The USGS has been monitoring the mass balance of three glaciers in the Pacific Northwest and in Alaska for nearly 50 years. This mass balance record is now sufficient to interpret glacier responses to short- and long-term climate changes in the Pacific Northwest, the Alaska Coast, and the Alaska interior. What have we learned so far?(USGS Report). The drinking water cycle is being disturbed which will disturb civilization in ways that can be called catastrophic.* All three glaciers have lost mass since USGS monitoring began more than four decades ago.The accelerating loss of mass, the weakening correlation with the PDO, and increasing mass turnover likely are the result of changes to warmer and (or) drier climate conditions that are affecting all three regions. The climate changes could be overwhelming the previously observed responses of the maritime glaciers to periodic shifts in ocean conditions, such as are represented by the PDO.
* Mass loss has accelerated during the last 15 years, coincident with the highest melt years on record.
* Mass balance of the coastal South Cascade and Wolverine Glaciers correlate well with the PDO during the first few decades of the period of record, showing the effects of ocean-condition periodicity on glacier health.
* This correlation has weakened during the last two decades, as global average temperature has increased.
* Mass turnover has increased throughout monitoring and the trend of increase has become stronger during the last two decades.
The disruption of these water cycles can damage forests further too, especially since the United States government is not getting it yet.
If we do not care to protect and keep our own lungs healthy, it is not likely we will care a great deal about the lungs of the earth, which we have known for a long time are the forests:
When we consider the earth as a living organism, we recognize that the rain forests are the lungs of that energy system.(NYTimes, 1985). These are areas of knowledge that indicate we are the fools who have rushed in where angels would fear to tread.
Over 40 percent of the world's oxygen is produced from the rain forests. So the imlications of their destruction are far greater than we have previously considered.
Their destruction is part of the tragic pattern our species is now engaged in: because of ignorance about our own environment and its interconnected web of relationships, coupled with our high level of technology (and insatiable greed), we human beings are in the process of destroying our own life-support system.
This is not good because we must pass the earth environmental compatibility test before we can pass The Test of Ecocosmology.