Alaskan Glaciers Grow for First Time in 250 years

Glacier BayHigh snowfall and cold weather to blame.

By Michael Asher

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.

Read the rest of this story at Daily Tech.

8 Responses to Alaskan Glaciers Grow for First Time in 250 years

  1. Flanagan October 17, 2008 at 5:13 am #

    Well, the fact that it is raining today in Karlshrue doesn’t mean there’s no global warming either. To answer that question one has to look at the “big picture”, the world-wide glacier extensions.

    What the numbers say: the total mass of glaciers has been decreasing more and more rapidly over the last two decades.

  2. Neil F. October 19, 2008 at 2:59 pm #

    But Al Gore said that we are heading for a climate catstophe. That all the ice at the poles was gonna melt and raise the sea levels by 20 feet. That global warming is happenning now, and wer’e well on our way to a rise in global temperatures to 6 deg. C. over the global average. He also said that there would be droughts, and floods, and extreme weather events, and massive hurricanes, and that the science is settled and anyone who denies it is a Flat Earther. He also said he invented the internet. Hmmmm…………

  3. jtom October 21, 2008 at 12:31 pm #

    When the glaciers extend into Iowa, Gore and Flanagan will still be talking about ‘the big picture’.

    We’ve now had a decade of cooling. When does this ‘short-term trend’ be considered a long-term change?

    At any rate, all the ‘traditional’ models based on various cycles (including sunspots) have been dead-on target. All the models on global warming based on CO2 emissions have been flat-out wrong.

  4. Rob N. Hood October 21, 2008 at 1:43 pm #

    Could it be possible, my smug friends, that while humans have caused climate change for the warmer, that mother nature is simulatneously doing the opposite? Some folks out there seem so certain about something so complicated. It usually makes me wonder why. Why the utter hatred and/or dread of environmentally friendlier technology, with or without climate change being an issue? How about a cleaner earth for ourselves and all the precious children we are all supposedly so concerned about. Seems a bit hypocritical to me. But hey, I’m a crazy liberal, what do I know? Dan will now tells us all how much the terrible green techno monster will mess with us and cost us oh so much money. Been to the gas pumps much Dan, or does your limo driver do all your dirty work?

  5. Dan McGrath October 21, 2008 at 4:28 pm #

    “Could it be possible, my smug friends, that while humans have caused climate change for the warmer, that mother nature is simulatneously doing the opposite?”

    Were that the case, wouldn’t it make more sense to encourage substances purported to cause warming? Why would we want to try to stop warming in the face of cooling? Is winter your favorite season, and you want it to last all year? Or are you suggesting that the Earth is consciously self-correcting?

    Simply saying that a technology is environmentally friendly doesn’t make it so. As an example, all the greenies love cloth diapers, because they’re reusable, don’t go to landfills (maybe they’re even “organic”), etc. A recent study in England found that cloth diapers contribute more greenhouse gasses than disposables because of energy used washing and drying them.

    Hey – sometimes new stuff IS better. And greenies like to call themselves progressive! Progressing boldy toward a futuristic life of trains for transportation, windmills for power and hanging cloth diapers up to dry on the old clothesline in the winter.

    Ethanol is demonstrably bad for the environment in many ways and shows no pollution benefit. Wind turbines knock birds out of the sky. A DDT ban spreads disease. CFLs introduce highly toxic mercury vapor into our environment. Enviro-tech is BS. None of these technologies improve either our way of life or our environment.

    Funny you’d suggest that I have a chauffeur, because that’s one of the many hats I’ve worn. Alas, I’m just the driver, not the wealthy passenger.

  6. Rob N. Hood October 22, 2008 at 11:16 am #

    So quick to try and discredit EVERYTING that liberal earth lovers like me brings up. Why? And I didn’t bring up Ethanol, you did. I’m against it. And no it wouldn’t make sense to help global warming along IF it also includes the continuation of unecessary pollution, etc. Besides, WE DON’T KNOW FOR SURE THAT THE TEMPS IS DECREASING OR INCREASING- mainly because of all the disinformation out there. The disinformation allows the status quo to continue- that is just a convenient accident I suppose… right? Aw, shucks Dan- are you just a humble plumber too? You should be weathly, or becoming so- promoting Big Oil like you do… Maybe you’re not so smart after all.

  7. Neil F. October 26, 2008 at 7:11 pm #

    Smugness? How can you describe someone who is against the proposed detrimental changes to our economy to combat the entirely fictitious idea that manmade CO2 emissions are raising the planet’s temperature as “smug”?
    You obviously don’t know what the word smug means. According to, it is:
    Exhibiting or feeling great or offensive satisfaction with oneself or with one’s situation; self-righteously complacent.
    Does that describe me? I don’t think so. Does that describe Mr. McGrath? Not to me it doesn’t. I mean we are the exact opposite of that. Wer’e pissed off that we may be forced to completely change our lives. Submit to being told what to drive, where and how to live, and pay much higher taxes.
    What smug is, are people who are insistant that we keep mixing ethanol into our fuel even after it has been documented that the production of ethanol produces way more CO2 than burning the fuel it replaces. Yet it is still in practice. Why? Because self-rightous liberals think they are saving the Earth by doing so, and shout down anyone who tries to tell them otherwise. That is self-righteous complacency. That is smug.

  8. Mike Mills December 15, 2008 at 1:59 pm #

    Mr. Hood, you say correctly that we don’t know for sure whether temps are rising or falling. With that in mind, let’s oppose spending trillions of dollars setting up a world economic system based on the notion of global warming.

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