Sarah Palin might be able to see Russia, but refuses to look in her backyard to see Exit Glacier making an exit.
Exit Glacier is one of 38 glaciers in the Harding Icefield (the largest icefield entirely contained within the United States) and is part of the Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska. Exit Glacier is accessible by road and visited by tens of thousands of park visitors each year.
A detailed study of the Glacier’s history was conducted by Joel Cusick a mapping specialist for the national Park Service, which plotted the glacier’s movement over the last 200 years using tree coring and aerial photography. His data gives clear insight to the magnitude and the time scale of glacier movements in the area.
Exit Glacier reached it’s maximum extent in 1815 which was during a time of global cooling known as the the Little Ice Age (LIA), that occurred approximately between 1350-1870.
For the first 75 years it retreated an average of 3.1 ft (1 meter)/year. Perhaps coincidentlally roughly corresponding with the start of the industrial revolution and the increased use of coal burning to power machines and generate electricity.
It’s interesting to note that the most rapid glacial retreat occurred between 1914-1917, which was 302 ft (92 meters) per year, which roughly mirrors the time period of the first world war.
Since that time Exit Glacier has had a few periods of stagnation in the rate of retreat, but the over-all trend is clearly negative and many times higher than the early days of the industrial revolution. The industrial revolution provided many benefits, but it failed on reducing the work week for the common man and may have had unintended consequences of serious climate change in a relatively short period of time.
EV of the Year Judge, independent green journalist, photographer, author and sustainability activist that has published over 1000 articles. Mr Burridge’s travels have taken him to over 30 countries and 300+ major cities. He is originally from the USA, but has been residing in Australia for the last seven years. Connect to Ken Burridge on: Twitter, facebook, Google+, Linked in or website