The National Park Service (NPS) has discreetly removed a visitor center sign stating that the glaciers at Glacier National Park would be gone by 2020 because of climate change. But, we noticed that the snow keeps falling and the glaciers keep growing.
The reality of the situation is that higher-than-average snowfall in recent years has rendered computer model projections from the early 2000s null and void. According to federal officials, these earlier projections are what NPS used to make its claim that glaciers “will all be gone by the year 2020.”
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which monitors Glacier National Park, told The Daily Caller News Foundation;
“Glacier retreat in Glacier National Park speeds up and slows down with fluctuations in the local climate.”
“Those signs were based on the observation prior to 2010 that glaciers were shrinking more quickly than a computer model predicted they would,” USGS said. “Subsequently, larger than average snowfall over several winters slowed down that retreat rate and the 2020 date used in the NPS display does not apply anymore.”
NPS updated “Goodbye to the Glaciers” signs at the St. Mary Visitor Center glacier exhibit this past winter. Instead of being specific about the timing of demise of the glaciers, the signs now read:
“When they completely disappear, however, will depend on how and when we act.”
USGS still states on its website that the glaciers could all disappear sometime between 2030 and 2080, depending on how much warming occurs between now and then. However, the numbers from recent years shows that glacial melt is often slowed by excessive winter snows, as has been seen recently.
The Daily Caller reported on a blog post by Roger Roots, who noted first seeing the informational signs being removed by comparing photos of the signs with pictures he’d taken on previous visits to the park.
“As recently as September 2018 the diorama displayed a sign saying GNP’s glaciers were expected to disappear completely by 2020.”
“The ‘gone by 2020’ claims were repeated in the New York Times, National Geographic, and other international news sources.”
Roots went on to elaborate on his Facebook page.
Since the NPS doesn’t publicize when it makes major changes in its signage, tens of thousands of visitors to Glacier National Park will be ignorant of these more truthful facts as they stand today.