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Snow covers mountains at Glacier National Park in Montana on Tuesday, May 11, 2010. The million-acre park celebrates it's 100 year anniversary Tuesday. But many of its glaciers have melted, and scientists predict the rest may not last another decade. The forests are drier and disease-ridden, leading to bigger wildfires. Climate change is forcing animals that feed off plants to adapt. (AP Photo/Mike Albans)

Montana's signature glaciers in Glacier National Park could be gone within our lifetime


Montana's signature Glacier National Park may soon lose what makes it so uniquely beautiful: its glaciers. According to data released by the U.S. Geological Survey on Wednesday, 37 of the park's glaciers have shrunk an average of about 40 percent since 1966, USA Today reported.

David Fagre, a research ecologist with the USGS's Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center, shares even more foreboding news. The glaciers could be gone within our lifetime. 


Here's how the perimeter of Chaney Glacier has shrunken over the years. 

"Their fate is sealed," predicted Farage, who has studied the glaciers since 1991.

He added that, the only way the glaciers could survive, is if they experience "significant cooling."

Melting glaciers could have an impact on wildlife and the ecosystem, he continued.  

"The park-wide loss of ice can have ecological effects on aquatic species by changing stream water volume, water temperature and run-off timing in the higher elevations of the park," he said.

As for the cause of the disappearing glaciers, Farage cited climate change, adding that glaciers are steady barometers of long-term Earth changes and don't immediately react to annual weather patterns.

"You know there's a long-term trend when the glaciers are all simultaneously melting or growing," he said.

Montana's signature glaciers in Glacier National Park could be gone within our lifetime

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