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Letter: Climate change is melting alpine glaciers — and Utah’s precious snowpack

SHARE Letter: Climate change is melting alpine glaciers — and Utah’s precious snowpack
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Mount Timpanogos at sunrise.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

My children and I indulged in one major escape from COVID-19 this summer, a memorable trip to Glacier National Park. The peaks, waterfalls, lakes and crisp air were splendid. We stayed in a chalet high in the mountains and hiked to or past the remnants of ancient glaciers. According to the National Park Service, there were over 100 active glaciers when the park was established in 1916. Now there are 26, and all have shrunk considerably since 1966 — as have glaciers all over the world.

The cause is clearly identified as our rapidly warming climate, as confirmed overwhelmingly by climate scientists. Melting glaciers are barometers of our changing climate and among the most visible evidence of that change. Locally, I have observed similar contraction over the past 50 years in the snowfield just above Emerald Lake on Mount Timpanogos.

Alpine glaciers are the most efficient water reservoirs throughout the world, without which hundreds of millions of people will lose a reliable water supply. Our shrinking snowpack does the same for us in Utah, and its loss will be serious.

Like pandemics, the risks of climate change have been foreseen for decades. Let’s choose leaders who will plan wisely for our future.

David Ryser

Sandy