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Pay no attention to the melting glacier behind the curtain
For over 18,000 years, the Chacaltaya Glacier perched high in the Bolivian Andes. Twenty years ago it started melting. Today it's gone.
Fri, May 08, 2009 at 07:11 PM
The ski lodge at Chacaltaya. (Photo: Wikipedia user Boricuaeddie)
The Chacaltaya Glacier
in Bolivia was once the world's highest ski resort, sitting over 17,000 feet above sea level. In the mid '80's the glacier started melting, with over 80 percent of its mass trickling down the mountain in water form between 1987 and 2007.
Scientists thought the glacier would hold out through 2015, but the rate of melting sped up over the past decade and it blinked out six years ahead of schedule. The Chacaltaya Glacier joins a sad club of other glaciers melting fast around the world including the Pine Island and Smith glaciers in Antarctica. There are a lot of politicians and water managers in places like the Himalayas who are losing sleep over the melting glaciers in their region, glaciers that provide a sizable chunk of the world with their drinking water.
You want to throw the world into chaos, take away its water.
You want to throw it into even more chaos, toss a few feet of sea level rise into the mix.
Both are consequences of melting glaciers, and both are probable scenarios for the future.
Sorry to get grim, sometimes it's hard to keep up the hope.
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