CNN

Glacier National Park is replacing signs that predicted its glaciers would be gone by 2020

Jan 8, 2020, 11:06 AM
The signs at Glacier National Park warning that its signature glaciers would be gone by 2020 are be...
The signs at Glacier National Park warning that its signature glaciers would be gone by 2020 are being changed. The signs in the Montana park were added more than a decade ago to reflect climate change forecasts at the time. Photo: Shutterstock via CNN

(CNN) — The signs at Glacier National Park warning that its signature glaciers would be gone by 2020 are being changed.

The signs in the Montana park were added more than a decade ago to reflect climate change forecasts at the time by the US Geological Survey, park spokeswoman Gina Kurzmen told CNN.

In 2017, the park was told by the agency that the complete melting off of the glaciers was no longer expected to take place so quickly due to changes in the forecast model, Kurzmen said. But tight maintenance budgets made it impossible for the park to immediately change the signs.

The most prominent placards, at St. Mary’s Visitor Center, were changed last year. Kurzmen says that park is still waiting for budget authorization to update signs at two other locations.

But the glacier warning isn’t being removed entirely, she told CNN. Instead, the new signs will say: “When they will completely disappear depends on how and when we act. One thing is consistent: the glaciers in the park are shrinking.

Humans are responsible, scientist says

In 2017, a study released by USGS and Portland State University said that in the past half century, some of the ice formations in Montana had lost 85% of their size and the average shrinkage was 39%.

“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,” Dan Fagre, the study’s lead scientist, had said.

And humans are responsible, Fagre said after the study’s release.

“There are variations in the climate but it is humans that have made all those variations warmer,” he said. “The glaciers have been here for 7,000 years and will be gone in decades. This is not part of the natural cycle.”

The melting of these structures is “all atmospherically driven,” he added.

But the park isn’t a unique case — glaciers are shrinking across the globe, experts say.

In Switzerland, glaciers have shrunk 10% in the past five years — an unprecedented rate in more than a century of observations, research published last year shows.

In Iceland, researchers bid farewell to the first glacier in the country lost to climate change. In a funeral-like gathering, scientists memorialized the glacier, known as Ok, with a plaque that read: “Ok is the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as a glacier. In the next 200 years, all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path. This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and know what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it.”

And in June 2019, a new study revealed climate change was shrinking Himalayan glaciers twice as fast as last century.

Recently, the glaciers had lost around 8 billion tons of water a year — the equivalent of 3.2 million Olympic-size swimming pools, say the researchers. And that could potentially threaten water supplies for hundreds of millions of people across parts of Asia.

Today’s Top Stories

CNN

Nouran Salahieh, Jason Hanna and Christina Maxouris, CNN

Hurricane Ian knocked out power to all of Cuba and is now heading toward Florida where officials urge evacuations

More than 2.5 million Floridians were under some kind of evacuation warning Tuesday as Hurricane Ian marched closer to the state's west coast after knocking out power across all of Cuba.
6 hours ago
An illustration shows NASA's DART spacecraft and the Italian Space Agency's LICIACube before the co...
Ashley Strickland, CNN

NASA’s DART mission successfully slams into an asteroid

Deemed as a success, a NASA spacecraft intentionally slammed into an asteroid in the first attempt of planetary defense.
1 day ago
Hurricane Ian could be the storm that the west coast of Florida has always feared -- especially Tam...
Jennifer Gray, CNN Meteorologist

Here’s why meteorologists say Ian’s exact path is still uncertain

Hurricane Ian could be the storm that the west coast of Florida has always dreaded.
1 day ago
Shoppers wait in line outside a retail warehouse as people rush to prepare for Tropical Storm Ian, ...
Holly Yan and Nouran Salahieh, CNN

Hurricane Ian could be ‘something that we haven’t seen in our lifetime,’ Tampa forecaster says

While Ian is forecast to become a "major hurricane" based on wind speeds, storm surges can be even deadlier than the winds, said Michael Brennan, acting deputy director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
2 days ago
In this photo provided by Wreckhouse Press a home fights against high winds caused by post Tropical...
Nouran Salahieh, CNN

Hundreds of thousands without power in Atlantic Canada after Fiona rumbles north

Poor weather conditions have hampered power restoration efforts, Nova Scotia Power President and CEO Peter Gregg said Saturday. More than 900 power technicians were on their way to the area, but some customers may experience power outages for several days, he said.
2 days ago
Tropical Storm Ian...
Haley Brink, Dakin Andone and Nouran Salahieh, CNN

Florida officials urge residents to prepare for Tropical Storm Ian, forecast to be a major hurricane before it reaches Cuba

Floridians are bracing for Tropical Storm Ian, which is expected to rapidly intensify and become a hurricane on Monday before hitting western Cuba.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Glacier National Park is replacing signs that predicted its glaciers would be gone by 2020