It has been revealed that Montana's Glacier National Park are melting much faster than had been predicted by scientists just a few years ago and could be gone entirely in just a decade. The park is a huge hit among tourists who go to see one of the park's namesake masses of ice.
Over tens of thousands of years massive sheets of ice slowly slid and chewed away at the rock carving out these valleys.
AdvertisementBut now, these frozen forces of nature are in full-scale retreat.
"The glaciers are continuing to shrink every year and at some point they will be gone," CBS News quoted Dan Fagre, a scientist with the United States Geological Survey who's been studying glaciers in Glacier National Park for 20 years, as saying.
"I can remember exactly where a lot of these glaciers used to be, and see how much smaller they are," he said.
In just a few decades, many of the park's glaciers have shrunk dramatically.
Since 1966, 11 of them have completely melted away. There were once 150 glaciers in the park. Now there are just 25, and scientists believe in the next 10 to 20 years, they could all be gone.
The glaciers have been shrinking since 1850. Yet scientists say climate change, fuelled by human pollution, has made them melt quicker and more extreme.
The average temperature in the park has risen two degrees. Spring arrives about three weeks earlier, and the snow pack has been declining for 50 years.
"The snow is melting faster than it's being added to so the glaciers are just getting smaller," glacier guide Corrie Holloway said.
The glaciers and snow melt feed the streams and lakes, a lifeline for fish and the other animals, such as big horn sheep that call the area home.
With hotter summers, some wild flowers are already disappearing. The forests are drier and more disease-ridden and there are more extreme wildfires.