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Glacier Bay National Park. Two and a half centuries ago, the entire area was covered by thick sheets of ice.
High snowfall and cold weather to blame.

A bitterly cold Alaskan summer has had surprising results. For the first time in the area's recorded history, area glaciers have begun to expand, rather than shrink. Summer temperatures, which were some 3 degrees below average, allowed record levels of winter snow to remain much longer, leading to the increase in glacial mass.

"In mid-June, I was surprised to see snow still at sea level in Prince William Sound", said glaciologist Bruce Molnia. "In general, the weather this summer was the worst I have seen in at least 20 years".

"On the Juneau Icefield, there was still 20 feet of new snow on the surface [in] late July. At Bering Glacier, a landslide I am studying [did] not become snow free until early August."

Molnia, who works for the US Geological Survey, said it's been a "long time" since area glaciers have seen a positive mass balance -- an increase in the total amount of ice they contain.

Since 1946, the USGS has maintained a research project measuring the state of Alaskan glaciers. This year saw records broken for most snow buildup. It was also the first time since any records began being that the glaciers did not shrink during the summer months.

Those records date from the mid 1700s, when the region was first visited by Russian explorers.  Molnia estimates that Alaskan glaciers have lost about 15% of their total area since that time -- an area the size of Connecticut.

One of the largest areas of shrinkage has been at the national park of Glacier Bay. When Alexei Ilich Chirikof first arrived in 1741, the bay didn't exist at all -- only a solid wall of ice. From that time until the early 1900s, the ice retreated some 50 miles, to form the bay and surrounding area.

Accordingly to Molnia, a difference of just 3 or 4 degrees is enough to shift the mass balance of glaciers from rapid shrinkage to rapid growth. From the 1600s to the 1900s, that’s just the amount of warming that was seen, as the planet exited the Little Ice Age.

Molnia says one cold summer doesn't mean the start of a new climatic trend. At least years like this, however, might mark the beginning of another Little Ice Age.

As DailyTech reported earlier, Arctic sea ice this year has also increased substantially from its low in 2007.

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RE: That may be so but...
By probedb on 10/16/2008 10:53:38 AM , Rating: 2
re·li·gion –noun 1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe , esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances , and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

So you're saying recycling is now a ritual observance of the the new religion that is global warming?

Also we're talking about a planet, that definition quite clearly says universe.

RE: That may be so but...
By masher2 on 10/16/2008 10:56:11 AM , Rating: 5
I believe Crichton nailed it when he called AGW the new religion of liberal urbanites. Look at the widespread references to Gaia, "Mother Earth", and the belief the planet is a living organism. Also note the widespread rejection of any suggestions to mitigate GW through technology -- the only solution adherents are willing to consider involves us admitting to our guilt over our sinful lifestyle, and making a sacrifice by giving up some part of it.

No different than going to the priest, saying "forgive me father for I have sinned", then taking your penance.

RE: That may be so but...
By nah on 10/16/2008 11:05:44 AM , Rating: 2
No different than going to the priest, saying "forgive me father for I have sinned", then taking your penance.

The analysis is excellent--

RE: That may be so but...
By InvertMe on 10/16/2008 11:08:30 AM , Rating: 5
I think the topic scares some people (well a lot of people) and that's why for some it turns into a religous experience. Really that's the main reason for any religon - fear, acceptance and good old fashion brain washing.

RE: That may be so but...
By nah on 10/16/2008 12:51:27 PM , Rating: 1
Really that's the main reason for any religon - fear, acceptance and good old fashion brain washing.

I disagree--people can make choices based on what they think is correct--it may be incorrect--but it isn't necessarily based on fear or acceptance

RE: That may be so but...
By Spuke on 10/16/2008 5:01:56 PM , Rating: 2
but it isn't necessarily based on fear or acceptance
I agree but I think in this case it's just fear.

RE: That may be so but...
By Jim28 on 10/19/2008 12:49:11 PM , Rating: 2

But unfortunately in this day and age, fear is constantly cultivated for various reasons in order to advance all sorts of agendas.

RE: That may be so but...
By Strunf on 10/16/2008 6:55:56 PM , Rating: 2
Living in Europe I have never read any article calling earth Gaia, mother earth or anything else than earth... but then again the US is known for its sects so I'm not even surprised by what you say.

"People Don't Respect Confidentiality in This Industry" -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton
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