Kaser, G., et al. (2006) Mass balance of glaciers and ice caps: Consensus estimates for 1961–2004. Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 33, L19501, doi:10.1029/2006GL027511
He suggests the balance in Europe is unchanged because when the North Atlantic Oscillation pushes storms northward more moisture nourishes Norwegian Glaciers and starves the Alps, when NAO is negative the reverse happens. I suspect we should be witnessing an uptick in the proportion of advancing vs retreating glaciers over the next 10-20 years

Brian H
Reply to  Charles Pilton
November 25, 2014 2:34 am

The current shrinking has exposed forests and farms, up to 4,000 years old.

kwinterkorn
November 24, 2014 9:39 am

All the park needs is for Al Gore to visit and the glaciers will be fine for decades.

Doug Huffman
November 24, 2014 9:43 am

Asking a ranger now-a-days about science is like asking a cop about the law.
I was going cycling in Theodore Roosevelt NP and asked the cute front desk ranger chick about behavior around a buffalo American bison on the road, could I shoo it or go around it or wait it out? Her fat mouth-merkin co-worker yells from his Moon Pie and soda pop, “No! Ya’ gotta go back the way you came!” The road is a 30 mile loop in the Badlands, that’s not an option.
We met no buffalo, but did meet a herd of Mustang watering. They put out two young stallions as road guards that let us know that we were NOT passing. We enjoyed from a distance. When they were done and departing, the bucks pranced in a way letting us know that they enjoyed their job buffaloing humans and life in general.

Editor
Reply to  Doug Huffman
November 24, 2014 11:03 am

I was impressed by the difference in bison instructions between summer and winter in Yellowstone. In summer the said something like stay 100 yards away. Do not approach, do not feed, etc. This may make sense, on my 1974 bike trip through the area (no bison then), a waitress told me about one family who came across a bear cub and had their toddler side on it like a rocking horse for a cute picture. I didn’t bother to ask what mama bear thought of the attack on her cub….
Oh yeah. The winter instructions at Old Faithful to the few people around skiing, snowshoeing, and pretty competent outdoors they gave us information about how bison act when they’re irritated, not to be fooled by how slowly they normally walk, actual useful information. Along with don’t approach, don’t feed, and all that.
Bison hang out at the hot springs in the winter. Sort of a wintertime spa. So it is important that visitors know how to handle encounters.

John F. Hultquist
November 24, 2014 10:03 am

Thanks Bob,
I was unaware that anyone still read the NYT!
The mountains in Glacier National Park have been shaped by ice but their formation was complex and, as such, is of great interest.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glacier_National_Park_(U.S.)#Geology
Years from now they may be much reduced in height by water, wind, and gravity. Only then might it be appropriate to consider a new name. Until then (a few million years) they will display a landscape that only valley glaciers can produce.

Perry
November 24, 2014 10:16 am

I’ve been looking at boat plans on the SBC Coastal Fisheries Program & noticed a heading “Vulnerability of Coastal Fisheries to Climate Change Project”. Naturally I had to click on the link & discovered that in the 4 years & 3 months since it was set up, there have been no replies. I guess coastal fisherman know what they are doing,
http://www.spc.int/coastfish/fr/projets/changement-climatique/forum/6-sites.html

Louis
November 24, 2014 10:27 am

Why is it that environmentalists always want to maintain the status quo? The history of the Earth is one of change. If we were just now coming out of an ice age, they would want to prevent low latitude ice sheets from melting. If we were beginning a new ice age, they would want to prevent new ice sheets from forming. When they discover a species that is mismatched with its current environment and struggling to survive, they not only want to protect it, but they insist that the loss of such a species would be catastrophic to the planet. And when they find a species that is thriving and expanding, they call it an “invasive” species and want to limit or eradicate it. If they could, they would go back in time and prevent evolution from occurring because it represents change. In fact, many of them would probably want to prevent life from starting in the first place to keep the planet “pristine” in the eyes of those who would then never come into existence to see it. Some of these people are nothing short of insanely genocidal. Unfortunately, few of them are suicidal.

Richard Botteri
Reply to  Louis
November 24, 2014 5:55 pm

In their view, mankind is the enemy of nature.

2soonold2latesmart
November 24, 2014 10:43 am

As I was reading the headline for this posting, my eyes got distracted by the ad panel on the right that says: “Hot Girl Walks Around New York With No Pants On. . .” Perhaps that is adding to the global warming.
But back to the main topic. The last time I visited Glacier National Park was in mid July 2011 and the snow was as high as an elephant’s eye.
http://bit.ly/11QHBLM

Don Easterbrook
November 24, 2014 11:01 am

The glaciers in Glacier National Park will be just fine. They have grown and shrunk as the climate warmed and cooled for hundreds of thousands of years. They extended far out of the mountains onto the Great Plains during Ice Ages and shrank back into their cirques during interglacial periods. Their termini were out on the Great Plains during the last Ice Age about 15,000 to 20,000 years ago, retreated back into their cirques, then readvanced slightly during the Younger Dryas (about 12,500 to 11,500 years ago), shrank to probably less than the present during the warmer-than-present last 10,000 years until about 1500 years ago, readvanced during the Little Ice Age (last 700 years), and have been advancing and retreating on a smaller scale since about 1500 AD. If the cooling period that we are now in continues, they will most likely stop shrinking and begin to advance again. We’ve had two periods of warming this century (1915 to 1945 and 1978 to 2000). More melting likely took place during the first half of the century (before CO2 began to increase significantly) than the last half of the century so there is no reason to blame recent melting on CO2.

Reply to  Don Easterbrook
November 24, 2014 1:05 pm

+1 …I was hoping you would chime in on this, thanks Dr Easterbrook…

Kurt in Switzerland
Reply to  Don Easterbrook
November 24, 2014 1:17 pm

There’s a wealth of data on glaciers in the Swiss, Austrian, Italian and French Alps with an incredible amount of organic matter retrieved and carbon-dated. The evidence* is very powerful that the “Little Ice Age” exhibited the greatest extent for the Holocene and that glacier extent was less than today for well over half the Holocene.
Do Rocky Mountain glaciers exhibit similar data?
Kurt in Switzerland
*evidence in the form of entire tree trunks uncovered well above the current tree line, where today one only finds rubble and ice. At least 12 “warming” periods have been identified, ranging from about 100 to 1000 years’ duration, characterized by summer temperature / insolation at a level higher than today.

Mike M
November 24, 2014 11:35 am

How about like Prince – “The Park Previously Known as Glacial National Park”
And are any of these glaciers among the ones revealing forest debris from as recently as only ~1000 years ago? (Medieval Warming Period)
If so then simple, use whatever name was used for the area back then!

Robuk
November 24, 2014 11:39 am

On her second visit to Glacier National Park in 1894, Mary Vaux (pronounced “vox”) was aghast at how the Illecillewaet Glacier had retreated since her previous visit seven years earlier. The lowest edge of the Great Glacier, as it was also known then, was clearly withdrawing upslope. We now know that most of the world’s glaciers were in retreat then as they are now.
http://cmiae.org/national-park-feature-article/glaciers-lichens-and-the-history-of-the-earth/

2soonold2latesmart
Reply to  Robuk
November 24, 2014 9:56 pm

Robuk – You mention Illecillewaet Glacier which is in Glacier National Park in British Columbia, Canada. But this thread is referring to the US version of Glacier National Park in Montana right next to Waterton Lakes National Park.
Illecillewaet Glacier is a most interesting one. Saw it about a year or two ago.
http://bit.ly/1HDUqcj

Mark Albright
November 24, 2014 11:40 am

Hopefully these time series charts showing an INCREASING TREND in spring snowpack in the vicinity of Glacier National Park will help to dispel the myth of the vanishing Glacier National Park snowpack due to global warming. These charts show composited data from all 18 snotel sites near Glacier National Park with complete data over the 34 years from 1981 to 2014.
http://www.atmos.washington.edu/marka/swe.glaciernp.april.1981-2014.png
http://www.atmos.washington.edu/marka/swe.glaciernp.may.1981-2014.png
http://www.atmos.washington.edu/marka/swe.glaciernp.june.1981-2014.png

Reply to  Mark Albright
November 24, 2014 11:51 pm

Albright
There is a SNOTEL(482) site located just less than a mile from Logan Pass Visitor Center.
The melt out days for that site have all been in July/August since the IPCC and Dan Fagre have said that the area would melt out sooner.
Here are the melt out dates from SNOTEL-Flattop Mtn. since 2005.
2005 June 23rd
2006 June 28th
2007 June 30th (IPCC claims melt out date will be sooner in spring)
2008 July 16th
2009 July 2nd
2010 July 16th
2011 August 2nd
2012 July 19th
2013 July 4th
2014 July 17th
Your observations are great, but the alarmists can claim that snow depth can vary from year to year, but what they can’t explain is why the snow is lasting longer into spring and early summer.
Someone needs to ask Dan Fagre what he thinks about these melt out dates lasting longer into spring and summer, which is completely opposite of what he predicted and what the IPPC supports based on his studies.

MFKBoulder
Reply to  Mark Albright
November 25, 2014 1:06 am

Snow input is definitely one important part fo the glacier mass balance.
More important is weahter June/July thru September (northern hemisphere) :
No snowfall during this period will lead to considerable melt during summer.
Three to four cold waves evenly distributed over the summer and glaciers are likely to gain mass.
And concerning the name:
Glacier-404 Natioanl Park

Rod Glover
November 24, 2014 11:47 am

It is interesting that they mention that the melt increased after 1980. When did Mount St Helens erupt….HMMM 1980. I was at Glacier Park numerous times and a park ranger commented that a lot of ash from mount Saint Helens deposited on the glaciers and the dark soot collected heat and helped increase the melt. But that reason would not be convenient to the AGW folks

AP
November 24, 2014 12:46 pm

Perhaps it could just be relocated to Ben Nevis?

Darwin Wyatt
November 24, 2014 1:23 pm

Portage glacier in AK, retreated some 900 ft in 3 summers, (as demonstrated by terminal moraines). Starting in 1911… Ooops !

Bruce Cobb
November 24, 2014 1:42 pm

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.

Of course. Climate change did it. Not the fact that they were too small to compete with the big guys, with mushrooming costs of insurance, and unable to invest in things like snowmaking and high-speed lifts.

November 24, 2014 1:44 pm

Maybe they could erect snow fences on the continental divide like Colorado Governor John Arthur Love did in the 1960s to make snow drifts on the east side to feed more water to the rivers east of the divide. Erect giant snow fences to Save the Glaciers. I remember seeing these in 1966 and 1967 from Independence Pass on the continental divide east of Aspen. This sounds a little like carbon (CO2) sequestration boondoggles.
Ref: http://newwest.net/topic/article/healing_colorados_independence_pass/C41/L41/
“In October, a helicopter lifted the last sections of a metal snow fence from the Continental Divide on Independence Pass. For the first time in 50 years, the delicate alpine life zone in Aspen’s high mountain backyard was clear of tons of unsightly debris…
…The snow fence was a misguided effort by the Forest Service in the 1960s to sequester water for the insatiable thirst of Eastern Slope agriculture. Long lengths of slatted metal fence were installed to form snowdrifts on the East side of the Continental Divide, drifts that would purportedly melt and feed streams at the headwaters of the Arkansas River. However, the fences failed to perform, and left Independence Pass with an unsightly mess.”

Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
November 24, 2014 4:26 pm

The precursor of today’s crazy schemes to change climate.
(That scheme seems odd, would require specific placement and only have a local effect. Snow fences keep snow back by reducing wind velocity so snow drops out on the upwind side – commonly used on the upwind side of roads where I grew up to keep snow from precipitating out on the road, where it was lower than adjacent field.

Darwin Wyatt
November 24, 2014 2:22 pm

Correction: I stated Portage glacier retreated 900 ft in three years… It was Exit glacier…
“In the years between 1914 and 1917, Exit Glacier experienced its most rapid retreat. In just 3 years, the glacier retreated 908 ft (277 m) or almost a foot per day. ”
http://www.nps.gov/kefj/naturescience/upload/The%20Retreat%20of%20Exit%20Glacier.pdf
[Thank you for checking. Thank you for the correction. .mod]

more soylent green!
November 24, 2014 2:40 pm

You know how Lake Mead is running dry? You know how they have so much snow in Buffalo that they’re afraid of flooding when it melts. It seems to me if Buffalo has too much snow but Lake Mead needs the runoff, they should truck it over.
Better yet, use Warren Buffett’s railroad to haul it.

Billy Liar
November 24, 2014 3:01 pm

Global warming has been increasing the amount of snow falling on the glaciers in Glacier NP recently:
http://www.nrmsc.usgs.gov/research/ftm_snow.htm
2013 and 2014 are both well above the 1970-2013 average.
In 2011 it took until 7 July to get the snow ploughs to the Logan Pass Visitor Center on the Going to the Sun Road.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/glaciernps/page15/
This site shows the opening dates for the GTTS road from 1970 -1999, the latest being 23 June:
http://www.nrmsc.usgs.gov/research/gtsr.htm
How’s the Park going to manage if it can’t open the Going to the Sun Road?

Reply to  Billy Liar
November 24, 2014 3:50 pm

Suggesting global warming is increasing snow fall is a leap, Changes in precipiiation due to Pacific Decadal Oscillaiton would be a more likely driver.

Billy Liar
Reply to  jim Steele
November 25, 2014 9:19 am

Actually, it was sarcasm!

Reply to  Billy Liar
November 24, 2014 10:57 pm

Hey Billy, if you’re interested, I did a small piece on this subject.
I should do a repost/follow-up.
In 2011 the opening was actually the 13th. But it would have been even later if they hadn’t rushed the opening. Snow removal was expensive that year to get the Logans Pass opened, but once visitors got there, the Lodge was still buried in 8 feet of snow.
You should go see the photos I found.

Reply to  ClimateForAll
November 24, 2014 10:58 pm

oops.. heres the address:
climate4all.wordpress.com/2011/08/05/forced-openings/

Billy Liar
Reply to  ClimateForAll
November 25, 2014 9:23 am

Great pics! There are some on the Glacier Park Flicker stream of visitors going into the Visitors Center between walls of snow at least 7 feet high in 2011.

November 24, 2014 4:19 pm

Excellent point about glaciers melting in an interglacial period.
Another factor is precipitation. On the BC coast north of Vancouver BC tribal people gave one glacier a name that referred to its disappearance and appearance over a long time.
(It may be a marginal location for a glacier, I’d suspect the PDO as a factor though north-south shift of winds might be another – winds from the southwest bring moisture, from the north cold.)

Eamon Butler
November 24, 2014 4:53 pm

No problem. We just need to turn down the Co2 dial a little bit, and all our glaciers will be just fine.
In fact, it will solve all known problems.
Eamon.

Don
November 24, 2014 5:47 pm

I didn’t read all 103 comments so if this point has been made I apologize, but it wasn’t called Glacier NP because of the glaciers but because of the visible past glacier activity.

Wondering Aloud
Reply to  Don
November 24, 2014 8:50 pm

I don’t think so Don. It’s a lot easier to see past glacial activity in Michigan ironically. Or Wisconsin of course.

accordionsrule
November 24, 2014 8:45 pm

What this article needs is a tear-jerking Photoshopped image of a grizzly stranded on a moraine.

Wondering Aloud
November 24, 2014 8:48 pm

I wonder why there are glaciers there at all? The altitude is way too low for year round snow caps at that latitude isn’t it? At that latitude shouldn’t it be above 3000 m? The mountains there are a couple thousand feet too low. Glacier has more to do with unique local weather patterns than with anything else.

November 24, 2014 8:50 pm

On the PBS Newshour toningt the headline of a story about tundra and rodents was “Baked Alaska”

November 24, 2014 10:33 pm

NYT is lucky I can’t leave comments on that post, because I was ready to expose that piece of trash.

November 24, 2014 10:42 pm

@Wondering Aloud.
Glaciers are more or less just compressed snow. Over years and decades of pressure from annual precipitation, the compacted glaciers are forced down the valleys from gravity.
As far as altitude, it really just becomes a matter of mass vs temperature. If there is enough snow to last the year, regardless of altitude, the accumulation will create glaciers.
I don’t know if WUTW ran a story about roaming glaciers in the tundra flats up here in Alaska, but do a google on it. Its quite interesting.

Reply to  ClimateForAll
November 25, 2014 11:03 am

I Googled and Binged Roaming Glaciers in tundra, and a bunch of other stuff. Didn’t find anything – could you be more specific, or provide a link? Are they the glaciers originating in Denali National Park? What do you mean?

Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
November 25, 2014 8:23 pm

Hey sorry for not replying sooner. I guess it would help if I used the right term.
The correct term is “Frozen Debris Lobe”
It is a relatively new term and mostly unknown.
There is 23 such features along the Dalton highway and will threaten the Alaska Pipeline within 3 to 10 years. One lobe is just 50 meters away from the highway and its moving about a half inch a day.
Here is the kicker…. some scientists say that climate change may be the cause of these lobes moving so fast.
You just can’t this stuff up.

Wondering Aloud
Reply to  ClimateForAll
November 26, 2014 11:23 am

Thanks, I hadn’t thought it through that way, but I guess that is still a local weather phenomena.

rabbit
November 24, 2014 11:07 pm

I remember going to the Columbia Icefields in the Canadian Rockies around 1970. The guides said that the ice had been receding since the last glacial period, and that in a century or so they would be out of a job (arf, arf).
Yet this was a time when people were concerned about global cooling, not warming,

KenB
November 25, 2014 12:21 am

Johnathan Gruber opportunity alert! Sell off Glacier Park prime real estate. any fool will buy it hook line or sinker, just don’t let anyone read the fine print on the sale document of course and eventually when the glaciers advance sometime, this will be another opportunity to declare it a park, i.e. sell high then re-buy at catastrophic low prices, and in between create taxing opportunities complete with scary predictions and of course make it look like you cared one way or the other. sarc……

DirkH
November 25, 2014 1:15 am

“GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, Mont. — What will they call this place once the glaciers are gone?”
NY – What will they call this place once the NYT is gone?

Gunga Din
November 25, 2014 1:37 pm

In honor of the those who still cling to their Hockey Sticks, how about “Glazed-eyes National Park”?

Joel O'Bryan
November 25, 2014 3:38 pm

Call it “Waterton Lakes National Park South.” Since the northern half of the international park is in Canada where sanity in their government still reigns.

November 25, 2014 5:13 pm

I have rellies who live on the edge of Glacier Park. I first visited them there in 1980. My cousin said we have to take a long hike to see the glaciers before they all melt. And we did. We hiked about 5 miles one way to see Grinnell Glacier. I believe in 1980 the hysterians were talking global cooling, not warming, yet it was known that the glaciers were slowly receding and had been for a long time, certainly from before coal fired power plants and gasoline engines.

P Wilson
November 27, 2014 6:10 am

it’s assumed the Glacier National park has an identity. Whether the Glacier National Park would agree with this proposition is not known.

Ed Zuiderwijk
November 28, 2014 9:39 pm

The park former known as ……..

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
November 28, 2014 9:41 pm

eh, formerly. (It’s late here)

SocietalNorm
November 30, 2014 7:33 pm

They should keep calling it Glacier National Park. After all, we have the Los Angeles Lakers and the Utah Jazz.

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