North America is losing glaciers the region has had for thousands of years. Researchers have found the rate of ice loss is four times faster in the past decade. The findings are published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
From 2000 to 2009, researchers found western North America lost an average of 2.9 gigatons of ice per year. From 2009 to 2018, the area was losing 12.3 gigatons. An international team of researchers found glaciers in the United States and Canada have lost elevation, which means they are losing ice faster than they can be replenished.
The researchers monitored the elevation of glaciers in California to the Yukon with satellite imagery. They found that from 2000 to 2018, glaciers located in western North America lost 117 gigatons of ice.
The scientists are not the only ones who have noticed the rapid melting of ice in the glaciers of North America. Almost anyone who visits frequently notices the receding glaciers.