Roundup: COVID-19 Glacier Regions Update and a Glacier Hazard In Peru

Last week Washington Governor Jay Inslee expressed concern over the “disturbing” rate of positive tests in his state’s rural areas, including glacier communities. In Skagit County, 21 percent of coronavirus tests came back positive, the highest in the state. Experts agree that part of the reason is that only the sickest are being tested, but there could be other factors that have yet to be sorted out.

Oregon Public Radio science and environment editor Ed Jahn encouraged followers to join in a calming virtual road trip through the Cascades, which includes an excursion inside Mount Hood’s glacier ice caves and an education in bioluminescent snow algae on Mount Baker. Elsewhere in the US, tourists are being blamed for transporting the virus to glacier region ski towns like Vail, Colorado.

Reuters reported Tajikistan’s domestic soccer season is kicking off on schedule despite almost every other soccer league around the globe having ground to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “You know that the championships are stopped in almost all countries because of the coronavirus pandemic,” the Dushanbe-based Istiklol manager Vitaliy Levchenko told a news conference on the eve of the Super Cup clash. “Thank God, there is no coronavirus in Tajikistan and the new football season begins in the country.”

Churchgoers around the world continue to come to terms with social distancing orders. Last week The Guardian reported in the Caucasus region some priests insist on continuing to use a shared spoon for the communion ritual, “claiming that as communion is a holy ceremony it is not possible to get ill during it.”

Kyrgyzstan is scaling up its preparedness, readiness and response capacities to COVID-19. In a photo story, the World Health Organization reported that since January 2020, through a series of trainings and simulation exercises, as well as delivery of personal protective equipment and test kits, the Ministry of Health of Kyrgyzstan, in collaboration with WHO and partners, has been taking measures to ensure the country is better equipped to respond to a COVID-19 outbreak.

Public perception of trust in government response to the COVID-19 pandemic around the world was mixed, according to a survey conducted by an international team academics in 12 different countries. On the chart below, the closer to “1” indicates higher trust. Many glacier nations were in the middle to bottom half of the spectrum. Notably, American trust in its government’s response is trailed only by Russia and Venezuela.

Major Glacier Hazard Event in Cusco, Peru

On April 4, Peruvian newspaper Agencia de Noticias de Cusco reported (translated from Spanish): In the afternoon in the Cusco province of Urubamba, a surprising emergency was registered with major icefall on the snowpeak Chicón, which has caused the district committee of Civil Defense of the Yucay district to be activated immediately, to take preventive actions.

“We are evacuating via prevention the entire population of the different communities that are on the snowpeak San Juan that has collapsed, one part to the Yucay district and the other to Chicon Urubamba, no occurrence was registered, but we are on alert permanent,” he indicated.

Luis Mujica, an anthropologist at the Jose Maria Arguedas National University in Andahuaylas, who has conducted research in the Chicon region for a number of years, wrote to GlacierHub, these steps are “an important decision.” He added that he and others would “support them in any way that is necessary.” Christian Huggel, a glaciologist at the University of Zurich who is also familiar with the region, wrote, “it seems to be some sort of ice avalanche.” He mentioned that the precise details of the event remained “to be confirmed.”

Peruvian newspaper La República added that a helicopter will visit the area and that there was a similar event in 2010––where a glacial lake formed, ice fell into it from the glacier, resulting in a glacial lake outburst flood that threatened a sizeable valley town as well as some Indigenous villages higher up.

Read More on GlacierHub:

Photo Friday: Chilean Volcanoes at Yellow Alert

The Covid-19 Pandemic Complicates Tourism in the Everest Region

Video of the week: Quechua Musicians Urge Coronavirus Precaution Through Traditional Song

Roundup: COVID-19 in Glacier Regions

On February 13, GlacierHub reported on the spread of COVID-19 into the glaciated regions of Western China. At the time the disease was mostly confined to China, with smaller outbreaks beginning in Europe, including in the French Alps. In the month since, however, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19 a global pandemic and Europe has succeeded China as the virus’ epicenter. Economies around the world are shutting down as governments urge populations to adopt social distancing as a means of slowing the novel coronavirus’ spread. GlacierHub is tracking the spread of COVID-19 in glacier regions as an increasing number of people have become infected.

The concerns for glacier regions like Western China are similar for other glaciated corners of the world; while glacier communities are generally rural and may not have as high exposure to the virus as urban areas, they are much less equipped to deal with an outbreak. “In the local communities, there aren’t a lot of clinics or things like that. Normally just local doctors, but not a lot,” Huatse Gyal, a cultural anthropologist from the University of Michigan, told GlacierHub, referring to Western China. If many sick people from the rural areas came flooding to the county seat in search of treatment, he explained, “the medical facilities would not be enough at all.”

The North Cascades, in the US Pacific Northwest, are one of the glacier regions where GlacierHub is monitoring the spread of coronavirus. On March 10, the first cases were reported for Whatcom and Skagit counties, which extend from sea level at Puget Sound eastward up into the North Cascade mountains, and share a border with the glacier-clad Mount Baker. On Sunday afternoon, Mount Baker Ski Area announced the temporarily closure and reassignment of its staff of more than 70 medics, nurses, flight nurses, and doctors to help provide care to the local hospital and health care community. As of March 15, there are seven confirmed cases between the two counties.

The epicenter of the outbreak in the United States is in the Pacific Northwest state of Washington, where people in Seattle and surrounding communities––an area ringed by glaciated peaks––have been deeply impacted (Source: Whatcom County).

Schools in both Whatcom and Skagit counties are closed today, March 16, following the order of Washington State governor Jay Inslee to close all schools in the state. Other agencies have also taken steps to address the pandemic. Puget Sound Energy, which serves all of the two counties as well as other counties in the state, has announced that will not disconnect service during the coronavirus pandemic. It will waive late fees, and will work with customers on a payment plan and a new bill due date.

Schnalstaler Glacier in South Tyrol, Italy (Source: WikiCommons)

Italy has the highest case total outside of China. South Tyrol, a trilingual border province in the Italian Alps, has seen a surge of cases. A rash of COVID-19 confirmations have paralyzed the country––nearly 25,000 cases have been confirmed there––with a higher mortality rate than that of China, where new coronavirus cases have begun to ebb.

In neighboring Switzerland, ski resorts in the Swiss Alps abruptly shut down for the season on Friday in response to the virus. Norway and Austria have already closed resorts within their borders––a blow to the already-struggling ski industry. At present, Spain and France have the fifth and sixth highest number of coronavirus cases in the world, 5,753 and 4,469 cases on March 15, according to WHO statistics. But the cases are concentrated in the largest cities. There are fewer in the Pyrenees, the high glaciated mountains that form the border between them. Cases there are increasing, though, and the future is uncertain. In Pakistani Karakoram, a remote high mountain region in Central Asia, several people have also tested positive.

The governments of China and Nepal have shut down expeditions to the world’s tallest peak, Mount Everest. Last week Kathmandhu joined Beijing in canceling all permits to summit Everest until at least April 30, a move that halves the April-May climbing season at a minimum, and will cost the Nepali government precious millions in lost climbing fees.

Despite its proximity to Iran, few coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the Caucasus region––at present, 30 cases in Georgia, 23 in Armenia, 15 in Azerbaijan. Georgia closed it border with Russia over the weekend and postponed its presidential primary from March 24 to May 19.

Greenland has reported its first case of COVID-19. Visit Greenland reported the case along with a travel advisory barring non-residents from entering. “The smaller the community in the country, the smaller the nursing clinics are and the more vulnerable the situation. That’s why we need to limit traffic around the country as much as possible”, said Bjørn Tegner Bay, chief of police in Greenland and head of the Epidemic Commission.

The novel coronavirus is poised to expose the remoteness and vulnerability of glacier communities, whose isolation cuts both ways. Though their dislocation from urban centers is an advantage in containing the spread of the virus, public health infrastructure in these regions is generally ill-equipped to deal with a large epidemic. For more frequent updates on COVID-19 as it impacts communities in the world’s glacier regions follow GlacierHub on Twitter.

Read More on GlacierHub:

Coronavirus is Expanding Into the Mountain Regions of Western China

Ancient Viruses Awaken as the Tibetan Plateau Melts

French Resort in the Pyrenees Sparks Debate on the Transportation of Snow to Ski Slopes by Helicopter

Roundup: Coronavirus Spreads to Glacier Country, A New Antarctic Feedback Loop, and High Avalanche Danger in the Pacific Northwest

Coronavirus Spreading in Mountain Provinces in Western China

The coronavirus first appeared in Hubei province in eastern China. It remains concentrated there, but has spread. A recent World Health Organization map shows cases in Tibet, Qinghai and Xinjiang––mountainous provinces with many glaciers. In Xinjiang, 45 cases have been confirmed, 18 in Qinghai province, and last week the first case was reported in Tibet. Though indigenous populations are adapted to high altitude, the thin air in these regions may nonetheless present a risk for those who are exposed to the disease, which affects the human respiratory system.

Read the story by Grennan Milliken on GlacierHub here.

The WHO report from February 8 (Source: World Health Organization)

Tracing the Reach of An Interdisciplinary Antarctic Study

A study published in 2018 in the journal Science Advances, has had far-reaching influence in the fields of oceanology and glaciology. The findings are the first to provide evidence that there is currently an ongoing positive feedback loop between the Southern Ocean and the Antarctic Ice Sheet. The research has been cited more than 20 times across a variety of fields and received significant media attention. 

Read the story by Zoë Klobus on GlacierHub here.

Deploying autonomous profilers to measure ocean parameters (Source: David Porter)

High Avalanche Danger After Pacific Northwest Storms

Successive pipelines of moisture-laden Pacific storm systems, known as atmospheric rivers, have produced one of the wettest Januaries for western Washington state on record. The peaks of the Cascade Range, including Mount Baker, among other glaciated stratovolcanoes which spine that US state’s coastline, received more than 20 feet of snow in the first three weeks of the month. The torrent of moisture has continued into February, leading to a “high danger” of avalanches, according to warning issued by the National Weather Service last week. The Northwest Avalanche Center posts real time avalanche advisories, which have since been reduced to moderate threat across most of the affected region.

Read more from the Bellingham Herald here.

Record precipitation in western Washington State has primed avalanche conditions (Source: National Weather Service)

Read More On GlacierHub:

Ancient Viruses Awaken as the Tibetan Plateau Melts

Photo Friday: Province in Turkey Hit by Multiple Avalanches

Crowded Backcountry Ski Slopes Increase Risk of Skiers Endangering Each Other

Photo Friday: Glaciers Smile Down on Electric Ferries

In late April 2018, Washington State Ferries (WSF), the operator of the largest fleet of ferries in the United States, announced plans to convert the three largest boats in its fleet to electric power. WSF uses 18 million gallons of diesel fuel each year, more than any other consumer in Washington state. Consequently, it is also the largest producer of greenhouse gases in the state’s transportation system, generating 73 percent of annual emissions. 

Washington is the second most glaciated state in the US. One of the most common routes taken by the three ferries to be converted is between Seattle and Bainbridge Island, with the snowy peaks of Mount Baker and Mount Rainier visible to passengers on the route. Washington also has glaciers in the Olympic Mountains and the North Cascades. 

WSF plans to swap two of four diesel engines in its Jumbo Mark II ferries for battery packs, which will power the motors needed for propulsion. The changes to the first boat will be largely funded with money from a federal settlement with Volkswagen as a result of its 2015 violation of the Clean Air Act. 

Assistant Secretary Amy Scarton and Director of Vessel Engineering and Maintenance Matt von Ruden with one of the batteries that will be used. 
Source: WSF

The three Jumbo Mark II ferries, Puyallup, Tacoma, and Wenatchee, were chosen to be the first converted because they are the largest boats in the fleet and are responsible for 26 percent of WSF’s fuel consumption. The vessels each have a carrying capacity of 202 cars and 1,800 passengers. They are due for 20-year propulsion system replacements so the changes can be made with few impacts on ferry service. Additionally, the ferries are relatively young and can be used for another 30-40 years. The list goes on, including benefits like reducing engine noise to decrease disruptions to marine life, increasing engine reliability, and decreasing ferry operation costs. 

Washington State Department of Transportation officials estimate that converting all three ferries will be equivalent to taking more than 10,000 cars off the road. 

Until WSF can have charging infrastructure installed, the two remaining diesel engines will charge the batteries. The hybrid system will still reduce emissions. Ian Sterling, a spokesperson for the state ferries, told the Daily Herald that “It will take a long time to be all-electric, but that’s ultimately where we want to be.” Once charging stations are operational, charging times will only take about twenty minutes. 

All of these benefits come with a learning curve; the batteries will need to be replaced every four to five years and crews will need to master the new technology. Nevertheless, WSF aims to have 22 of 26 vessels in its fleet operating as plug-in hybrids by 2040.

Video of the Week: ICESat-2 Scans Glaciated Volcanoes in the Pacific Northwest

In this week’s Video of the Week, Polar Science Center glaciologist Ben Smith shares results from NASA’s new polar satellite, ICESat-2, which made a pass over two glaciated volcanoes in the Pacific Northwest; Mount Baker and Mount Adams. The satellite, which launched in September 2018, carries a laser altimeter that detects individual photons, allowing scientists to measure the elevation of ice sheets, sea ice, forests and more in unprecedented detail. Smith, who is also a professor at the University of Washington, said it will be a few years before the polar orbiting satellite passes over the region, providing an opportunity to measure the glaciers’ change in surface altitude again.

Read More On GlacierHub:

ICESat-2 Hackweek Tackles the Big Data of Earth’s Glaciers

Photo Friday: Mount Baker Is Letting Off Some Steam

Video of the Week: Take a 360° Tour of Mount Baker

North Cascade 2019 Winter Accumulation Assessment

For North Cascade glaciers the accumulation season provides a layer of snow that must last through the melt season. A thin layer sets the glaciers up for a mass balance loss, much like a bear with a limited fat layer would lose more mass than ideal during hibernation.

The 2019 winter season in the North Cascade Range, Washington has been unusual. On April 1, the retained snow-water equivalent in snowpack across the range at the six long SNOTEL sites is 0.72 meters, which is ~70 percent of average. This is the fifth lowest since 1984. The unusual part is that freezing levels were well above normal in January, in the 95 percentile at 1,532 m, then were the lowest level, 372 m of any February since the freezing level record began in 1948. March returned to above normal freezing levels.

April 1 winter accumulation at the longer term North Cascade SNOTEL stations (Fish Lake, Lyman Lake, Park Creek, Rainy Pass, Stampede Pass, and Stevens Pass).

As is typical, periods of cold weather in the regions are associated with reduced snowfall in the mountains and more snowfall at low elevations. In the Seattle metropolitan area February was the snowiest month in 50 years, 0.51 m of snow fell, but in the North Cascades snowfall in the month was well below average. From Feb. 1 to April 1, snowpack SWE at Lyman Lake, the SNOTEL site closest to a North Cascade glacier, usually increases from 0.99 m to 1.47 m. This year, SWE increased from 0.83 m to 1.01 m during this period.

The Mount Baker ski area snow measurement site has the world record for most snowfall in a season: 1,140 inches (28.96 m) during the 1998-99 snow season. The average snowfall is 633 inches (16.07 m) with snowfall this year, as of April 15, at 533 inches (13.53 m). Below is a Landsat image from April 15, 2019 indicating the snowline at ~1000 m in the Nooksack River Valley and 900-1000 m in the Baker Lake valley.

Freezing levels at Mount Baker, WA from the North American Freezing Level Tracker. February was the lowest mean freezing level since 1948.

This year, for the 36th consecutive year, the North Cascade Glacier Climate Project will be in the field measuring North Cascade glaciers. The early signs point towards a seventh consecutive negative balance year.

Mount Baker cloaked in winter snow in an April 15, 2019 Landsat image. MB=Mount Baker, MS=Mount Shuksan, NR=Nooksack River

This article was originally published on the blog From a Glacier’s Perspective.

Read More on GlacierHub:

Glaciers Get New Protections with Passage of Natural Resources Act

Glaciers Account for More Sea Level Rise Than Previously Thought

Trump’s Interior Pick Wants to Heighten California Dam

Video of the Week: Take a 360° Tour of Mount Baker

In this week’s Video of the Week, take a three-dimensional tour of Mount Baker, an active stratovolcano in Washington state. At 10,781 feet (3,286 meters), Mount Baker is the highest peak in the North Cascade Range and the northernmost volcano in the contiguous United States. It is also the only Cascade peak to be affected by both alpine and continental glaciation.

Twelve principal glaciers exist on Mount Baker, all of which are in rapid retreat. The peak is consistently one of the snowiest places on Earth. Mount Baker set the record for snowfall in a year, when it received 95 feet (29 meters) in 1998-1999, an El Niño winter.

Mount Baker is in the news this week after venting steam from a crater near its peak. Though the most recent major eruption at Mount Baker occurred 6,700 years ago, the 2018 update to the USGS National Volcanic Threat Assessment lists the volcano’s eruption threat as “very high,” the most cautious categorization. Volcanoes with this designation are prioritized for research, monitoring, and mitigation.

According to ScienceBase.gov, the USGS data release portal, the purpose of the Mount Baker survey was to contribute to natural hazards monitoring efforts, the study of regional geology and volcanic landforms, and landscape modification during and after future volcanic eruptions.

The rendering below, published by the US Geological Survey in November 2017, used a high-precision Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) survey. LiDAR is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges to the Earth to generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape of the Earth and its surface characteristics. A Leica ALS80 system mounted in a Cessna Caravan 208B was used to conduct the Mount Baker survey in the fall of 2015.

High-definition LiDAR sensing creates a stunning model of Washington state’s active, glacier-covered stratovolcano (Source: MapScaping/Twitter).

Read More on GlacierHub.org

Photo Friday: Mount Baker Is Letting Off Some Steam

Unearthing Rock Glaciers: Hidden, Hydrological Landforms

What Snow Algae in the Pacific Northwest Could Reveal About Life on Mars

Photo Friday: Mount Baker Is Letting Off Some Steam

Mount Baker, an active glacier-covered stratovolcano, is part of Washington’s North Cascades Mountain Range. Standing tall at an elevation of 10,781 feet (3,286 meters), Mount Baker is the highest peak in the North Cascades. Stratovolcanoes––like Baker’s neighbor, Mount St. Helens––are infamous for their highly explosive eruptions, which are often accompanied by hazardous pyroclastic flows, lava flows, flank failures, and devastating mudflows called lahars.

Last week, Mount Baker began venting steam from Sherman Crater, which is situated close to the mountain’s peak. In response, several people took to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, sharing photos and videos of the steam plume. This event prompted some to ask the question: Could Mount Baker be poised to erupt?

The Washington State Emergency Management Division was quick to respon, in an attempt to quell any fears about an imminent eruption.

At openings on the volcano’s surface called vents, various gases can be released at any time, even continuously, and do not have to be connected to eruptions. A combination of good weather, light winds, and the position of Sherman crater near Mount Baker’s peak made for perfect conditions to observe this plume.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) categorizes Mount Baker’s eruption potential as “very high,” the agency’s highest category. To determine a volcano’s threat level, the USGS assesses exposure of people and property to potentially fatal volcanic hazards like pyroclastic flows and lahars. Volcanoes in the “very high” category “require the most robust monitoring coverage.”

Increased seismic activity is a telltale sign of an upcoming eruption. The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN) and Cascades Volcano Observatory (CVO) are in charge of operating stations that can measure earthquakes as small as magnitude 1.0. At Mount Baker and several other high-risk volcanoes in the United States, however, monitoring is currently insufficient. Volcanoes in the two-highest categories should have 12-20 permanent seismic stations within 12.4 mi (20 km); Mount Baker has only two.

Despite these deficits in monitoring, PNSN and CVO detected no increase in seismic activity occurring alongside the plume––in fact there has been no recent seismic activity recorded in the area at all. Considering this lack of seismic activity, Mount Baker’s steam plume is likely nothing short of business as usual.

Read More on GlacierHub:

Photo Friday: Popocatépetl, Mexico’s Glacier-Covered Volcano

Photo Friday: These Glacier-Covered Volcanoes in Chile Could Soon Erupt

Images Show Active, Glacier-Covered Volcanoes in the Russian Far East

Photo Friday: Mount Baker from Puget Sound

This week’s Photo Friday features Mount Baker, a glaciated peak in the North Cascades of Washington. Lisa Dilling, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, shared these photos with GlacierHub. They were taken by Dilling during a recent trip to visit family at the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound. These are unusual images, since few glaciated peaks are visible from islands in the ocean. Mount Baker was also a great influence to poet and environmental activist Gary Snyder, who grew up on a dairy farm with views of the peak, and hiked on Mount Baker in his teens.

A beautiful view of Mount Baker (Source: Lisa Dilling).

 

Another view of Mount Baker captured during Dilling’s recent family trip to the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound (Source: Lisa Dilling).

 

Relatively few glaciated peaks are visible from islands in the ocean (Source: Lisa Dilling).

 

Mount Baker peeks out from behind the forest (Source: Lisa Dilling).

Photo Friday: Mount Baker Amid Haze from Fires

This Photo Friday, catch a glimpse of Mount Baker, a large glaciated peak in the North Cascades, from the area around Bellingham in the state of Washington. Or see what the view was like at spots from which the mountain could usually be seen.

These photos are obtained first-hand from GlacierHub’s managing editor Ben Orlove who is visiting Northwest Washington to interview local residents in the small towns near the peak. The area is known for its spectacular views of Mount Baker, but these views have recently been clouded by haze from devastating forest fires that have swept across British Columbia and eastern Washington.

One afternoon during Orlove’s trip, the winds shifted and the air was a little clearer. Mount Baker was also more visible in the background. But then the winds changed again, and the heavy smoke returned.

Such smoky conditions are historically rare in the region, but this is the second year in a row that they have occurred, according to Orlove. When Mount Baker is visible, its shrinking glacier helps make visitors aware of climate change. After speaking with local residents, Orlove reported that several of them described the situation of smoky air as “the new normal.”  The fires that have made the mountain invisible for stretches of time this year have also been widely discussed in the media, with several commentators linking the fires to support for Washington Initiative 1631, a carbon emissions fee measure on the state ballot this fall. In this way, Mount Baker builds awareness of climate change, whether it is visible or not.

Mount Constitution on GlacierHub
Mount Constitution, the highest point on Orcas Island westward of Bellingham. Mount Baker, ordinarily visible from this spot, was obscured by haze. late August 2018  (Source: Ben Orlove).

 

Mount Baker in Bellinham on GlacierHub
View of Mount Baker from a neighborhood in Bellingham, on one of the few relatively clear days in late August 2018 (Source: Ben Orlove).

 

Early morning in the Fairhaven section of Bellingham, Washington, looking east.  Mount Baker  was obscured by the haze. late August 2018.(Source: Ben Orlove).

Mount Baker on GlacierHub
A spot on Bellingham Bay, from which Mount Baker is ordinarily visible. Late August 2018.(Source: Ben Orlove).

 

View of Mount Baker near the town of Seder-Woolley along the Skagit River on GlacierHub
A view from just outside Sedro-Woolley along the Skagit River. Mount Baker is usually visible from this spot. Late August 2018. (Source: Ben Orlove).

 

A clear view of Mount Rainier, south of Mount Baker, from an airplane above the smoke layer. Mount Rainier has also been obscured by smoke from the fires. Late August 2018. (Source: Ben Orlove).

Video of the Week: Mount Baker Releasing Geothermal Steam

On the southern slope of Mount Baker in the North Cascades of Washington state lies Sherman Crater, an active vent where most of the mountain’s geothermal activity occurs. Sulfur-rich vapor often emerges from many locations within the crater, but when the weather is just right, onlookers are in for a treat! These cold, windless days allow the steam to condense and rise gracefully against the backdrop of the blue sky above.

Glaciers had commanding role in shaping Mt. Baker into what it is today, and it still remains heavily glaciated. The glaciers are relatively healthy thanks to heavy snowfalls that keep them from depleting, unlike the fate of many other United States glaciers.

Watch the slow swirl of steam rising and dissipating into the atmosphere around Mt. Baker in this time-lapse video of the week!

 

Read more glacier news from this week:

Climate Change Behind More Frequent & Powerful Avalanches in Alaska

Still Unresolved, Saga of Jumbo Glacier Resort Heads Back to Canadian Court

Roundup: Plant Life in Extreme Conditions, Freshwater in Tibet, and Alaskan Salmon

 

Roundup: Ultra Denials, Temperatures, and Marathons

Trump on Climate: Deny, Deny, Deny

From HuffPost: “Perry went on to defend his and others’ denial of near-universally accepted climate science, suggesting that those who question the scientific community’s findings are more intelligent. Also in June, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said glaciers in Montana’s Glacier National Park started melting ‘right after the end of the Ice Age’ and that it has ‘been a consistent melt.’ He also dismissed the notion that government scientists can predict with certainty how much warming will occur by 2100 under a business-as-usual scenario.”

Read more about the Trump cabinet and its tenuous relationship to evidence here.

An artistic rendering of the world if climate change is ignored. (Source: Kevin Gill/Creative Commons).
 

Ski No More

From Reuters: “High temperatures that have hit Italy over the past weeks have taken their toll on the country’s glaciers, with a summer ski resort at the Stelvio Pass having to make the historic decision to suspend its activities due to worsening conditions at the Alpine glacier. Swathes of southern and eastern Europe have sweltered in temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius (104°F) this week in a heat wave nicknamed ‘Lucifer’ that has fanned forest fires, triggered weather warning alerts and damaged crops.”

Watch the short video here.

The Stelvio Pass, photographed in August 2015. (Source: Matteo Gugiatti/Creative Commons).
 

A Mountain of an Ultra Marathon

From the Bellingham Herald: “12 runners set out from Bellingham Bay for the top of snow-capped Mount Baker in the distance. To get there and back — a round trip of 108 miles during a hot, sunny weekend — they ran, hiked and climbed to the 10,781-foot summit of Mount Baker over two nights and two days. Eleven of them completed the arduous journey, a trek known as the Mount Baker Ultra Run.”

Read more about this impressive feat here.

The few, the proud, the extreme. (Source: Mount Baker Ultra Marathon).