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Melting glaciers, rapidly disappearing climate change gauges

Glaciers in Patagonia are retreating faster than anywhere else in the world.

A crack spread in the San Rafael Glacier at the southernmost tip of Chile, and a 10-story iceberg collided with the lake under the same name. This is a dramatic reminder of the effects of global warming.


About 100 icebergs are floating on Lake San Rafael today. Fragments shattered from glaciers spread to more than two-thirds of the body of water 150 years ago. Ice cover..

The San Rafael Glacier is one of 39 glaciers on the Northern Patagonian Ice Field (3,500 square kilometers or 1,350 square miles) and is located on the Southern Patagonian Ice Field (11,000 km).2) In Chile’s Aysén region, it forms one of the largest ice blocks in the world.

According to the European Space Agency, satellite images show that San Rafael is one of the most active calves in the world. Glacier And it “flows” at a speed of about 7.6 km (4.7 miles) a year, the fastest-moving in Patagonia- “dramatically retreats under the influence of global warming.”

Glaciers are slowly moving blocks of ice on land hundreds to thousands of years ago.

Seasonal glacier melting is a natural phenomenon that has been “significantly” accelerated by global warming, Jorge Octintons, regional director of glaciology at the Chilean Water Department, told AFP.

Lake San Rafael has about 100 icebergs

Lake San Rafael has about 100 icebergs.

“Excellent indicator”

Today, Patagonia’s glaciers are retreating faster than anywhere else in the world.

“Glaciers are a good indicator of climate change,” said Alexis Segovia, another government glaciologist working in remote areas of southern Chile.

Of Chile’s 26,000 glaciers, all but two are shrinking, he said. Greenhouse gas emissions..

It’s a virtuous circle.

The Earth’s ice-covered surface reflects excess heat back into space. As these decrease due to melting, the temperature rises further.

The melting glacier sea ​​level riseWill increase Coastal erosion Rising storm surge.

And the water blocked by glaciers can be released by a sudden collapse.

“Recently, areas that have never been flooded have been flooded,” said Octintons.

  • All but two of Chile's 26,000 glaciers are shrinking

    All but two of Chile’s 26,000 glaciers are shrinking.

  • As glaciers melt, sea level rise increases

    As glaciers melt, so does sea level rise.

To learn more about what to expect in the future, glaciologists will study the evolution of glaciers in Chile. It contains frozen records of how climate has changed over time.

According to WWF, more than one-third of the remaining glaciers in the world will melt by 2100, even if humanity manages to curb emissions from burning fossil fuels.

The heat is “strong”

Santos Catalonia, a small sheep and cattle farmer on Lake Carrera, shared by Chile and Argentina, east of San Rafael, lives at the forefront of change.

To increase his income, he traverses the lake in a wooden boat with tourists overlooking the glacier.

Chilean Patagonian Ice Field

A map of Chile showing the Patagonian Ice Field, the third largest glacier glacier reserve in the world.

Over the last 15 to 20 years, he told AFP that the landscape became much less white as the ice melted and the snow diminished.

“Things have changed a lot,” he said. “The heat is very strong.”


Image: Chile, Laguna San Rafael National Park


© 2022 AFP

Quote: Melting glaciers, the rapidly disappearing gauge of climate change (February 23, 2022), https: //phys.org/news/2022-02-glaciers-fast-disappering-gauge-climate.html in 2022 Obtained February 23

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Melting glaciers, rapidly disappearing climate change gauges

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