The six glaciers studied for this article experienced statistically significant reductions in their mass over the length of the data series. The major difference between the two regional groups of glaciers was the rate of mass loss, with the glaciers in the Western Cordillera losing mass at a faster rate than those in the High Arctic. These findings are consistent with international research, which shows that worldwide and rapid glacier shrinkage has been taking place over the past century.
Practically speaking, this will have several consequences for the regions effected:
Over the short term, a warming climate causes streamflow increases due to increased melting. This may temporarily enhance power generation and freshwater supplies. In addition, a sustained intense warming may result in meltwater outbursts, rapid ice advances on to land or out to sea that can be dangerous and destructive. Over the long-term, high rates of melting and prolonged “mass wastage” will eventually exhaust the glacier resource and result in far-reaching consequences for communities that rely upon glacier meltwater for freshwater in the summer months. Interestingly, water management in Canada evolved during a period of relatively stable climate and a perception in some regions of abundant water. This was at least partly influenced by the once vast and iconic glaciers of the Canadian Rocky Mountains
There's not a lot of public here discussion about what it means for Alberta when the major river systems fed by glaciers and snow melt in the Rockies dry up.
Quite right. Threw in a paragraph on that topic.
thanks for posting - I am going to add to one of our other blogs (The Glacier Painter). I just wish people would make graphs that give you an accurate idea of what they are illustrating. Like on one of those graphs we see that two of the B.C. glaciers are at -40,000 millimeters of water or whatever. But we have no idea what percentage of the overall glacier that number represents. Anyway, still a nice link.
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