Glacier National Park Changes ‘Gone By 2020’ Signs

Written by Chris White

glacier park signage

Officials who manage Glacier National Park are swapping out signs warning visitors that climate change would cause the park’s glaciers to disappear by 2020.

The U.S. Geological Survey told the park in 2017 that the complete melting off of the glaciers was no longer expected, park spokeswoman Gina Kurzmen told CNN.

Forecast models over the years show the glaciers were no longer at risk of disappearing by that date, she noted.

Placards at the St. Mary’s Visitor Center, located in Montana’s mountain ranges, were reportedly changed in 2019. The park is waiting for budget authorization to update the park’s full set of signs, Kurzman noted.

The signs will be changed to say: “When they will completely disappear depends on how and when we act. One thing is consistent: the glaciers in the park are shrinking.”

USGS noted in a report to the Daily Caller News Foundation in 2019 that recent harsh winters had significantly changed forecasts from years past.

“Glacier retreat in Glacier National Park speeds up and slows down with fluctuations in the local climate,” a representative with the USGS told the DCNF at the time. The agency is responsible for managing the park.

“Subsequently, larger than average snowfall over several winters slowed down that retreat rate and the 2020 date used in the NPS display does not apply anymore,” the representative said.

The number of glaciers in the park shrank from the 1850s to 2015, according to USGS. Melting began at the end of the so-called Little Ice Age when scientists say glaciers decreased in the area from 150 to just 26 glaciers larger than 25 acres as of 2015.

Regardless, glaciers could all disappear between 2030 and 2080, depending on how much warming occurs, USGS states on its website. As recent years demonstrate, the glacial melt can be slowed by heavy winter snowfall.

Not all reports portend bad news for the world’s largest ice structures.

A 2017 study published in Natural Climate Change, for instance, shows that some of Earth’s biggest non-polar glaciers are growing because of a “vortex” of cold air over a 1,200-mile section of the Himalayas.

Read more at Daily Caller

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Comments (2)

  • Avatar

    Nat Figha


    You update your beliefs when you have new evidence, maybe y’all should learn to do that too lol


  • Avatar

    Jerry Krause


    Hi PSI Readers,

    This previous essay ( began: “The obvious factor, as already stated, is that it has to snow a lot to form a thick sheet of snow ). The prehistoric glaciers which was the focus of this previous prehistoric essay was about 1000 miles east of the Glacier National Park. Thus, the source of the necessary water vapor to form the glaciers of the Park is not likely that of the Arctic Ocean.

    Instead, the source of the water vapor to snow at the high elevations of the Park is much more likely that from the Pacific Ocean being transported inland by the prevailing westerly circulation of the atmosphere at its higher altitudes. So, it should be obvious that the factors which most strongly influence how much it snows on the Park’s mountain peaks are the temperatures of the ocean’s surfaces and the circulation of the atmosphere.

    And it is well known that the warmer the ocean surface the greater the atmospheric water vapor pressure above the ocean surface. Now a fact is that much of this water vapor, condenses, and precipitates as rain and then snow as the westerly prevailing winds carry the water vapor and the condensed moisture of clouds inland to and over the coastal mountains as a portion of its water load is precipitated and then on to the Cascade Mountain range where more of its now lesser water load is precipitated and then on to the Rocky Mountains, of which the Glacier mountains are a part, where the last of the atmosphere’s original moisture load from the Pacific, is almost totally precipitated.

    But there is a factor in this atmospheric circulation mechanism which was not learned about until during WWII. It is the presence of a ‘jet stream’, near the top of the troposphere, that is known to be quite variable and these variations are somewhat difficult to predict. Which variations, stated a different way, are not yet well understood.

    So, we (in general) really do not understand how (why) it snows more or less on the Glacier mountain peaks to replace the snow of the glaciers at the higher elevations while the glaciers are continually sliding down the slopes as they melt due to the warmer temperatures at the lower elevations.

    Have a good day, Jerry


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