Glacier retreat evidence of climate change in South America

This photograph, taken by astronauts aboard the ISS, shows the Upsala Glacier. Dark lines of rocky debris (moraine) within the ice give a sense of the slow ice flow from right to left. NASA

TORONTO – NASA has released an image taken aboard the International Space Station (ISS) that illustrates the effects of global warming on an ice field in South America.

The photograph, taken by astronauts aboard the ISS on Oct. 2, shows the retreat of the Upsala Glacier in the Patagonia Ice Field.

Dr. Eric Rignot of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. has been collecting data – which includes satellite readings as well as photographs from space – in an effort to monitor the state of glaciers in South America.

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Using data from October 2013 and comparing it with data from January 2001 and January 2004, Rignot and his team noted that the glacier has retreated by about three kilometres.

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According to Rignot, global warming not only causes the ice to retreat but also to thin, making it more likely to break apart.

Rignot’s study of an additional 63 glaciers indicate that the glacier melt is a general trend in the region.

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