A recent letter to the editor “disproves” climate change by reporting that signs in Montana’s Glacier Park predicting that all glaciers would be gone by 2020 were being taken down because “the glaciers are very much still there.”
The letter writer took a single fact and totally mischaracterized it in an effort to “disprove” something he had already decided to disbelieve. The facts are these:
1. Signs in Glacier Park didn’t say that the glaciers would disappear by 2020, but that computer models indicated that. These models date from the early 2000s. Data obtained over the next several years revealed new factors indicating they would not be completely gone by 2020. A 2017 study by the U.S. Geological Survey and Portland State University reported that while the glaciers would not be completely gone by 2020, ice formations in Montana had lost 85 percent of their mass in the last 50 years and the average shrinking was 39 percent.
2. The lead scientist in that study has stated:
“In several decades they will be mostly gone. They will grow so small that they will disappear. They will certainly be gone before the end of the century.”
“There are variations in the climate but it is humans that have made all those variations warmer. The glaciers have been here for 7,000 years and will be gone in decades. This is not part of the natural cycle.”
3. The new signs in the park say, “When they will completely disappear depends on how and when we act. One thing is consistent: the glaciers in the park are shrinking.”
4. Little more than a century ago, there were 150 glaciers in what is now Glacier Park. Today only 26 of these “glaciers are very much still there.” These 26 are shrinking.
The letter writer moves on from glaciers to average temperature, stating that the average temperature this winter is the same as that of the winter of 1949-50. I do not know if this is true — the author lists no sources — but it says nothing of the average temperature over time, what global warming is about, which has clearly been rising steadily. No average temperature for any decade that includes the winter of 1949-50 is nearly as warm as the average temperature over the past decade.
My sources for the statements in this letter are U.S. Geological Survey, National Geographic, Scientific American and NASA Earth Observatory.
One must wonder whether anything else in the recent letter can be taken seriously when it leads with examples that are so demonstrably inaccurate and misleading.