The National Park Service (NPS) quietly removed a visitor center sign saying the glaciers at Glacier National Park would disappear by 2020 due to climate change.
As it turns out, higher-than-average snowfall in recent years upended computer model projections from the early 2000s that NPS based its claim glaciers “will all be gone by the year 2020,” federal officials said.
“Glacier retreat in Glacier National Park speeds up and slows down with fluctuations in the local climate,” the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which monitors Glacier National Park, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Those signs were based on the observation prior to 2010 that glaciers were shrinking more quickly than a computer model predicted they would,” USGS said. “Subsequently, larger than average snowfall over several winters slowed down that retreat rate and the 2020 date used in the NPS display does not apply anymore.”
NPS updated signs at the St. Mary Visitor Center glacier exhibit over the winter. Sign changes meant the display warning glaciers would all disappear by 2020 now says: “When they completely disappear, however, will depend on how and when we act.”
The total area of Glacier National Park covered in its iconic glaciers shrank 70% from the 1850s to 2015, according to USGS. Melting began at the end of the so-called Little Ice Age when scientists believe 146 glaciers covered the region, opposed to just 26 in 2019.