Stay Cool

Since I was in first grade my parents and I have visited many national parks throughout the United States.  Visiting parks like Glacier, Kenai Fjords, Denali, Mount Rainier and the Rocky Mountains has shown me how important it is to protect our national parks.  Flying into Alaska two summers ago was one of the most awe-inspiring experiences of my life.  I had seen glaciers before, but never on this scale.  Out of the plane window I could see glaciers that stretched on for miles and tall mountains almost completely engulfed by snow; however, even these glaciers were nothing like the glaciers of the past.

Alaska, 2009

Several days later, in Kenai Fjords I had the opportunity to get very close to the glaciers.  Hiking beside Exit Glacier, we could make out a group of people on an expedition across the glacier.  They appeared no larger than ants in comparison to the landscape as they navigated around crevasses over ten stories deep.  From the top of the mountain, all I could see was immense amounts of ice and snow that seemed to go on forever.  Later on a boat trip in the Prince William Sound, I got within a hundred yards of a tidewater glacier that periodically calved into the sound.  Being surrounded by glaciers that have been around for thousands of years and hearing them constantly groan and crack as they move and break off was a very powerful experience.

Kenai Fjords, 2009

Because of increasing temperatures, glaciers that once covered the landscapes in these national parks have now retreated drastically, many disappearing forever.  This Time Lapse video shows drastic changes of a glacier in Alaska over a three year span.   The glaciers in Glacier National Park in Montana are expected to disappear completely by the year 2020.  Why does this matter?  Melting glaciers contribute to rising sea levels and climate change, as glaciers play an important role in regulating temperatures on Earth.  Unlike dark rock which absorb heat, the white glaciers reflect the sun’s rays.  As the glaciers melt, there will be more absorption and less reflection of rays, which will lead to an increase in world temperature.  So, let’s stay cool and work to reduce our community’s greenhouse gas emissions.

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2 Responses to “Stay Cool”

  1. kbrown says:

    Thanks! I’m glad you liked them. It’s definitely worth making the effort to visit. Glacier, especially, was one of the best places I’ve ever been.

  2. Dr. Szulczewski says:

    Wonderful blog post! I saved all your links to use in class next year. And I have to say I am really jealous that you were able to travel to Alaska and Glacier National Park, places I really really want to visit- and the clock is ticking!