Climate change stole a Yukon river almost overnight

❝ Its water rerouted by a retreating glacier, the Slims River offers researchers an extreme example of ‘river piracy’ – one with far-reaching implications for northern waters, Ivan Semeniuk explains


Click to enlargeDaniel Shugar

❝ Daniel Shugar knew his research trip was in trouble when he arrived at Kluane Lake last August.

A Canadian geomorphologist based at the University of Washington in Tacoma, Dr. Shugar’s plan had been to study currents at the mouth of the Slims River, which spills down from the mountains of Kluane National Park and feeds Yukon’s largest lake from its southern end.

There was a problem: The river was gone.

❝ In what appears to be a first for the scientific record books, the Slims has become an extreme example of what geographers call “river piracy”: when the drainage of one watershed is stolen by another. But on this occasion the shift occurred virtually overnight.

❝ In a report published…in the journal Nature Geoscience, Dr. Shugar and his colleagues provide a detailed analysis of how an atmosphere warmed by fossil-fuel emissions has led to the river’s dramatic disappearance.

“To me, it’s kind of a metaphor for what can happen with sudden change induced by climate,” said John Clague, who holds a chair in natural hazard research at Simon Fraser University and was a co-author on the report.

While people may think of climate change as a gradual process, its effects need not be, Dr. Clague said, adding, “I think that has important implications for society.”

RTFA. Entertaining as journalism – not the processes which our most ignorant politicians continue to ignore. As one sign said in this past weekend’s March for Science during Earth Day — Accepting science as a fact or not doesn’t change the facts.

Unless you’re a fool. Sorry about that. I know it ain’t polite. But, I’ve been a student of science for several decades. Understanding has changed, knowledge has deepened, even changed direction. Facts don’t change.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s