Yes, Alaska’s glaciers are receding (melting) at a faster rate (almost double) in the past five years.
In a study appearing in the journal Science, (July 2002) University of Alaska researchers said a survey of 67 major glaciers using an airborne laser system found that the rate of melting has hastened over the past five years.
“From the mid-1950s to the mid-1990s, the glaciers lost about 13 cubic miles a year,” said Anthony A. Arendt, first author of the study. “In the last five years, that rate has almost doubled.”
Changes in Alaska are not only apparent in the melting of ice and glaciers, but also the melting of permafrost, which is soil that has been previously frozen for thousands of years. Melting permafrost has the potential to release large amounts of trapped methane and carbon dioxide and also poses a threat to infrastructure such as oil pipelines. It will change the land structure, habitat and erosion rates in Alaska.
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