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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 21:24 EDT

Climate Change Could Destroy Glacier National Park

April 8, 2010

Glacier National Park could lose its namesake ice formations by the end of the decade, an ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) told reporters on Wednesday.

In an interview with Matthew Brown of the Associated Press (AP), Dan Fagre noted that the Montana portion has lost two glaciers thanks to global climate change. This brings the number of named glaciers at the park to 25, and due to the increased temperatures in the area, he says, “When we’re measuring glacier margins, by the time we go home the glacier is already smaller than what we’ve measured.”

Fagre’s comments came on the same day that a new report from the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization (RMCO) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) confirms that the average temperature at Glacier National Park increased at a rate twice that as the planet as a whole.

“Human disruption of the climate is the greatest threat ever to our national parks,” Stephen Saunders, president of the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization and lead author of the study, said in an April 7 press release.

“If we don’t reduce heat-trapping pollutants and protect the resources of Glacier National Park, it will suffer from human-caused climate change. If we let climate change and its impacts get to an unacceptable point, the economy of Montana will suffer, too,” he added.

The study found that the average temperature from 2000 through 2009 was two degrees Fahrenheit warmer than it was from 1950 through 1979, while the worldwide temperature average increased by just one degree Fahrenheit between those same time periods.

It was the hottest decade ever recorded at Glacier National Park, according to the press release, and could negatively impact the various wildlife that currently call the Montana locale home.

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