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Melting 2.5 million Years Old US glaciers

For its spectacular snow and ice-covered views, the Olympic Peninsula in Washington is one of the most well-known places in the country. The Olympic Peninsula’s glaciers began to form 2.5 million years ago, but they might vanish in less than 50 years.

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The American Geophysical Union (AGU) has issued a grim warning that glaciers atop Olympic National Park are in peril. The glaciers would have “mostly vanished” by 2070, according to a new study released this month by the American Geophysical Union.

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Experts argue that the loss of the glaciers would have more consequences than merely an aesthetic shift, as it will affect the environment in the region and reduce a key water source for those who live there.Nearly the whole Olympic Mountain Range is contained inside Olympic National Park, which spans a wide elevation range from sea level to around 8,000 feet. The park receives triple-digit inches of precipitation each year, the majority of which falls as snow.

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During the 2021-22 winter season, Buckinghorse, Washington, which is located in the center area of Olympic National Park and stands at an elevation of 4,870 feet, had approximately 137 inches of precipitation. Since 2009-10, Buckinghorse has received at least 100 inches of precipitation every full season.

Melting 2.5 million Years Old US glaciers
Melting 2.5 million Years Old US glaciers

The Olympic Mountains have moderate winters due to their closeness to the Pacific Ocean, but air temperatures that are near to freezing. The surface temperature of the Pacific Ocean has a significant impact on air temperatures in local areas and glaciers.The Olympic Mountains are located on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula and are the Pacific Northwest’s westernmost alpine terrain. The mountains are the first to intercept moisture-laden storms coming from the Pacific Ocean due to their location.

According to the researchers, warmer winters cause precipitation to fall as rain rather than snow, preventing glaciers from rehydrating.The park has about 200 glaciers, which is a smaller number than in previous decades. When compared to a current 2015 inventory, an inventory from 1980 chronicled the park’s first recognized glaciers and indicated dire outcomes. While no glaciers vanished between 1980 and 1990, 35 glaciers vanished in the 25 years following 1990. In comparison to 1980, the glacier area has shrunk by 45 percent.

Melting 2.5 million Years Old US glaciers
Melting 2.5 million Years Old US glaciers

According to Andrew Fountain, a professor of geology and geography at Portland State University who led the study, this trend is predicted to continue.

Since 1990, 134 glaciers have declined below the minimal criteria for glacier inclusion, according to the complete inventory (0.01 square kilometers)


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