Someone Needs Tell The Glaciers

SOMEONE NEEDS TO TELL THE GLACIERS…

If you follow my articles you know that I write of my adventures and the places I have visited around the world. My hope is to lend some insight to help you decide on your next vacation. This article is going to be a departure, this article is going to be on a personal level, this article will hopefully shake you to your core… Global Climate Change is real, I’ve seen it firsthand.

I am not going to delve into the scientific research and the politics of the issue other than to say that I agree with the ninety seven percent of the world’s scientists that state man has played a significant role.

Since 2010 I have spent seven summers working on various cruise ships traveling to Alaska and the Inside Passage. One reason thousands of people every year travel to Alaska by cruise ship is to experience the glaciers, many of which can only be seen by ship.

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Tracy Arm Channel – Alaska – May 2010

Having lived in Yosemite National Park and in the Rocky Mountains and I have seen and hiked to a number of glaciers. However, you never really experience a glacier until you are up close and personal from the deck of a ship. From this vantage point you witness its power as immense walls of ice crash into the sea.

I visited my first glacier in Alaska during the summer of 2010. I was working on the Rhapsody of the Seas as we cruised through the Tracy Arm Fjord. As the steep mountain walls narrowed and we approached the Sawyer Glacier I was mesmerized by its size and its beauty. I was only to be brought back to reality with the sounds of massive blocks of ice tumbling into the water.

For the last several years I have visited Glacier Bay National Park and its many glaciers. I have stood silent watching the mile wide Marjorie Glacier in all her glory.

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Marjorie Glacier, Glacier Bay National Park – Alaska – Aug 24, 2017

I have observed the Hubbard Glacier, a magnificent seven mile wide mountain of ice advance to the water’s edge only to shed mammoth flakes of its frozen skin.

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Hubbard Glacier, Glacier Bay National Park – Alaska – May 19, 2016
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Hubbard Glacier “Calving”, Glacier Bay National Park – Alaska – May 19, 2016

Although I have witnessed the retreat of many glaciers it is hard to notice the difference when you visit year after year. That changed this year when for the first time in seven years I returned to the Sawyer Glacier.

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Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm Fjord – Alaska – May 15, 2012

To say I was shocked is an understatement of what I felt as the ship came to rest several hundred yards away from its face, it was a shadow of its former self. We visit the Sawyer every week and there has been a number of weeks that we could not approach the glacier safely with the amount of ice in the water.

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Enter a captionSawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm Fjord – Alaska – May 31, 2019

Returning to my cabin I took my book on Alaska off the shelf and began to compare before and after shots. My heart broke, it ached, and my eyes began to tear as I realized two thirds of the Sawyer Glacier had disappeared over a seven year period.

Later that evening I searched my computer for past images of other Alaska’s glaciers that I had taken. I was speechless at what I found, it was happening everywhere and it very noticeable.

Another image in my book was the Lamplugh Glacier. Comparing photos side by side it too had changed dramatically. Easily on third of the glacier had disappeared and the images were a mere three years apart.

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Lamplugh Glacier, Glacier Bay National Park – Alaska – May 16, 2016
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Lamplugh Glacier, Glacier Bay National Park – Alaska – May 25, 2019

As I write we are experiencing a major heat wave in Alaska with many of the ports in the 80’s and Anchorage even topping 90 degrees. The record heat has sparked wildfires though out Alaska and the once blue skies are now a brown haze obscuring the mountain tops.

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Cruising on teh Carnival Legend near Ketchikan, Alaska – July 7, 2019

And it is not only in Alaska, Europe is also setting records with temperatures as high as 114 degrees Fahrenheit in France. News reports have stated that June was the hottest month on record.

Over the past week I have watched a few documentaries on climate change. I’d ask that you watch “Chasing Ice”, the 2014 Emmy Award winning documentary. As you watch what James Balog documents remember it takes 100 feet of snow to make 1 foot of glacial ice.

Is it “fake news” that so many would like you to believe? Or is it really happening like the vast majority of the world’s scientists have proven, what cameras have documented and study after study has shown.

If it is fake news somebody needs to tell the glaciers because they are melting at an alarming rate!

 

 

 

Author: larry pannell

I started my career in photography as a professional photojournalist in 1978 at the time working with several newspapers and magazines in Southern California. What I loved most about photojournalism was its diversity and over my career I covered professional sports, concerts and travel. As life would have it mine took yet another turn and in 1988 I developed an interest in holistic medicine. I became a professional massage therapist specializing in sports medicine. In 1991 I decided to go to medical school and obtained a medical degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine and stared my career as a licensed acupuncture physician. After medical school I moved my practice to northern Idaho for a year before settling in the resort area of Sun Valley, Idaho. I’ve always been an outdoor person and hiking and backpacking the Rockies and fishing the pristine river waters and high altitude lakes offered me a wonderful photographic opportunity. In 2010 I left Sun Valley and I once again found myself on a cruise ship, this time working as an “Acupuncturist at Sea”. For the past seven years I have traveled to over 79 countries, which has allowed me to photograph much of the world.

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