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Published: Friday 19 July, 2013

longchamp backpack sale longchamp backpack sale ´╗┐Glaciers gone from Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park has lost two more of its glaciers to climate change and many of the rest may be gone by the end of the decade, a US government researcher says.

Warmer temperatures have reduced the number of named glaciers in the northwestern Montana park to 25, said Dan Fagre said, an ecologist with the US Geological Survey.

The latest two to fall below the 10 hectare threshold, the minimum size required for the glacier to have a name, were Miche Wabun and Shepard. Each had shrunk by roughly 55 per cent since the mid1960s.

The largest remaining glacier in the park is Harrison Glacier, at about 190 hectares.

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On a local scale, fewer glaciers means less water in streams for fish and a higher risk for forest fires. More broadly, Fagre said the fate of the glaciers offers a climate barometer, indicating dramatic changes to some ecosystems already under way.

While the meltoff shows the climate is changing, it does not show exactly what is causing temperatures to rise.

In alpine regions around the world, glacier melting has accelerated in recent decades as temperatures increased. Most scientists tie that warming directly to higher atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.

Some glaciers, such as in the Himalayas, could hold out for centuries in a warmer world. But more than 90 per cent of glaciers worldwide are in retreat, with major losses already seen across much of Alaska, the Alps, the Andes and numerous other ranges, according to researchers in the United States and Europe.

In some areas of the Alps, ski resorts set atop glaciers have taken drastic measures to stave off the decline, such as draping glaciers in plastic sheeting to keep them cooler.

It could prove a losing battle: Scientists working for the United Nations say the last period of widespread glacial growth was more than three decades ago, lasting only for a few years.

Since about 1850, when the Little Ice Age ended, the trend has been steadily downward.

The area of the Rocky Mountains now within Glacier National Park once boasted about 150 glaciers, of which 37 were eventually named.

Fagre said a handful of the parks largest glaciers could survive past 2020 or even 2030, but by that point the ecosystem would already be irreversibly altered.

Fagre said geological evidence points to the continual presence of glaciers in the area since at least 5000 BC.

Theyve been on this landscape continually for 7,000 years, and were looking at them disappear in a couple of decades, he said.

Smaller glaciers and warmer temperatures could lower stream flows, which in turn prompt fishing restrictions and hobble whitewater rafting businesses, said Denny Gignoux, who runs an outfitting business in West Glacier. Tourism is a $US1 billion $A1.08 billion a year industry in the area.

What happens when all these threats increase? Gignoux asked. Were losing a draw to Glacier.

Two environmental longchamp backpack sale groups released a report on Wednesday highlighting the threat to tourism of fewer glaciers. The report by the Rocky Mountain Climate Organisation and Natural Resources Defence Council included an analysis of weather records that showed Glacier was 2 degrees hotter on average from longchamp backpack sale 2000 to 2009, compared with 1950 to 1979. longchamp backpack sale