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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: Who cares if it's real or not?!
By FITCamaro on 10/17/2008 8:16:00 AM , Rating: 3
Getting off fossil fuels, means using less over time until you use none. It does not mean drilling here.

He said and I quoted getting off our dependency of foreign oil. Not getting off fossil fuels. Drilling here will do that.

If smog issues are solved, how come we still have smog? How come we have asthmatics who can't go outside on red days? Why do we still have red days? Maybe you just don't go outside.

Here in the US, very few areas still have smog issues. Mainly those whose geographic locations prevent the escape of emissions. In those areas, they require tighter emissions controls and its understandable. But overall, emissions equipment has drastically improved the air quality in our cities. All the more reason to move away from those areas though. Especially if you are someone with asthma.

You would probably still gripe about solar energy even if solar panels were being given away for free.

If by free you meant "free". As in paid for by our tax dollars. Then yes I would. If people want to put solar panels on their house that THEY pay for. Fine. But using it in power plants is just a waste of a large amount of land and money for a very small amount of power that isn't even available all the time. And even if it was 100% efficient it still would only be around 50% reliable due to nighttime and cloudy days. So you either need huge amounts of essentially battery backup or those old coal fired plants or nuclear plants to provide electricity.

As for nuclear... I noticed that you failed to include safe in your list of the benefits of nuclear power. I personally am not against nuclear power in concept. I am against using outdated technologies that result in abundant amounts of untreatable waste, and do not address sustainability and safety.

I didn't need to mention it because I didn't need to. Because it is safe. If it wasn't would the French be using it for over 90% of their power generation? And funny how they don't seem to have problems with waste? Because they reprocess their fuel. As we should be doing but don't because of the environmental agenda. As far as sustainability. Typical plant life is 50 years. I don't know the reasons they can't operate longer. Compare this to solar cells which have a lifespan of 25-30 years and will produce far less electricity during that lifespan. So then they need to be replaced with materials that are finite. With fuel reprocessing and modern reactors, our ability to use nuclear power is for all purposes indefinite. By the time our fuel would run out we'll likely have mastered fusion.

By FITCamaro on 10/17/2008 8:20:48 AM , Rating: 2
I didn't mention it because I didn't need to.*


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