Bye Bye Glaciers: 2 More Gone From Glacier National Park


Two USGS researchers collect data in Glacier National Park in 2008. Photo courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey.
Guest bloggers Andrea Donsky and Randy Boyer are co-founders of NaturallySavvy.com.

We all know warmer temperatures have led to shrinking glaciers, and now two more of Glacier National Park's ice fields are too small to be classified as glaciers, according to a recent article on msnbc.com.

The Shepard Glacier and Miche Wabun Glacier have shrunk to less than 25 acres, bringing the number of glaciers in the Montana park down to 25; the park was once home to some 150 glaciers. And the article paints a grim picture for the future of the Montana park's glaciers.Dan Fagre, a U.S. Geological Survey ecologist, reported the change in the status of the former glaciers earlier this week. In an interview with MSNBC, he said:

It's continual. When we're measuring glacier margins, by the time we go home the glacier is already smaller than what we've measured.

Glacier National Park's namesake glaciers are shrinking due to temperature increases. The average temperature in the past decade was 2 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than the average temperatures from 1950 to 1979. That level of warming is enough that there will likely come a time in the near future when there are no glaciers left, Fagre says:

They've been on this landscape continually for 7,000 years, and we're looking at them disappear in a couple of decades.

A 2003 study estimated that the park would have no glaciers left by 2030, but Fagre told MSNBC that a few of the largest glaciers could survive past 2020 or 2030. However, he added that the ecosystem would be forever changed by the loss of so many of the glaciers.

More on Glaciers
Everest and Himalayan Glaciers Could Vanish By 2035, Imperiling a Billion People
Global Warming Melting Glaciers, Shrinking Harvests in China and India
Yes Virginia, the Glaciers are Melting

Tags: Ecology | Glaciers | Global Warming Effects | Montana | United States