The Heat Is Online

Glacial Retreat Faster than Previously Thought

The Boston Globe

May 28, 1998 By Associated Press, 05/28/98

All of the glaciers in Glacier National Park in Montana will be gone in the next 50 to 70 years, according to researchers measuring global melting rates.

The Montana glaciers and others are melting more quickly than scientists had thought, according to the study by Mark Meier, a geologist who presented his findings at a meeting Tuesday of the American Geophysical Union.

''The glaciers are receding and becoming thinner, and you can see this,'' Meier said, blaming global warming.

Melting ice caps are contributing to rising sea levels that lead to beach erosion and severe inland storms, he said. As a result, Rivers are overflowing their banks more often.

Meier and his research team at the University of Colorado at Boulder looked at characteristics of glaciers worldwide during the past 100 years, then compared the measurements to today's ice caps.

They found that mid-latitude glaciers, those outside of Antarctica and Greenland, had receded.

In the past century, the largest glacier on Mount Kenya in Africa has lost 92 percent of its mass, and glaciers in Russia's Caucasus Mountains have shrunk by half.

Although glaciers outside arctic regions account for only 6 percent of the world's ice, they contribute more heavily to sea-level changes.