Antarctic glaciers rapidly melting
Wanna travel to Antarctica, but worried about all that ice? Worry no more. On the Antarctic Peninsula, a 1,200-mile-long mountain chain 600 miles south of Argentina, about 212 of the 244 glaciers are retreating, fast. Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and the British Antarctic Survey studied photos and satellite data from the 1940s to 2001, concluding in the journal Science that, as temps have risen more than 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit on the peninsula since the 1950s, the glaciers that wrap the mountains there have been retreating at an average rate of about 164 feet a year. “Fifty years ago most glaciers were slowly growing in length,” said BAS’s Alison Cook, “but the pattern is now reversed and they’re shrinking.” So now the research team is worried about another problem if the glacial retreat continues apace: If bare rock is uncovered, it could attract invasive species to the continent. Happy Earth Day!