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A Last Look at California’s Glaciers

California’s glaciers are disappearing at a rapid rate.

Screenshot 2014-06-16 13.27.01          Photo credit: Tim Palmer

Many people don’t realize that glaciers even exist in California. In fact, we have about 130.

Most cling to steep slopes of the Sierra Nevada, but they’re disappearing at a rapid rate. Geologist Greg Stock of Yosemite National Park reports that even Lyell Glacier—second-largest in the Sierra—no longer has the mass required for it to creep downhill, which is one condition that defines a glacier.

Among all the changes wrought by global warming—heat waves, raging floods, rising seas, menacing droughts—the melting of the glaciers is the most immediately visible for anyone who ventures high enough to see them.

One might reason that California’s glaciers are already small and of little consequence, but the same forces that are melting them are also reducing the mountains’ entire snowpack, which will diminish this century by 30 to 70 percent, according to scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. That snowpack accounts for 60 percent of the water used in California.

Read the full article here.

 

 

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