Thursday, September 20, 2007

Where Have All The Glaciers Gone?

Just one day after instituting the maven’s “most wonderful letter of the day,” I must announce that I am not making the award today. After carefully reading all the letters in the TD this morning, I have concluded that none of them are good enough to merit this high honor. There is one letter that I do need to mention, however.

The letter “Just How Much Global Warning Are We Causing” accuses Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and others of lying when they say that climate change has caused the glaciers in Glacier National Park to melt. The letter indicates that when the author and his wife toured the park in 1998, “[t]he park ranger conducting the tour told us that there have never been any glaciers in Glacier National Park.”

Well this is surely revealing. If there were never any glaciers in the park then it surely is ludicrous to suggest that global warming has melted them.

In the words of the letter’s author, I decided to “set the record straight.” I went to the website of Glacier National Park. I clicked on a short video (, which indicated that when the park was formed in 1910 there were about 150 glaciers. When the video was made there were only 27 glaciers left and most of them were shrinking rapidly. The video showed before and after photographs, which even to my aging eyes revealed that where there were once sheets of ice there are now bare rocks or pools of water.

I am glad to report to you that Robert Kennedy, Jr., did not lie to the author of the letter. Despite what a park ranger once told the author there were in fact glaciers in Glacier National Park. Now most of them are gone.

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