Regardless of what your views on Climate Change are or aren’t, it’s a known fact that our glaciers are melting at an alarming rate. One of the greatest examples of glacial retreat can be found at Glacier National Park in Montana. In 1850, there were approximately 150 glaciers in Glacier National Park. When the park was officially formed 60 years later in 1910, there were still approximately 150 glaciers in the park. Scientists believe that most of the glaciers formed in the park about 7000 years ago and peaked in size near the end of the “Little Ice Age” around 1850. Today in the park there are 38 glaciers left, only 10 of those are considered to be “active” or larger than 25 acres. At the current rate of melt, there may not be any glaciers in GLACIER National Park by the mid 2020’s.
It has long been believed and accepted that globally all glaciers have been stagnant or in retreat. This has even been observed in the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica. As with all things in life, there is an exception to the rule. It has been observed that some Himalayan glaciers are actually increasing in mass. The study was conducted in the Karakoram range that sits on the India, China, and Pakistan boarder. Contained within the range is approximately half of the glacial mass of the Himalayas. Notably, K2, the world’s second highest peak sits in this range. Using computers to analyze images from 1999 through 2008 showed that some glaciers are remaining the same size while other are growing in size. Adding credibility to the most recent study is another study published in February that found the Himalayas as whole have hardly melted at all in the last decade.
“The rest of the glaciers in the Himalayas are mostly melting … here we found that glaciers aren’t.” – Researcher Julie Gardelle
Scientists are baffled as to why this is the only known region of the world to contain growing glaciers and the hypothesis’s vary. One of the theories suggests that due to an increase in temperature, there is an increase of seasonal monsoonal rains. Despite the increasing volume of the glaciers, it is still suggested that most Himalayan glaciers will disappear by 2035.
The above video shows the retreat of the Jorge Montt Glacier in Patagonia. Over the course of one year the glacier receded nearly half a mile, or 82 feet each day.
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