Jessica Robertson: Welcome to USGS Climate
Connections, where your questions
about climate change are answered by USGS
I’m your host, Jessica Robertson.
In this episode, we gathered questions from
the beautiful and scenic
Glacier National Park in Montana.
Let’s head into the park and see what questions
you have about climate change.
Barbara Tully: Hi, I’m Barbara Tully and
currently I’m from Trout Creek, Montana.
My question for you would be:
When did you first start measuring the melting
of the glaciers here
in the park and what is your projection within
the next ten years
as far as melt is concerned? When I come back
in ten years,
what will I see? Thank you.
Dan Fagre: I’m Dan Fagre. I’m a research
ecologist at the
Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center, U.S.
Basically we started measuring glaciers almost
as soon as I got here,
that is when this program was originally founded
So I think that in ten years, if you come
here you will find at least
remnants of glaciers. I think many of our
glaciers will have become so small
that they are hardly worthy of being called
but there will still be glacial ice there.
Past that, it is hard to know because we don’t
know how quickly
climate change is going to continue to warm
the regional area.
Matt: Hi, I’m Matt from Cincinnati, and
I’m really curious how climate change
is impacting the glaciers here in Glacier
Greg Pederson: Thanks Matt, that’s a great
I’m Greg Pederson with the U.S. Geological
Survey here in Bozeman,
and basically climate change impacts glaciers
by a number of means.
Our warm springs and summers both start the
onset of snow and ice melting earlier,
which lasts longer and has been intensified
throughout the summer season.
So they not only receive less snowpack because
but it’s also increasingly melting the glaciers
in the summertime.
Terry Newcomb: My name is Terry Newcomb. I’m
from Seattle, Washington,
and my question is really how all the snow
this winter impacted the glaciers here.
Does it help the glaciers? I know they may
disappear, so does it help them?
Greg Pederson: Thanks Terry, that’s a great
Basically yes, individual years of high snowpack
can have a positive influence
on at least slowing the glacial decline in
Glacier National Park.
In fact, as far as last year’s high winter
snowpack goes, it actually did add
some positive mass or more snow and ice to
even though the long-term trends and the year
after year progression is that
more and more of that snowpack is melting
out and those glaciers are going
to continue to decline as we move into a warmer
Tara: Hi, my name is Tara and I live in Bozeman,
My question for USGS scientists is: How do
receding glaciers and
climate change affect the local economy in
terms of recreation,
agriculture, tourism? Thanks.
Erich Peitzsch: Hi Tara, my name is Erich
and I’m a physical scientist with the USGS
in Glacier National Park.
Recent work has shown that we are seeing an
earlier spring melt out,
and this can translate to a shorter snow season
for things like skiing and snowboarding.
We’re also seeing, or we are likely to see,
the potential for midwinter
rain events or rain on snow events and this
also affects the issue of
timing in that we're going to potentially
see greater midwinter streamflow.
So in terms of agriculture, the issue of timing
is very important
because farmers need to consider the issue
of irrigation perhaps being
earlier in the spring or even late winter
as opposed to later in the spring.
And finally, with the changing climate, we’re
likely to see warmer stream
temperatures which can have an effect on various
fish species as well.
Jessica Robertson: Thank you, Erich. I also
want to add that for tourism,
we will have to wait and see how many people
continue to come to the park
as the glaciers recede to still see the beautiful
wildlife and scenic landscape.
That’s it for this episode of USGS Climate
Connections in Glacier National Park.
We hope you join us again next time.