Climate Change in Glacier Bay
Living in one spot on the earth we may find it difficult to detect or "believe" in global climate change. Weather is so chaotic: one winter seems warm, another snowy, spring brings rain but sometimes drought. You might ask, "Haven't there always been natural cycles?" Yes, but weather and climate are different. Weather is daily. It determines whether you'll wear a t-shirt or a sweatshirt. Climate is long-term. Think of it as the ratio of tee-shirts to sweatshirts in your closet. Scientists worldwide examining the Earth's climate see an emerging and disturbing warming trend.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is released when we burn coal, oil or natural gas. C02 is one of the "greenhouse" gases that blanket the earth. These gases allow sunlight to stream in, but prevent heat from radiating out. Though there are natural oscillations in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, the current levels are "off the chart."
What Does This Mean For Alaska's Glaciers?
What Does This Mean for Plants, Animals, and the Ocean?
Spring Creep: Climate scientists projected that global warming would make spring arrive earlier than normal, and it has – about 10 days earlier so far. It is not that difficult for people to adjust, but "spring creep" creates "mismatches" when some plants bud earlier, but the animals that depend on them have not adjusted their internal clocks.
Together We Can Make a Difference
Here's What We Are Doing:
Although remote, Glacier Bay is home to an award-winning recycling program, diverting 58% of our waste stream. (the city of Anchorage recycles only 25%).
Adopted a "no idling" policy for park vehicles.
We are now using four electric vehicles to reduce the demand for fuel and cut down on the related emissions.
Glacier Bay undertook a major study of our powerplant, and we're replacing our generators with more efficient/cleaner- burning models.
We are also studying the feasibility of using hydropower from the nearby town of Gustavus.
Here's What You Can Do:
Home heating and cooling by using automatic thermostats, adding insulation, and sealing cracks.
Use of electricity by changing conventional bulbs to compact fluorescents and LEDs, purchasing renewable energy from your utility company, replacing inefficient appliances, and by adding photovoltaic panels to your home.
Items by donating to a charitable organization.
Lawn and yard waste for composting.
Products by purchasing new items with recycled content.
Batteries, computers, paint, oil, tires, and chemicals.
Last updated: February 16, 2018