February 4, 2009

Glacier Flourishes Despite Global Warming

Climate change seems to have no effect on Argentina's huge Perito Moreno glacier, which is flourishing despite the global warming that is melting others around it.

Though the majority of the world's glaciers are thawing away from the warmer temperatures, scientists announced that the Perito Moreno ice field, called "The White Giant," is growing 10 feet daily from deep snowfalls in the Patagonia area.

"Glaciers don't respond solely to temperature changes," Martin Stuefer, a Patagonian expert at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, told Reuters.

Stuefer said that the area's precipitation is greater than before, and along with the world's climatic alterations, are working together to strengthen the glacier.

"Climate change is not the same everywhere," Stuefer noted.

The Perito Moreno is one of South America's biggest and certainly the most famous due to its accessibility to tourists even though it is 1,900 miles southwest of Buenos Aires.

Visitors pile into boats to see the 18 mile-long glacier chunk blocks of ice into Lake Argentino.

In contrast, scientists state that 90 percent of the glaciers in Antarctica and Patagonia are melting fast. This is happening also in the Arctic, Andes, Alps, Himalayas and other places from the climate change connected to human activity.

The normal melting rate of the world's glaciers has increased twofold since 2000, the U.N. Environment Program and the World Glacier Monitoring Service announced.

Melting glaciers can cause increasing sea levels and desiccate sources of fresh water depended on for farming, drinking and hydropower uses.

Glaciers are also moved by factors like snowfalls, winds, altitude and shade, and the Perito Moreno is one of few defying the trend.

"A small percentage seems to be doing strange things," said David Vaughan, a British Antarctic Survey glaciologist and member of the United Nations climate panel. "The odd 13 percent are either stable or advancing a little."

190 governments have decided to develop in 2009 a U.N. treaty to reduce and limit fossil fuel emissions and global warming, worrying that increasing seas may flood low-lying islands and coastal cities like Amsterdam and Sydney.


Image Caption: Large piece of ice collapses as the glacier advances. Courtesy Wikipedia


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