Sunday, February 20, 2005

Shrinking glaciers evidence of global warming

Differences seen by looking at photos from 100 years ago

A couple of readers have commented that global warming is an impossibility, apparently because they can't conceive of puny humans impacting something as large as the globe's climate. Since their brains can't seem to grasp the possibility, here is compelling visual evidence of global warming -- all you have to do is trust your eyes and drop your political preconceptions.

Glaciers throughout Alaska are shrinking more and more rapidly, and scientists comparing old photos taken up to a century ago with digital images made during climbing expeditions today say the pictures provide the most dramatic evidence yet that global warming is real.

And it's not only the glaciers reflecting the climate change. Everywhere on the treeless tundra north of the jagged slopes of Alaska's Brooks Range, explosive bursts of vegetation -- willows, alders, birch and many shrubs -- are thriving where permafrost once kept the tundra surface frozen in winter.

Two geophysicists and a government geologist who spend much of their working lives exploring changes in the Arctic displayed dozens of photographs from the thousands in their files Thursday at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

"You don't need science to prove the point," said Matt Nolan of the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. "This evidence is visual, and it's real.

Shrinking glaciers evidence of global warming

Here are the pictures of the non-glaciers in southeast Alaska; click on the "Next" button to see the same glacier today, and then any of the images on the left side to see the before and after images:

Pictures of glaciers receding


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