Sarah Palin was right about one thing in her statements about global warming: The effects are being seen in her home state of Alaska like in no other U.S. state.
A new U.S. Geological Survey book details the dramatic changes in Alaskan glaciers.
More than 99% of glaciers in other words, all but a handful of anomalies are retreating.
While the melting began, in some cases, as far back as the mid-1800s, the rate of melting has accelerated in the last two decades, as the effects of global warming have been more acutely felt.
Besides being beautiful and adding that wild quality to Alaskan landscapes, glaciers provide drinking water, irrigation and base flow for rivers and streams that support wildlife like salmon.
The melting of Alaskan glaciers is only one sign of climate change in the Arctic, where the 2007 and 2008 summers saw far more sea ice melt than any previous year on record. Polar bears and other Arctic animals are endangered. The Bush Administration on Monday settled a dispute with environmental groups and agreed to designate protected habitat for the polar bear that will restrict some oil and gas development.
Palin, as governor of Alaska, had sued to stop the listing of the polar bear as threatened specifically because it would have a disproportionate effect on Alaska, specifically its oil and gas exploration. Before being named as John McCain's running mate, she said she doubted human pollution causes global warming, and has since emphasized the effects and the action needed to rein in climate change, but always emphasizes that climactic changes may be natural and cyclic, rather than man-made.
The polar bear is only one of several species being considered for listing as threatened because of global warming's effect on the Arctic.
Check out these photos of Alaskan glaciers, taken by The Daily Green community contributor Jared Oldham. To share your photos of landscapes, wildlife, weird weather and other signs of the times, submit your photo here.
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