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Rocky Mountain glaciers have grown slightly this year, say scientists

Ice in the Rocky Mountains is increasing this year as snowfall compounds on unmelted snow from the previous winter.

In Glacier National Park, scientists measured new ice, while in Wyoming, photos showed larger snowfields than in previous seasons in the northwest part of the state.

Around Jackson Hole, Wyo., record snow accumulation last year led to concerns about flooding in the spring. However, the cooler weather kept the snow intact. "I've never seen a season with a gain like we've seen this summer," said Bob Comey, director of the Bridger-Teton National Forest Avalanche Center.

However, the new ice growth doesn't offset the overall melting trend over the past few years. Nel Caine, a geography professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, said he measured 2 to 3 feet of new snow from last winter on Arikaree Glacier, which is equal to the glacier loss he's seen every year since 1998. In
2002, the glacier melted 9 feet.

"If that rate had continued uninterrupted, we might have lost all by 2012-2013. Fortunately, it did not," said

Scientists also measured some growth on Sperry Glacier in northwest Montana. "It was not nearly what we thought it would be because we had an extended warm and dry September," said Dan Fagre, climate change research coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey's Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center. "This year we basically had summer extend into September. So the glaciers continued to lose their seasonal snow" (Mead Gruver,  AP/Yahoo News, Nov. 1). -- UI

Reprinted from ClimateWire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. 202-628-6500


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Reprinted from climatewire-10-31_11-11 with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. 202-628-6500.

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