President Obama is making an historic trip to Alaska this week. The POTUS is discussing the effects of climate change with various Alaskan policticians and other prominent citizens of the state. On Tuesday, he toured Resurrection Bay on the Kenai Peninsula. He also had a chance to hike on the threatened Exit Glacier at Kenai Fjords National Park.
The roaring, high speed three-hour tour across the pristine blue waters of Resurrection Bay near the town of Seward brought the President within 50 yards of endangered Steller sea lions, whose population is only beginning to recover after decades of decline.
A National Park Service ranger accompanying reporters on the journey said the melting glaciers, combined with other non-climate factors, have impacted the sea lions’ diet.
“All of the wildlife that depend on this ecosystem are impacted by fresh water being put back into the ocean,” Ranger Colleen Kelly said. …
Earlier in the day Obama hiked to the edge of the aptly named Exit Glacier inside Kenai Fjords National Park. The glacier has slowly melted away over the last two centuries. But its retreat has accelerated in recent years, losing 1,000 feet of ice in the last 10 years.
Obama took note of the National Park Service signposts that mark the glacier’s steady decline by year. A “2005” sign stands where tourists could once touch the edge of the ice a decade ago. Then glacier has shrunk considerably since then. The latest marker, “2010,” now looms a few hundred feet from Exit’s nose.
“This is as good of a signpost of what we’re dealing with when it comes to climate change as just about anything,” Obama said, reiterating scientists’ concerns that the vanishing glaciers are contributing to sea rise along the nation’s coasts.
“We want to make sure that our grandkids can see this,” he added.