Glacier loss and the consequences for streamflow and sea levels

On an afternoon when I was working through some edits on a manuscript detailing the role of glacier melt water in sustaining agricultural water supplies in the Hood River valley of Oregon, it was more than appropriate that my good friend Chris Rowan should send me the link this beautiful and scary TED talk on photographic evidence of rapid ice loss from glaciers around the world..

How much are those retreating glaciers going to add to global sea levels under projected warming scenarios? By one recent estimate, up to 2 m by the end of the century, though more realistically 0.8 m in that time frame. Not such good news for those like to vacation on the Outer Banks or enjoy the majestic beauty of glaciers capping Oregon’s volcanoes.

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