SOURCE: The Guardian
DATE: October 30, 2018
SNIP: Scientists in Canada have warned that massive glaciers in the Yukon territory are shrinking even faster than would be expected from a warming climate – and bringing dramatic changes to the region.
The rate of warming in the north is double that of the average global temperature increase, concluded the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in its annual Arctic Report Card, which called the warming “unprecedented”.
In their recent State of the Mountains report published earlier in the summer, the Canadian Alpine Club found that the Saint Elias mountains – which span British Columbia, the Yukon and Alaska – are losing ice faster than the rest of the country.
The accelerating melt of the glacier has resulted in major shifts to water sources at lower elevations. In 2016, the meltwaters of the glacier shifted dramatically away from the Slims river, cutting off critical water supplies to Kluane Lake – a Unesco world heritage site. Since the diversion, water levels at the lake have dropped more than 6.6ft – stranding thousands of fish from their natural spawning rivers.
Dust storms have begun to flare up along sections of the well-travelled Alaska Highway – at times halting traffic, the result of a dry river bed covered in glacial silt.
“We’re seeing a 20% difference in area coverage of the glaciers in Kluane national park and reserve and the rest of the Unesco world heritage site [over a 60-year period],” Diane Wilson, a field unit superintendent at Parks Canada, told the CBC. “We’ve never seen that. It’s outside the scope of normal.”