Chile glacier in rapid retreat

2011-12-08 11:30
Santiago - The Jorge Montt glacier in southern Chile is melting at a rate of a kilometre per year, making it one of the world's most visible milestones of global warming, according to researchers.

Chile's Centre for Scientific Studies (CECs) said on Wednesday that several glaciers in the country's south have shrunk because of global warming but that the 454km² Jorge Montt is one of those shrinking the fastest.

The withering glacier is part of the 13 000km² Southern Ice Field, the third largest frozen landmass after Antarctica and Greenland.

During the 1990s, the glacier retreated some 7km, but its rate of melting has "accelerated", releasing an increasing number of icebergs into the fjord where the glacier lay, according to Andres Rivera, of the CECs.

The latest study of the glacier took place between February 2010 and January of this year, during which two stationary cameras timed to shoot four times a day took some 1 445 pictures of the glacier.

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