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If you have some down time this new year, read this poignant dispatch from @ReutersMariS . For nearly 600 years, Shinto priests have observed ice cover on Japan's Suwa Lake, leaving one of the world’s oldest continuous measurements of climate change:

On Nagano's Lake Suwa, climate change unravels 600 years of history held dear

On Nagano's Lake Suwa, climate change unravels 600 years of history held dear

Shinto priests have unknowingly been keeping climate records for more than 600 years on Japan’s Lake Suwa. Before World War II, the lake ice was thick enough to hold a fighter plane. Now it rarely freezes solid

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When Atsushi Momose, 71, was a boy, a popular teenage movie star visited Japan’s Lake Suwa wearing a figure skater’s costume and expensive leather skates. Now the ice barely freeze

The ice on Japan’s Lake Suwa once was so thick that military tanks could rumble over it. Now, due to rising temperatures in recent years, the ice is often too thin for a mythic ridge called ‘omiwatari,’ known as the crossing of the gods, to appear

In July 2016, Kanji Fujiori got a call from a veteran fisherman that mounds of dead fish washed up on Japan’s Lake Suwa shores overnight. The Suwa fisheries union estimated that around 80% of smelt in the lake died that day

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Kiyoshi Miyasaka, 69, is the fourth generation of his family, as priests, to watch over Japan’s Lake Suwa, tracking an ice ridge called omiwatari. Records kept for nearly 600 years and the lack of ice now are a reminder of damage wrought by climate change

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For nearly 600 years, priests have recorded ice cover at Japan's Lake Suwa. 'Omiwatari’ is an ice ridge that forms when the lake freezes and air temperatures are well below freezing. With temperatures rising, that rarely happens now

As winter nears, Japan’s Lake Suwa provides an intimate reminder of damage wrought by climate change – and its ability to erase the very things people hold most dear

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At Japan’s Lake Suwa, priests have been observing a mythic ice phenomenon for nearly six centuries. With global temperatures steadily rising in recent years, the lake rarely freezes solid

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Shinto priests at Japan’s Lake Suwa have been observing a mythic ice phenomenon since the 1400s. Now, the ice is getting ever thinner and the lake is slowly vanishing from the everyday lives of the people who surround it

Every year since at least 1443, the priests who live on the edge of Lake Suwa have carefully recorded the climate

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