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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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Lies, lies, lies
By ddarko on 10/16/2008 1:46:04 PM , Rating: 1
As DailyTech reported earlier, Arctic sea ice this year has also increased substantially from its low in 2007.

As usual, keep on repeating the lies in the hope that lying enough and loudly enough, even when the actual science disproves you, will make you right.

Here's what US National Snow and Ice Data Center really said about Arctic sea ice:

"The figures put the size of the Arctic sea ice at the end of the northern summer about one third lower than the average recorded over the last three decades.

"This year further reinforces the strong negative trend in summertime ice extent observed over the past 30 years," analysts at the ice data centre say in their latest report. Hopes the Arctic can recover are now slim. As the sea ice fails to return, there are concerns the melt will become one of the "tipping points" pushing the planet towards faster climate change. Scientists fear the vast Arctic sea ice, which covers the North Pole, could disappear in summer within a few decades.

"We might see an ice-free Arctic Ocean by the year 2030, within some of our life times," the centre's Mark Serreze told the Herald recently. "There are some scientists out there who think that even might be optimistic".

The loss of the Arctic sea ice in summer would be unprecedented in human history, says Dr Don Perovich, of the US Army's Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory. "As near as we can tell, looking at the historical record, there's been ice in the Arctic in the summer for at least 16 million years."

RE: Lies, lies, lies
By InvertMe on 10/16/2008 1:55:02 PM , Rating: 1
Asher doesn't look at whole pictures. He looks at a small sample that furthers his agenda. Havn't you figured that out yet?

RE: Lies, lies, lies
By whiskerwill on 10/16/2008 2:00:03 PM , Rating: 3
The "whole picture"? You mean that the Arctic has been melting ever since the last Ice Age ended?

Wait, that picture doesn't further your own agenda, now does it?

RE: Lies, lies, lies
By masher2 on 10/16/2008 1:56:39 PM , Rating: 2
The original DT article was correct; even the British press eventually reported that Arctic ice melt had slowed considerably:

Your link doesn't contradict the story if one reads closely. If you note, your story says ice melt "peaked at a level close to last year". The Sydney Morning Herald chose to focus on the doom and gloom aspect, rather than pointing out that level was a considerable rebound from the year before.

Furthermore, if one looks at the most recent AMSR satellite data (from yesterday, in fact) one sees that Arctic sea ice is now up nearly 30% from 2007, and growing at one of the fastest rates on record:

RE: Lies, lies, lies
By ddarko on 10/16/08, Rating: -1
RE: Lies, lies, lies
By masher2 on 10/16/2008 2:55:14 PM , Rating: 5
> "You "interpret" the demonstrating the the warming doesn't occur"

I said no such thing. While I doubt any rational statement will penetrate your spittle-specked diatribe, had you read my analysis which followed that article, you would have seen these words from me:
Recent short-term gains in Arctic ice coverage indicate nothing about the eventual state of the Arctic...

We know the Arctic will eventually be open water. The only question is how it will affect us...
In fact, in that article and many others, I've repeatedly and clearly stated the Arctic has been-- up until the past year-- on a long-term warming trend for the past several centuries.

There were no "lies" in the article, nothing but a bald statement of fact. You chose to interpret those facts incorrectly, in a partisan, tendentious manner. I can't help that...but I can set the record straight.

RE: Lies, lies, lies
By ipay on 10/16/08, Rating: -1
RE: Lies, lies, lies
By thepalinator on 10/16/2008 5:09:45 PM , Rating: 3
Frankly, you just seem pissed he didn't phrase the facts in a way that would scare people. Both stories are saying the same thing. You're the one trying to read between the lines.

RE: Lies, lies, lies
By foolsgambit11 on 10/16/2008 9:03:01 PM , Rating: 1
It depends on what you mean by 'is'. I mean, what you mean by 'contradict'. Was your original article correct? Well, the sea ice melting season had not ended (contrary to what you claimed), and we lost nearly 25% of the sea ice you reported remained. You reported 6 million km^2 of ice remained. September's average total coverage was 4.67 km^2. So in that way, your article was contradicted.

In the sense that ice coverage was greater this year than last, you were correct. But in the extent of the difference, and in the absolute numbers, you were wrong, because you were not using the universally agreed upon metric of the September average. I don't dispute that you should have posted your first article, only that you (or somebody else, Jason, maybe) should have posted something updating all on the current, final numbers.

RE: Lies, lies, lies
By masher2 on 10/16/2008 9:45:23 PM , Rating: 3
> "Well, the sea ice melting season had not ended (contrary to what you claimed)"

From the perspective of monthly values, the season was over. By the time September data is available, the icepack has already been growing for more than two full weeks. There is no "universally agreed upon" metric to report September values only.

One can certainly argue that, even though the conclusions were correct, the story was still premature. It was, however, far less premature than stories appearing months earlier, which rashly (and falsely) predicted the Arctic would be entirely ice free this year.

DT even ran one of those stories...and interestingly enough, I notice you didn't invoke the same criticisms for it:

"Death Is Very Likely The Single Best Invention Of Life" -- Steve Jobs
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