Glacier National Park

In Glacier National Park (GNP) glaciers are retreating in response to global warming. The loss of the Park’s glaciers is presentably a major concern, as they play a fundamental role in regulating water flow and temperature throughout the year. As glaciers vanish, water flows decrease and stream temperatures increase. In consequence, temperature sensitive aquatic insects that form the basis of the aquatic food chain may experience local extinctions.1 This in turn, may reduce the prey base for native bull trout and cutthroat trout within GNP.1 At the same time, less water equates to drier landscapes. Increasingly severe wildfire conditions may occur, jeopardizing the natural ecosystem, air quality, and human property and life.1 The loss of the Park’s glaciers will also reduce melt water for drinking, agriculture, recreation, and tourism.1

Recently, I came across GIS data for historical glacier extents in Glacier National Park (GNP). I have used ArcGIS Pro, Photoshop, and Illustrator to produce a visualization of the area surrounding the Grinnell Glacier, one of the Park’s larger glaciers. I have tried to blend government acquired imagery, 3D modeling techniques, and a National Geographic layout style to produce a snapshot of events occurring within the park.

Click here to learn more about glacier retreat in Glacier National park.

The data for the 1966, 1998, 2005, and 2015 extents can be downloaded here. The data for the mid-19th century extents can be downloaded here.


1 Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center. Retreat of Glaciers in Glacier National Park. USGS.gov. https://www.usgs.gov/centers/norock/science/retreat-gla ciers-glacier-national-park?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects