Alaska will close this year as the hottest recorded and with its glaciers melting at record levels. From the Lemon Creek glacier, whose records date back to 1940, this would be the second consecutive year in which the lost mass amounts to 3 meters of surface converted into water for the ocean.
«That is a very bad sign for a glacier,» said Louis Sass, a glaciologist at the United States Geological Survey, referring to Wolverine Glacier, one of the glaciers he usually travels to take the references. «The bottom is gone,» he said. This glacier has recorded the largest loss since the 1960s. The specialist mentioned that he failed to match the record set in 2004 just because much of the glacier had simply melted.
«It’s almost as if you had blown it up and started to deflate,» said Nate Lewis, a wildlife guide in Seward who takes travelers to the new lake that has formed at the foot of the glacier. Even the Taku glacier that was considered a hope for having been advancing, is now rapidly losing ice.
Unless December conceives to be one of the coldest months so far in winter in the northern hemisphere, Alaska will close the year as the hottest. This occurs precisely in the framework of the closure of COP25 and its criticisms of inaction by world leaders in the face of climate change.
«Alaska is on its way to breaking its record for the warmest year unless December is dramatically cooler than expected,» Brian Brettschneider, a climatologist at the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, said in a tweet.
Alaska’s glaciers comprise less than 1% of the world’s land ice. However, its thawing process represents 7% of the water that today raises sea levels in the world, according to a study by the American Geophysics Union magazine and co-authored with USGS Shad O’Neel in 2018.
It should be noted that thaw produces a series of very pronounced changes in different ecosystems in the world. For example, the impact on water currents significantly affects the salmon spawning process and impairs the normal habitat rhythm of different species of fish and marine animals.