May 23, 2022

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United States of America.  The Olympic Mountains / Olympic Mountains.  Glaciers are disappearing due to climate change

United States of America. The Olympic Mountains / Olympic Mountains. Glaciers are disappearing due to climate change

Located in the US state of Washington, the Olympic Peninsula is famous for its gorgeous snowy landscapes. The glaciers there have been surviving for 2.5 million years, but as research by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) has shown, there are many indications that they may be “largely” gone in less than half a century.

The Olympic Mountains are located on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. It is the most westerly alpine-type terrain in the Pacific Northwest. Because of their location, they are the first to catch wet storms coming from the Pacific Ocean.

Almost the entire range of the Olympic Mountains lies within the Olympic National Park. The height of the peaks reaches 2,400 meters above sea level. As a rule, it rains there profusely, mostly snow. In Buckinghorse, Washington, in the center of the park, there is a snow sensor 1,484 meters above sea level. During the entire winter season 2021-2022, 347 cm of snow was recorded there. From the 2009-2010 season, at least 250 cm of rain was recorded at the same location.

Climate changes and glaciers in the Olympic Mountains

There are now about 200 glaciers in the park, which is fewer than in previous decades. While none of the local glaciers disappeared in the 1980-1990s, 35 did in the 25 years after 1990. Altogether, the area of ​​the glaciers decreased by 45 percent compared to 1980. According to the researchers, warmer winters mean precipitation It rains instead. Often, snow takes the form of rain, which prevents the regeneration of glaciers.

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Experts emphasize that the disappearance of the glaciers of the Olympic Mountains is not only a loss of the landscape. First of all, it will affect the ecosystem and reduce the amount of water resources.

Olympic Mountains in the United Statesstock struggle

Glaciers in the Olympic Mountains. “They will pretty much be gone by 2070.”

The worrying trend will continue, said Andrew Fountain, professor of geology and geography at Portland State University, who led the research. According to AGU research published last week, since 1990, 134 glaciers have fallen below the minimum eligible for protection (0.01 km²).

There isn’t much we can do to prevent disappearances these Glaciers. We are now “on the global warming train”. Even if we were very good citizens and stopped emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere immediately, it would be about 100 years before the climate reacts, Fountain said.

According to the National Park Service (NPS), today’s glaciers formed on the peninsula in the Pleistocene epoch, 2.5 million years ago. The AGU study concluded that it will “largely disappear by 2070”.

Adam Zimenovich / PAP

Not only in the mountains

Ice depletion on glaciers is not unique to Olympic National Park. The latest data from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) showed a similar decline in several locations across the country: north of Washington’s Cascades, Montana Glacier National Park, and even Alaska. The area of ​​all glaciers in these regions shows a decreasing trend.

A US Geological Survey study confirmed that warmer temperatures make these glaciers more likely to melt in summer and less likely to accumulate ice in winter.

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Main image source: stock struggle