Receding Glaciers Project

September 01, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Illecillewaet Glacier The Receding Glaciers photographic project is an attempt to inform and educate people about the dramatic glacial recession that is taking place in the world's alpine regions.

The vast majority of all scientists now agree that global climate change is caused by human activity and that the increase in average global temperatures is due to man-made green-house gasses. It is also very likely that the increase climate variability and in extreme weather events is another manifestation of global warming.

However, it's difficult for most people to make a lot of sense out of the global warming debate, the statistics are difficult to interpret and understand, and there is little evidence in our day to day existence to support it. We don't have a gauge on the wall like a barometer that tells us what is happening. Even where I live, all we have seen locally is the occasional unusual bird or insect during the summer.

This is why the alpine glaciers are so important because they are tangible proof to everyone who looks at them that something is going on with the weather. Glaciers themselves are the result of complex interactions between various aspects of our climate: annual temperatures, snowfall accumulation, albedo (sunlight reflectance and absorption), topography, etc. But something has changed to upset the balance that previously existed and we can see ourselves that something is going on because the glaciers are melting.

Glaciers and the annual snow pack that accumulates every winter in the mountains are important sources of water during the driest parts of the summer in many different parts of the world. These rivers supply water for agriculture and human consumption in places that may be thousands of kilometers away from the mountains. What we have developing is  a bad combination: a climate that is getting hotter and fewer natural reserves of ice and snow to supply water when it is most needed.

A good discussion of global warming and of how it is affecting our world is on the NASA Earth Observatory webpage.

We all contribute to the problem of global warming and everyone has an obligation to try to reduce the impact that our actions have on the environment. Even small actions by individuals can make a difference over time if enough people contribute.

The images on the Receding Glacier Project's webpage are available for download without charge for non-profit use to help promote public information and education about glacial recession and the perils of global warming.

Over time, many more images will be added to this site. I wish that I had "some before and after" type of pictures but I have combed my slides from 30-40 years ago without much luck. If anyone has old pictures of some of the areas displayed here, I would be happy to display them.

Visit the Receding Glaciers Project.


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