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About That Ice...

I specialize in painting mountain landscapes, especially glaciated peaks. I was actively climbing, backpacking and skiing in the 1970's when I would also paint watercolors on location and take slides for studio work in oils later.

Now I am comparing the extent of the glaciers in Alaska and Washington with what I saw 40 years ago. The ice is disappearing!

The winter snow pack is unpredictable as never before and I can easily see the changes in the climate in my garden, with finches singing in January instead of March and flowers blooming a month early.

Why should you care?

  • 1. Aesthetics -Our mountains look much more interesting draped in glaciers and permanent snow fields.

  • 2. Water Storage -Glaciers and snowfields store precipitation as snow and ice, preventing flooding and metering out the water all summer long for human uses such as drinking water, irrigation water and power generation. The animals, especially anadromous fish, also depend on these summer water supplies.

  • 3. Rock Recycling -Glaciers are constantly plucking at the rock of the peaks, carrying rock fall off and grinding it down to various sizes. Gravel and sand deposits, created by rivers sorting the material removed by size, are valuable resources for construction of roads, bridges and buildings. The very finest rock flour is deposited in valleys and creates fertile farmland as the minerals are released for access by the vegetation.

  • 4. Transportation -The slowly released water maintains the navigability of rivers.

  • 5. Climate -Glaciers, ice and snow reflect more heat into space and as they melt, also cool the environment. The melting of the polar and glacial ice slows down global warming, that is until the ice is all gone.

  • 6. Recreation -Skiing, climbing, hiking, scenic drives are all supported by the snow and ice of the mountains.

  • 7. Food Security -The stability of the climate and the storage of water are crucial to our food security. You do like to eat, don't you?