Monday, March 4, 2019

Disappearance of Great Lakes source ice linked to climate change

Occasionally you come across noteworthy journalism and feel obligated to highlight it, which is why I recommend this Chicago Tribune piece that puts a big, yet profoundly local focus, on climate change:
The massive glacier that formed the Great Lakes is disappearing — and greenhouse gases are to blame for its untimely demise
See what I mean?  You don't see that linkage made very often:
Today, the Barnes Ice Cap, a glacier about the size of Delaware on Baffin Island in Canada, is the last remnant of the mighty Laurentide Ice Sheet. But after 2,000 years of stability, the ice cap is expected to vanish in the next 300 years as an unparalleled rise in heat-trapping greenhouse gases has brought on an alarming rate of melting since the 1960s. 
Scientists say the warmth of the past century exceeds any in the last 115,000 years, and perhaps even longer, according to a study published last month.
“If the Barnes Ice Cap has almost never disappeared in 2.5 million years, and it’s disappearing now, then it’s giving us the context that it’s warm as it’s ever been in the last 2.5 million years,” said Gifford Miller, a professor of geological sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder and a researcher who has extensively studied the ice cap on Baffin Island.
I'm glad to see more awareness of the Great Lakes' unique importance, as I noted here:
Lake Michigan
Milwaukee's Lake Michigan shoreline
Voters in Toledo, Ohio, just granted Lake Erie rights usually reserved for people, so will Erie's big sister lakes 
and the ecosystems which depend on them get the same status?
The [Toledo, Ohio] measure passed easily, which means citizens will be able to sue on behalf of the lake whenever its right to flourish is being contravened — that is, whenever it’s in danger of major environmental harm.
Think of it as any Toledo resident being able to act as a public intervenor to defend its great lake; after all, if corporations are people, then why not the natural world which sustains people and all living things?
Note also that:
Indiana has moved assertively to protect residents' rights to the Great Lakes shoreline.
While it has fallen to Wisconsin public interest organizations and attorneys to guarantee Great Lakes and other water rights which the Walker administration and Republican politics and politicos have repeatedly have given away to their private-sector donors and allies.
The Tribune story also makes the Walker administration's scrubbing of climate science and data science from the DNR's climate change page and the misleading substitute title The Great Lakes and a changing world on the truncated, successes page even more nefarious, and boosts the need for the Evers' DNR to redo the page, now.

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