Evidence of Recent Change
Part A: Melting Glaciers
Visit the world's high mountain ranges and you'll see less ice and snow today than you would have a few decades ago. More than 110 glaciers have disappeared from Montana's Glacier National Park over the past 150 years, and researchers estimate that the park's remaining 37 glaciers may be gone in another 25 years. Half a world away on the African equator, Hemingway's snows of Kilimanjaro are steadily melting and could completely disappear in the next 20 years. And in the Alps, glaciers are shrinking (and disappearing) every year, much to the dismay of mountain climbers, tourist agencies, and environmental researchers.
Comparing photographs taken several years apart is a great way to spot signs of change. Glacier photo pairings demonstrate that glacier positions can change dramatically, even over a relatively short period of time (geologically speaking).
- Launch the Documenting Glacial Change interactive, which will open in a new window. Click Begin. Look at each pair of images and observe the different landform features. What changes do you see?
Stop and Think1: Describe some of the changes that occur when a glacier shrinks. Consider the impacts on both the land and on living things.
Gangotri Glacier is one of the largest in the Himalayas, and is the source of the Ganges Riverthe most sacred river in Hindu culture and a lifeline for millions of people who rely on it for their daily needs. The fertile soil of the Ganges basin is vital to the agricultural economies of India and Bangladesh.
- Download the image below of the Gangotri Glacier:
- Right-click on the image (Mac users press ctrl-click).
- Choose the appropriate "Save As" choice from the menu.
- Save the file in an obvious place such as your Desktop or Downloads folder.
- If you already have ImageJ on your computer, move on to the next step. If your computer does not have ImageJ, you will need to install it now.