Yahoo's 5 Stunning Before and After Pictures of Melting Glaciers

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Yahoo! is the most-visited homepage on the web, and therefore the #1 most-viewed content provider and aggregator anywhere--which is why getting a link from Yahoo is the holy grail for blogs. It means literally millions of eyeballs will see your work--we should know, as TreeHugger has enjoyed a link or two from the big Y. But it also means that the content that it curates itself gets page views in uber-high volume, too. And yesterday, Yahoo ran a surprisingly good story on glacier melt on its homepage, complete with 5 before and after images. It gave me a burst of hope for climate science, as did reading many of the intelligent comments there. So why is the story so good? It's succinct, simple, to-the-point, and cites the views of top glaciologists and climate research scientists. Here's some of the text:

Below are some of the best photos that glaciologists say illustrate what they are seeing -- a worldwide retreat in glaciers due to warming temperatures. The photos represent what is happening both in an individual glacier and in the various regions around the world.
"You don't need to be a scientist to appreciate the magnitude of change of these glaciers," says Rignot [a senior research scientist at NASA]. "There shouldn't be any doubt about these images."

And, onto the images:
The first, featured above, is of Grinnell Glacier, Yahoo explains: "These photos accurately reflect what is happening at Grinnell Glacier, which has been reduced by nearly 90 percent over the past century, and elsewhere in Glacier National Park, according to glaciologists."

Here are the rest:


From Yahoo:

Glaciologists say the above photos reflect real change that is taking place. "Alaskan glaciers are really shrinking a lot," according to Marco Tedesco, an assistant professor at the City College of New York. "There is no debate about Muir Glacier. It's a dramatic change to liquid water."

"Glaciologists like the above photos because they are taken from the same spot and the perspective is the same." There will always be complaints that perspective in such photos isn't 100% exactamundo (Yes, I just wrote exactamundo. Deal with it.). But this is pretty close--close enough, certainly, to observe with ease how drastic the melt has been.

Professor Lonnie Thompson has been mapping the retreat of Qori Kalis Glacier up the valley since 1978. In fact, he took the photo on the right. "In our first 15 years of observation it was retreating at a rate of 6 meters per year and in the last 15 years it's been averaging 60 meters per year," says Thompson. "It is the world's largest tropical ice cap and it has lost about 25 percent of its area since we started observing it."

That's just 25 years, folks--pretty amazing.

Glaciologists agree that Jakobshavn is a good example of what's happening with glaciers because it has a longer record than most glaciers. There is data going back as far as 1850. Jakobshavn was retreating slowly for a long time, but then in 2000 the glacier started retreating much more rapidly. What's more, three of the biggest glaciers in Greenland changed dramatically in the same time period . . .

Truth is, I really needed to see something like this--there's been so much undue hate hurled at the climate science community lately (latest example: Palin saying that "Gore-Gate" exposed climate science as "snake oil science stuff" to a round applause), and it's good to see that most people's faith in science is unshaken. Kudos to Yahoo to doing a good job in getting the word out.