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Glacier National Park's vanishing ice sheets

March 5, 2009 |  9:52 am

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If you're thinking of visiting Montana's Glacier National Park to view its rapidly disappearing glaciers, sooner is better than later.

Daniel Fagre, a U.S. Geological Survey ecologist, warns that glaciers may be melting at an even faster rate than originally predicted, according to National Geographic. Fagre has been conducting research in the national park since the early 1980s.

In 2003, USGS garnered headlines by projecting a disappearance date of 2030 for the Montana glaciers.  That was based on studies using 1992 temperature predictions from the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Fagre's current research reveals that temperatures in Glacier National Park have risen higher than was predicted in 1992.  The Montana glaciers are now expected to be gone by 2020. And that will dramatically impact the park's rare and sensitive plants and animals.

Montana glaciers aren't the only ones disappearing : Glaciers in the Andes and Himalayas are vanishing at astonishing rates.

--Stephanie Chang

Photo: A hiker rests at the edge of the Grinnell Glacier at Glacier National Park in Montana. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

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