Leaving Franz Josef

Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand

Descending from the Southern Alps on the South Island of New Zealand, Franz Josef Glacier has exhibited a pattern of advance and retreat over the years. Starting in 2008, scientists indicate the glacier entered a rapid retreat phase caused by global warming. In fact, a 2008 study indicated the glacier will continue to decline into the 22nd century. Still, I understand this glacier has the lowest terminus of any alpine glacier in the world and that we still have a chance to save it because it sits on the west side of the Southern Alps, protecting the glacier from sun and wind and slowing the impact of a warming climate.

Standing at the foot of this massive river of ice, feeling the melting process happen underneath it and watching the glacier water rush away to join the ocean not far away, one is surrounded by the power of our earth and yet reminded that we, though small, have power to make changes to help her survive.

(Glacier data gathered from the National Snow & Ice Data Center: https://nsidc.org) Photo © copyright by Loren Logan Lones.