Photo Friday: Glacier Retreat in California

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement at age 81 on Wednesday, effective July 31, 2018. Originally from Sacramento, California, Justice Kennedy was confirmed to the court in 1988 after his appointment by President Ronald Reagan. Since then, glaciers in his home state have seen considerable retreat. Mount Shasta in the Cascade Mountain range has glaciers.. These glaciers have experienced some advances but ultimately retreat since a USGS survey in 1981, just several years before Kennedy took office. Whitney Glacier, the longest on Mt. Shasta, has lost over 20% of its length during Kennedy’s time on the Court.

This Photo Friday provides a look at the glaciers of California and the changes that have been seen during Kennedy’s time on the Supreme Court.

A 1993 Google Earth image depicts the advancement and retreat of Whitney Glacier (Source: Mauri Pelto).


Mount Shasta glaciers on September 20, 2012, as seen from the International Space Station (Source: NASA).


The Lyell Glacier in Yosemite National Park has lost over 80 percent of its surface area since the 19th century. (Source: National Park Service).


Darwin Glacier on August 14, 1908 (Source: G.K. Gilbert).


Darwin Glacier on August 14, 2004 (Source: H. Basagic).


Glacier retreat in the Sierra Nevada (Source: Hassan Basagic).


Roundup: Mysteries, Past and Present, Abound

Climate Experts Removed from Zuckerberg Delegation

From the Washington Post: “Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg flew to Glacier National Park on Saturday to tour the melting ice fields that have become the poster child for climate change’s effects on Montana’s northern Rockies. But days before the tech tycoon’s visit, the Trump administration abruptly removed two of the park’s top climate experts from a delegation scheduled to show him around, telling a research ecologist and the park superintendent that they were no longer going to participate in the tour.”

Read more about this unusual move here.

Grinnell Glacier basin in Glacier National Park (Source: Tim Rains/National Park Service).


Water Rights Hold Up Washington State Budget

From the Seattle Times: “$4 billion in new construction projects and money for a few hundred state jobs still hang in the balance while the capital budget has been held up by a dispute over water rights. Senate Republicans say they won’t pass a capital budget without legislation aimed at overturning a recent state Supreme Court known as the Hirst decision. That ruling effectively limited the use of new domestic wells in certain rural areas when they may harm senior water rights.”

Read about the complexities of this issue here.

The state capitol in Olympia, Washington (Source: John Colella/Creative Commons).


Retreating Glaciers Solve a Family Mystery

From The Telegraph: “The frozen bodies of a Swiss couple who went missing 75 years ago in the Alps have been found on a shrinking glacier, Swiss media said on Tuesday. Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin, the parents of seven children, had gone to milk their cows in a meadow above Chandolin in the Valais canton on August 15, 1942.”

Read about what this means to one of the couple’s surviving children here.

The couple’s remains were found on Tsanfleuron Glacier (Source: MattW/Creative Commons).