The Race to Save Earth’s Ice

Day 234 – When I think about giant pieces of cloth being placed over mountain ice to help prevent it from melting, it makes me think of one of those doomsday movies. Like I feel it could have been a scene in the movie The Day After Tomorrow. Sadly, this science fiction sounding scenario is happening in real life. 70m long strips of reflective material are being placed over the ice on the Pressena glacier, in the Italian Alps, to try to preserve it from the intense rays of the sun.

What’s even more disturbing about this situation is that this is not the first time scientists have used tarps to help prevent the melting of glaciers. The first attempts to partially cover a glacier came in 1993 on the Zugspitze in southern Bavaria in Germany. Since then several glacier areas in Switzerland and Austria have followed suit. Since 2004, glaciers have been partially covered at eight locations in the Swiss Alps at altitudes of between 2,250 and 3,250 m above sea level. It is estimated that it would cost $1 billion a year to cover all the Swiss glaciers.

In the Northern Cascades as the winter season neared an end, mountain snowpacks were still running a decent amount above average. Then temperatures soared into the 80s, 90s and even triple digits. In the higher elevations, the snow didn’t stand a chance. Snow depth gauges at Paradise Ranger Station around 5,400 feet up Mt. Rainier measured 106 inches of snow on the ground on June 6, according to the Northwest Avalanche Center. A month later on July 5, there were only 8 inches up there. Summer melting of the snowpack is an annual occurrence but the National Weather Service in Seattle says 30% of that meltoff came in the four days between June 26 and June 30. Paradise reached the upper 80s on June 28 and then hit 91 degrees on June 29.

Global warming is real and it is happening. There is only so much scientists can do to hold back the damaging effects. At some point we need to come together as inhabitants of this planet and figure out a way to decrease the temperature, before we have nothing left to protect.

Tomorrow, charcoal vs. gas grilling.

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