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As much as seventy percent of the glaciers in western Canada could be gone by 2100, according to a startling new study published in Nature Geoscience Monday.

Seventy percent of western Canada's glaciers could be gone by 2100


Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Monday, April 6, 2015, 4:18 PM - As much as seventy percent of the glaciers in western Canada could be gone by 2100, according to a startling new study published in Nature Geoscience Monday.

The glaciers are a huge tourist draw in Alberta and British Columbia.

They also contribute to the water supply and agriculture while providing cool water to local ecosystems during the summer.

But Garry Clark, study author and glaciologist at the University of British Columbia (UBC), tells Toronto Star the Canadian landscape "isn't going to look the same" by the end of the century.

“We are going to be in less interesting mountain landscape. In that sense, it is a sad loss,” he adds.

“The fact that these glaciers are signalling these changes is a much bigger story, and the real one.” 


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Currently, there are more than 17,000 glaciers in Alberta and B.C. -- and according to Clarke, they "act as a thermostat" for what's going on in the environment.

“Once the glaciers are gone, the streams will be a lot warmer and this will hugely change fresh water habitat. We could see some unpleasant surprises in terms of salmon productivity,” he says in a statement.

While warming temperatures appear to be threatening all of western Canada's glaciers, they aren't melting at the same rate.

The Rocky Mountains, for example, could lose up to 90 percent of its glaciers while wetter coastal areas only stand to lose about half of their glaciers.

Researchers used observational data, computer models and simulations to draw their conclusions.

Sources: The Toronto Star | UBC

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