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This is the edge of the Harding Icefield, which covers 300 square miles, not counting the 38 glaciers that descend from it. subscription yet. What about accommodating visitors in the future? The adjective glacial no longer applies, it seems. It matches the cloudy sky, and my mood. Exit Glacier, a finger of cracked, blue-white ice that drops out of 700-square-mile Harding Icefield, some of it outside the park, is relatively small, only 14 square miles. Most visitors arrive by car or as part of a guided tour, but it’s also possible to catch a shuttle from Seward to the glacier during the summer months. In the past, mountaineers and glacier travelers at higher elevations used a bag-and-dump system to discard their waste into deep crevasses, as was the typical practice elsewhere, she said. Exit Glacier retreated a total of 735.4 feet (224.1 m) over this five year span. It will take years and maybe decades for the channels to settle on a stable pattern, Curran said. Stay informed about the latest scientific discoveries & breakthroughs. The U.S. Geological Survey and researchers from the University of Alaska and University of Washington have crunched altitude data to calculate changes in the past half century at Exit and elsewhere. There are some glaciers you can drive to, but very few that you can stroll to. 4 dead, suspect in custody in Mat-Su homicide investigation, Tracking COVID-19 in Alaska: 481 new cases and no deaths reported Monday, For Trump, 20 days of fantasy and failure, ‘It’s bad. The nature center includes exhibits about the Exit Glacier area, an Alaska Geographic bookstore, and rangers to help answer questions about the area.. Operating hours of the nature center.. A 2003 reportwas based on modeling a scenario of doubling pre-industrial atmospheric CO2 levels by 2030, which would have melted the park’s major glaciers – and presumably the minor ones, too – by 2030. Information signs posted in the pavilion explain why the once-sweeping view is now obstructed, along with other effects of climate warming. Exit Glacier is one of Alaska's few road-accessible glaciers. Some Kenai Fjords glaciers are losing even more ice. To answer this question I’ll first put it into some context thanks to some information from Quora User. Exit Glacier is the sole glacier accessible by road in the park. President Barack Obama visited Exit Glacier in 2015. It is unlikely that any kind of similar structure would be put in near the glacier's current terminus, she said: "If you build something that has a lot of infrastructure, at some point it's going to be out of date again.". There was no snow, no ice, reasonable temperatures but that didn't matter. An Alaskan couple stops at the pavilion to talk. Decades ago, Seward teacher Dan Seavey was among the locals who honed his dog-sledding skills in the glacier's valley, sometimes driving dogs directly onto the ice. … Each spring and fall, park workers go to the glacier to get detailed measurements of its terminus position. There are flashes of blue, but from this distance it mostly resembles dirty shoveled snow on a sidewalk. Moving up to 300 feet in a single year, the glacier’s retreat is marked each decade. The park in previous years had built, moved and rebuilt bridges along the trail, but managers gave up that program as well, she said. A pavilion built in 1987 to give visitors a place to rest in the shade was originally situated to provide a good view of the glacier; now the view is of alders that hem the structure after springing up in ground uncovered by the glacier's retreat. The colder the temperature, the more that heavier isotopes are present. They're like little thermometers in the fish," he said. Here’s a look at what’s changing. A new management plan for the park's front country — the Exit Glacier area — is in the works to address that. Tourists driving to the glacier can learn about its retreat from signposts along the road, which mark its previous reach. Photographed May 17 in Kenai Fjords National Park. Alaska scientists recently studied this living agent of glacier melt. The president trekked up Exit Glacier on Tuesday as part of his three-day tour in the state to campaign for climate awareness. Thick stands of alder with some willow come next, followed by black cottonwood forest that slowly gives way to shade-tolerant mountain hemlock. Other well-known and much-visited Alaska glaciers are shrinking noticeably. From this distance, gazing up the open valley, I sense the immensity of the icefield. In 2015, President Barack Obama stood at a lookout and enumerated the facts of glacial melting and rising sea levels. It’s really bad’: Anchorage nurses under pressure as COVID-19 pushes busy hospitals to the brink. In Kenai Fjords National Park, Exit Glacier was a popular attraction for just this reason. “How long before the tourists stop coming to Exit Glacier?” Simon asks. (Marc Lester / Alaska Dispatch News), A visitor takes in the view of Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park on July 17. That means future park visitors may not be able to get a close view of Exit Glacier, but they will at least have a safe perch to see where the glacier used to be. Thanks to global warming, our planet's glaciers continue to melt away, losing up to 390 billion tons of ice and snow per year, a new study suggests. Already, there is some disappointment at the end of the Exit Glacier trail. Good for the scientists. We are seniors and enjoyed the ride and hike. This dissolve shows five years of melt and retreat at Exit Glacier from July 26, 2011 to August 25, 2016. The marker for 1917 is about a mile from the glacier’s current point. Kim said. From the Exit Glacier parking lot it’s an easy walk to the overlook. Then I make my exit. "If you slice it, you can see growth rings, just like trees.". When President Taft created Glacier National Park in 1910, it was home to an estimated 150 glaciers. Highly recommend. The woman remembers visiting in the 1990s, when you could still walk onto the glacier. One interpretative sign is titled Living Laboratory, a nod at the scientific value of studying glacier retreats. Exit, glacier. "It's striking to see the same process in the South and in the North.". Much longer-term geologic processes are at work, the study concludes. This ease of accessibility allows Exit Glacier to be one of the most highly-visited glaciers in Alaska, with over 100,000 annual visitors, including President Obama on his 2015 trip to Alaska when he chose Exit Glacier to highlight the impacts of climate change. SEWARD — A finger of ice spilling out of the Chugach Mountains marks Alaska's rapidly warming climate — almost literally. The bones are from two sites, one about 200 years old and another about 100 years old, left by ancestors of today's Kenai Peninsula-area Sugpiaq people. was the biggest in any single summer on record, pioneering 1968 ski traverse across the Harding Icefield, honed his dog-sledding skills in the glacier's valley, retreat has caused the terminus to split into two thinner branches, are significant contributors to global sea-level rise, alculate changes in the past half century at Exit and elsewhere, the arduous hike up to the base of Harding Icefield, the most mass loss at the icefield's lowest elevations, increased torrents of freshwater dilute the saltwater and the calcium in it, floods that had regularly closed off traffic. Past results found the most viewed stories this week on the Monitor stories you care about delivered your. 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