The retreat of the Columbia


“The retreat of the Columbia contributes to global sea-level rise, mostly through iceberg calving. This one glacier accounts for nearly half of the ice loss in the Chugach Mountains. However, the ice losses are not exclusively tied to increasing air and water temperatures. Climate change may have given the Columbia an initial nudge off of the moraine, but what has accelerated its disintegration has more to do with mechanical processes than warming temperatures. In fact, when the Columbia reaches the shoreline, its retreat will likely slow down. The more stable surface will cause the rate of calving to decline, making it possible for the glacier to start rebuilding a moraine and advancing once again.”

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