Climate change poses a much larger threat to the existence of mankind than any other thing at the moment, not even a viral pandemic or wars. In Alaska, climate change is intensifying the tsunami threat, which scientists believe will be caused by melting glaciers that are currently holding on to the mountains and are at risk of falling into the ocean.
Whittier is the most worried city in Alaska, where the Barry glacier, which was once the most touristy place in the whole of the city, now poses a tsunami threat as it continues to retreat rapidly.
What’s up in Whittier?
Whittier has still not forgotten the earthquake-triggered tsunami of 1964, which killed 13 people and damaged $10 million worth of properties. However, another tsunami threat looms large on the city in the 21st century as Barry glacier continues to melt and may fall into the ocean at any moment causing a mega-tsunami.
According to Wired, scientists believe that the glacier will fall in the next 20 years and may take even less time if global warming continues at the same pace.
Gabriel Wolken, the Climate and Cryosphere Hazards Program manager for the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, has said that the area is unstable and rockfalls happen on a regular basis.
“The rock itself isn’t very competent. It’s basically falling apart,” said Wolken, who visits the Barry Arm area every now and then to conduct surveys.
Residents of Whittier are reportedly aware of the risk but they don’t care too much as they have apparently become prone to disasters such as forest fire, earthquake, landslide, etc.
Alaska State Department of Natural Resources had also warned about the situation in May this year as they issued a press release about a possible landslide-triggered tsunami because of the melting glacier. Steve Masterman, director of the Division of Geological and Geographical Surveys said his staff has received indications that the rapid retreat of the Barry Glacier from the Barry Arm, 28 miles northeast of Whittier, could release millions of tons of rocks into the river, triggering a tsunami at least as some of the largest in the state’s recorded history.