Glaciers Melting From Within Behind Rapid Ice Mass Loss in South America & Himalaya

Marianne Bevis/CC BY-ND 2.0

Two more quick stories coming through today about the state of glaciers melting due to climate change: 1) It's been confirmed that Bolivia's Chacaltaya glacier melted away six years earlier than expected, and 2) Scientific American has some interesting video of a Himalayan glacier melting from within, not just at the edges, as documented by the pace of a nearby lake filling.

Here's the video of the Ngozumpa Glacier in Nepal purging meltwater from within:

The significance of glaciers melting from the interior: It can cause a glacier to disappear more rapidly than when it simply melts at the edges. Ulyana Horodyskyj, the University of Colorado geologist who shot the time-lapse video, notes that most of the ice mass loss of both Himalayan and South American glaciers is because of this melting from the interior, from so-called "vertical deflation".

As for Chacaltaya, TreeHugger, along with everyone else that the glacier fully melted away back in 2009—and doomed the world's highest ski run at the same time. Now Skeptical Science reports that the World Glacier Monitoring Service has confirmed what the naked eye already saw. But that's not the point, Skeptical Science notes.

The confirmation was announced in the Glacier Mass Balance Bulletin 08/09, which is really how we ought to be determining the effect of climate change on glaciers, not just the spectacular retreat of any given glacier.

In short, the WGMS shows that, as of 2009, 90% of the 136 glaciers around the world accounted for in the survey are in fact losing mass.

Tags: Global Climate Change | Global Warming Effects

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