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Glaciers are considered a key and an iconic indicator of climate change. The World Glacier Monitoring Service has noted that global alpine balance has been negative for 35 consecutive years. This highlights the dire future that alpine glaciers face.
The goal of Recent Climate Change Impacts on Mountain Glaciers is to tell the story, glacier by glacier, of response to climate change from 1984-2015. Of the 165 glaciers examined in 10 different alpine regions, 162 have retreated significantly. It is evident that the changes are significant, not happening at a "glacial" pace, and are profoundly affecting alpine regions. There is a consistent result that reverberates from mountain range to mountain range, which emphasizes that although regional glacier and climate feedbacks differ, global changes are driving the response. Recent Climate Change Impacts on Mountain Glaciers considers ten different glaciated regions around the individual glaciers, and offers a different tune to the same chorus of glacier volume loss in the face of climate change.
1 Alpine Glaciers: An Introduction 1
2 Glacier Mass Balance 10
3 Juneau Icefield 16
4 Northern Patagonia Icefield region 38
5 South Georgia, Kerguelen, and Heard Islands 61
6 Svalbard: Hornsund Fjord region 80
7 NovayaZemlya 89
8 North Cascade Range, Washington USA 101
9 Interior Ranges, British Columbia/Alberta 129
10 Himalaya 152
11 New Zealand 171
12 Alps: Mont Blanc–Matterhorn Transect 187
13 Alpine Glacier Change Summary 211
Mauri Pelto is Professor of Environmental Science at Nichols College in Massachusetts, USA. He is founder and director of the North Cascade Glacier Climate Project since 1984. This project monitors the mass balance and behavior of more glaciers than any other in North America. Mauri has spent the last 35 summers working in the field on glaciers in Alaska and Washington with the Juneau Icefield Research Program and the North Cascade Glacier Climate Project. He is the United States representative to the World Glacier Monitoring Service, which collects all mass balance and terminus change data for glaciers. He also blogs for the American Geophysical Union, "From a Glaciers Perspective".