Glaciers Disappearing In National park

As recently as 100 years ago, Montana's Glacier National Park had more than 150 glaciers throughout its more than one million acres. In 2005 only 27 remained. Today the total is down to a just 25 and those that are left are mere leftovers of their former frozen selves.

With warmer temperatures and changes to the water cycle, scientists expect Glacier National Park will be glacier-free by 2030. Daniel Fagre, a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) ecologist who works at the national park believes that even those estimates are too conservative and says the park's namesakes will be left about ten years ahead of their predicted demise.

"The glaciers have been there for the last seven thousand years," he told, "and if we are going to lose them in the next 10 or 20 years that is an attractive radical shift."

The rapid melting of glaciers has led scientists to believe that mountains are more susceptible to global warming than the lowlands beneath them. Glacier National Park is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year but soon the glaciers that gave the park its name will be not here.

"Glacier National Park has been the poster child park for climate change for a lot of people in the country and I think that there has been pretty amazing news about the glaciers disappearing in fairly short order," says Chas Cartwright, Glacier National Park Superintendent.

"There is a lot less water coming off the mountain. There are theatrical changes in vegetation. It begs the question: how is that going to impact wildlife in this park?"

Many of the plant and animal species that call the park home need cold water, meaning the ecosystem of the park may change dramatically when the glaciers are gone.

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