How NASA measures the death of a glacier from space

November 23, 2015

My photos from last summer capture a beauty that is disappearing faster and faster each year. But the images don’t do the experience justice. Standing on frozen ground, tasting air heavy with huckleberries, I had to perch on a lofty boulder in order to focus the whole ice mass in my smartphone screen. Only 25 glaciers remain inside Glacier National Park — down from 150 in the mid-19th century — and scientists estimate that these peaceful giants that sculpt the homes of grizzly bears and wildflowers will be gone by 2050.

It’s long been known that much of the Earth’s ice is melting. But we don’t know how fast that melt is occurring, or how soon the corresponding sea level rise could mean coastal cities and crops will be under the water. We need data to establish an effective plan against climate change, said Dan Fagre, an ecologist at the Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center of the US Geological Survey.

For more of this story, visit: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/nasa-icesat2-glacier-death/

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