For Ranger Patrick Hair, the effects of climate change in Glacier Bay are a fascinating study. While most glaciers in Alaska are retreating a few in Glacier Bay are actually advancing. The reasons are complex but he points out that contributing to this effect is Mt. Fairweather and the range of mountains that rise from the Pacific side of Glacier Bay. The mountains collect the precipitation and snow that is formed as the air rises from the Japanese current offshore and turns to snow in the high peaks. This accounts for the 100 plus feet of snow the storms bring every year, and so you have a recipe for glacier creation. The snow builds and builds again, providing the ideal conditions for some glaciers to grow.
But there’s change going on all around Glacier Bay and that provides plenty of subjects for study. In addition to the ebb and flow of the Glacier itself, the land underneath it is rising. This rebound is some of the fastest in the world. Additionally, the vegetation surrounding the glacier is in a continual state of regrowth and evolution. And scientists come to study how the land revives after being covered by ice.
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Listeners can download all 16 of the Glacier Bay podcasts, or only a specific audio file, onto a personal iPod, MP3 or portable media player before embarking on a Holland America Line Alaska cruise to Glacier Bay. Preloaded podcasts on iPods also are available on board for checkout. To access the complete “Glacier Bay Ranger Podcast Anthology” click here.
Paul Lasley and Elizabeth Harryman, travel writers, broadcasters and regular contributors to the Holland America blog, worked with the National Park’s rangers, scientists and naturalists to allow you this rare insider’s view into the science and wild beauty of Glacier Bay National Park.