Melting Glaciers

Caption: Mount Kilimanjaro's ice pack as photographed by USGS and NASA's LandSat satellite in February 2000. Researchers say the mountain's ice has been reduced by 80% in the last century.

The evidence is growing. Glaciers are melting faster than they have for centuries. They are getting smaller, and in most cases, the melted ice is mixing with sea water.

Global warming appears to be the most likely cause. As Science Daily reported, "It's widely documented that climate change is causing the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to shrink."

For years, there was a controversy about whether glaciers were really melting more quickly than they had in the past. Some people said that the glaciers were receding, and they pointed to global warming as the probable cause. Other people said that it was not a problem because glaciers advance and recede occasionally as part of the cycle of nature.

In the past few years, teams of scientists have put the latest knowledge and the latest technology to work to determine just what is going on with the Earth's glaciers. Scientists from twenty-three countries are working together to monitor nearly all of the one hundred sixty thousand glaciers around the world.

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