The Patagonia glacier, which has lost half its length in 30 years, may be the fastest thinning glacier on the planet.
The glacier known as Hielo Patagónico Sur 12 (HPS-12) landed in the Andes Mountains in Chile. Researchers reporting in the journal Nature Geoscience in September found that HPS-12 lost thickness and retreated inside. According to their satellite data analysis, the glacier loses 98 feet (30 meters) of ice every year, on average between 2000 and 2008, near its extreme end. The fastest depletion occurs at a rate of 44 feet (44 m) per year, according to study co-author Etienne Bertier, a glaciologist at the University of Toulouse in France. The section recording this thinning has completely melted in 201
Related: Images of Melt: Earth's Fading Ice
"To our knowledge, it really is the fastest observed rate of loss for a glacier, "said Berthier at NASA's Earth Observatory .
The Earth Observatory released before and after photos of the photos yesterday (29 October) showing stunning ice loss. A satellite image – taken on January 27, 1985 with a Landsat 5 satellite instrument – shows the ice of a glacier washing down from a mountain at Patagonia Southern Airport. A comparison shot taken by the Operational Land Imager of Landsat 8 in January 2019 shows a completely different world: Glacier hunters are only part of its fjord, revealing a large stretch of bare rock.
The glaciers of Peru and Chile are known as "tropical glaciers", an apparent oxymoron, which means that glaciers sit in the middle of the Earth, not near the poles. Tropical glaciers are retreating rapidly. Studies published in 2013 found that glaciers in the Andes lost between 30% and 50% of their surface after the 1970s. These glaciers are vulnerable to warming both above (due to air temperature) and below (due to ocean temperatures at the end of the glacier or at the end of a glacier that is advancing or retreating.)
Seasonal ice melt provides water that supplies water. agriculture and industry, but as ice withdrawal accelerates, melting water can also kill, causing flooding and avalanches. As ice disappears completely, Andean water will become an increasingly scarce resource, according to Columbia Institute Because glaciers are incredibly remote, they are difficult to study except via satellite, which is why the status of HPS-12 as Earth's fastest thinning glacier comes with an asterisk: There may be other glaciers that disappear even faster without humans
"There's a lot more to learn about patterns of ice mass loss in remote areas," she said.
Ori published on Live Science .