Glaciers set to shrink under climate change

By Sophie Barclay

The Franz Josef Glacier, taken from the same spot in 2008, left, and 2012.  Photo / Greymouth Star
The Franz Josef Glacier, taken from the same spot in 2008, left, and 2012. Photo / Greymouth Star

Climate change: A study from the Antarctic Research Centre at Victoria University has shown that some of our best-loved glaciers are retreating as a result of climate change.

According to the research, the Franz Josef Glacier shrunk by three kilometers last century and could wind up seven or eight times shorter than its current length by 2100.

Dr. Brian Anderson, a senior research fellow at the Antarctic Research Centre, said that climate change and the warmer, wetter weather associated with it would see both the Franz Josef and Fox glaciers retreating.

The research revealed an erratic pattern of glacial retreat and advancement, which left scientists puzzled, however when the data was analysed it exposed a definite pattern of long-term retreat.

The overall volumes of ice in these glaciers are set to decrease by 60 per cent by the end of this century.

Since last year, guided walks to the Franz Joseph glacier have stopped. Glacier aficionados must now be flown by helicopter to reach the ice.

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