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Rapid Retreat Of Chile Glacier Captured In Images

February 3, 2012 by staff 

Rapid Retreat Of Chile Glacier Captured In Images, Researchers in Chile released a series of time-lapse photos Wednesday showing the dramatic retreat of a glacier in Patagonia.
The Jorge Montt Glacier is shrinking faster than any other in Chile, with its snout retreating more than a half mile between February 2010 and January 2011, glaciologist Andres Rivera said.

Rivera said that global warming is a factor and that the glacier also is melting especially quickly because it partly rests in the waters of a deep fjord.

Researchers presented a video showing the glacier’s yearlong retreat through a total of 1,445 time-lapse photos. It’s one of various similar projects by researchers around the world documenting the loss of glaciers.

Rivera has studied dozens of glaciers as a researcher at the Center of Scientific Studies in Valdivia, Chile. He said he and his colleagues didn’t know how rapidly the glacier was shrinking until they put up two cameras with solar panels to charge the batteries and programmed them to shoot four frames a day.

“It was more or less clear that this was one of those retreating most quickly. But we didn’t expect in the year of working with these cameras that it would retreat a kilometer more. That was a surprise,” Rivera said in a telephone interview. “This glacier is filled with surprises for us.”

The glacier is about 1,100 miles south of Santiago in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, which blankets a wide swath of the Andes between Chile and Argentina.

“Patagonia has experienced climate changes at levels much more moderate than those observed in the rest of the world,” Rivera said at a news conference. “However, almost all the glaciers of the region have lost area, and Jorge Montt is the one that has the record retreat.”

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