martes, 20 de diciembre de 2016

Disappearing glaciers

Glacier National Park in Montana has a name to live up to. But it’s a name that seems to be living on borrowed time, as Conor Knighton discovered On the Trail.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and answer the questions.

1 How far have Conor and Dan been walking before reaching their destination in Montana’s Glacier National Park?
2 What does Dan compare rephotography to?
3 When will the glaciers in Montana’s Glacier National Park have disappeared?
4 How will Dan feel if glaciers disappear?
5 How far has the glacier in Kenai Fjords retreated in 2016?
6 What are the photos of glaciers being used for these days?

Glacier National Park in Montana has a name to live up to. But it’s a name that seems to be living on borrowed time, as Conor Knighton discovered On the Trail.
Like most photographers, Dan Fagre is obsessed with getting the perfect shot. We’ll have hiked around 12 miles all together, up steep mountain passes, across icy streams, all to photograph a small slice of Montana’s Glacier National Park.  Visitors take snapshots of the views, but when Fagre looks through his lens, he sees something different. He’s trying to take a picture of what isn’t there, the tons and tons of ice that have disappeared.
Oh my gosh! None of it is there!
None of that is there, so…
Fagre is an ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. 
So in 1938 then, the glacier filled this entire basin…
Using material from the park’s archive, the USGS has been rephotographing old black and white images.
Rephotography is really interesting, it’s a little bit of a detective story. You’re trying to find the exact spot that a photographer stood decades before and shoot the exact same picture, and then compare the changes between those two time spans.
In a short amount of time, the change has been dramatic.
So 50 years ago, what’d we been looking at?
50 years ago we would have been under ice right now.
Oh, really? Right here?
Right here. We would’ve been under a lot of ice.
The sign says Glacier National Park, but some models have suggested that these Montana mountains will lose, if not all of their glaciers, by 2030. Soon there won’t be any ice left to photograph.
You know, like a lot of people, I really like the glaciers in Glacier Park, and while I will be sad to see them go personally, I think my role as a scientist is to make sure that everybody understands the pace at which they’re disappearing, and the reasons for that, so that, again, better decisions could be made societally.
The reason, scientists explain, is climate change; the planet is heating up.  Park Service Director John Jarvis has said that climate change is fundamentally the greatest threat to the integrity of our national parks that we have ever experienced.
Visiting the parks this year, I’ve experienced it first hand. At Kenai Fjords in Alaska, the massive glaciers will survive longer than those in Montana, but they’re still shrinking.   Walking into the park, there are signs where there was once ice,1899, 1926, 1961, all the way up to 2005, markers of where this glacier used to be. 
Last year, President Obama paid a visit to Kenai Fjords to talk about climate change.
That is melting glaciers and blocks of ice, that’s raising sea levels…
In 2016, this glacier has already retreated over 250 feet. That’s a new record.
Well, the glaciers have been receding, and the surprising thing, the thing that lets us know that this is an indication of climate change, is the rate of retreat has increased drastically.
At the park Ranger Fiona North also uses photos to illustrate the before and after.
So this one, this is 1992.
Wow, it used to come down. It covered this whole green area.
From Alaska to Montana, photos that were originally taken to publicize these natural wonders are now being used to publicize how they’re disappearing. It packs a punch that a chart or a graph just can’t deliver.
I think people are extremely visual and, you know the old saying about one painting or photo being worth 1,000 words. We get a lot of information visually, and we tend to trust that even more than what we hear.
With these photos, the message is clear: The pace of change is anything but glacial.

1 twelve miles
2 a detective story 
3 by 2030
4 sad
5 250 feet
6 to publicise how they are disappearing