Imagine going to a zoo with no animals or an aquarium with no fish. It kind of defeats the purpose and wouldn’t be much fun.
But due to rising temperatures that’s exactly what could happen in Glacier National Park in Montana. Researchers originally believed glaciers would disappear in the park by 2030, but newer research predicts the end of glaciers by 2020.
Over the past 100 years, glaciers in Glacier National Park have shrunk by 67%, marking the fastest recession of any glaciated region in the continental United States; National Geographic News reports.
The 1992 forecast of 2030 was based on data collected during the 1980s, but improved research techniques and further increases in temperature have revealed a revised date of 2020.
Non-polar ice is melting all over the world and receding glaciers can cause drought. As new land is uncovered, plants will overcrowd the area and dry up streams fed by glaciers, endangering the region’s plants and animals.
Scientists say local topography may balance out climate change. In Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park drifting snow from the mountains is keeping local glaciers alive, but it’s a geographical crapshoot.