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Glaciers rapidly shrinking and disappearing: 50 years of glacier change in Montana

10 May 2017

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The warming climate has dramatically reduced the size of 39 glaciers in Montana since 1966, some by as much as 85 percent, according to data released by the U.S. Geological Survey and Portland State University.

On average, the glaciers have reduced by 39 percent and only 26 glaciers are now larger than 25 acres, which is used as a guideline for deciding if bodies of ice are large enough to be considered glaciers

The data include scientific information for the 37 named glaciers in Glacier National Park and two glaciers on U.S. Forest Service land. The retreat of glaciers is significant in Montana because of the impact shrinking glaciers can have on tourism, as well as being a visual indicator of mountain ecosystem change in the northern Rocky Mountains.

Source: USGS

Image credit: USGS - Satellite imagery illustrating the perimeter of Sperry Glacier in Glacier National Park in 1966,1998, 2005, and 2015.