Athabasca Glacier Aug2005

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    The Athabasca Glacier in Western Canada is melting faster than new snow is added. Its snout is receding about 15 metres each year. The glacier’s surface is also melting downwards - several metres each summer.

    Variations in climate cause glaciers to advance and retreat. The current warming trend has caused the Athabasca glacier to retreat about 1.5km in the last 100 years.

    Glaciers are good indicators of climate change because they average out short term meteorological variation.

    The flat rock surface in the foreground is marked by parallel scratches. These were made by rocks which were embedded in the base of the glacier ice as it flowed over this point.

    This picture was taken in 2005. The date marker shows where the snout of the glacer was in 1992. At this rate, this mid latitude valley glacier will be gone by the end of the current century.

    Shaun Carey and WWF Climate added this photo to their favorites.

    1. Kichadi 100 months ago | reply

      The glaciers in Alaska appear to be receding much faster - in the range of tens of miles in the last century

    2. hughrocks 97 months ago | reply

      Yes.... it's very concerning.

      (sorry I didn't answer before... just got back online)

    3. Chris&Steve 85 months ago | reply

      Would love you to consider posting your glacier photo(s) to our new group started to get a balanced view of glaciers around the world. The link is at:


    4. WWF Climate 72 months ago | reply

      Your image is an excellent representation of the impacts of climate change.

      I would like to invite you to add to the WWF Climate Witness group and tag as "climatewitness".


      Tell us the story behind the picture

    5. rockdoc2010 52 months ago | reply

      There was a recent study by B. Luckman, a University of Western Ontario who dated wood fragments found UNDER the Athabaska glacier at between 5000-8000 years old indicating a much warmer climate than that it is today.

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