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Science Seen

Glacier photos tell story of climate change

A UAF professor returned to the scene of Brooks Range glacier photographed in 1958 and snapped another, largely icefree, image last year. The resulting photo offers "a solid argument for climate change in the Arctic," reports UAF's Ned Rozell.

Before the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge existed, the northeast corner of Alaska drew scientists’ interest with a resource more obvious than oil—the ice held within the mountains high above the coastal plain.

In 1958, glaciologist Austin Post took a snapshot of McCall Glacier, one of a handful of Brooks Range glaciers, and stored the negatives from his trip in a shoebox. In 2003, UAF’s Matt Nolan printed Post’s photo of McCall Glacier and carried it on a trip north. After landing on the glacier and setting up a base camp, Nolan, an associate research professor at UAF’s Water and Environmental Research Center, hiked for six hours up side drainages until he found the same spot where Post stood. Nolan took a shot with his tiny digital camera and captured a solid argument for climate change in the Arctic. When compared to Post’s photo, Nolan’s shows an impressive ice loss in the 45 years that elapsed between clicks of the shutter.

[Read more at Alaska Science Forum]

Photo by Austin Post | Posted 09.23.04 at 1:38 am


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