This ordinarily should have taken thousands of years, but the relentless warming of the planet is causing the accelerated melting of the Kaskawulsh Glacier, one of Canada’s largest. In what amounts to a nanosecond of geologic time, the melt produced an astonishing reversal in the direction of the water flow from north to south in just a few months. In a scientific paper by Daniel Shugar just published in the highly respected journal Nature Geoscience, it was reported that the melting water caused by last spring’s excessive heat cut a path in the ice to the south-flowing Alsek River that leads to the Pacific Ocean, thereby reversing the northward flow to the usual recipients, the Slims and Yukon Rivers.
This change caused dust storms in the area, but more importantly it deprived the north of its usual water volume, producing dramatic changes in the region’s landscapes and ecosystems. This is an event that is usually caused by tectonic plate shifts and long-term erosion that takes thousands or millions years. Instead it occurred in a few months. This is just more evidence that the environmental consequences of global warming by greenhouse gases could be enormous. Environmentalists are concerned that the present U.S. administration seems intent on exacerbating the problems caused by global warming by encouraging fossil fuel production instead of renewable energy. Avowed climate change deniers are in powerful positions in the US government, with Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma (land of the fracking-caused earthquakes) a senior member of the U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works committee and Scott Pruitt, a confirmed climate change denier, in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency. (Pruitt is known for suing the EPA).