The Glaciers at This National Park May Still Be There — but the Threat of Climate Change Looms (Video)

More than 10 years ago, Glacier National Park put up signs warning that its stunning icy glaciers would be gone by 2020. The year has begun and the glaciers are still there, but the threat of climate change remains a dire one.

That’s why the Montana park is now replacing those signs.

“When they will completely disappear depends on how and when we act. One thing is consistent: the glaciers in the park are shrinking,” the new signs read, according to CNN.

Glacier National Park Glacier comparison
A park visitor, imaged in the same location as the 1920 photo, overlooks the changes to Grinnell glacier over the past 90 years. Courtesy National Park Service

The initial signs were first put up more than 10 years ago based on forecasts by the U.S. Geological Survey, park spokeswoman Gina Kurzmen told CNN. Three years ago, the park was told the forecast had shifted, but the network reported there was no budget to change the already-installed signs.

So far, placards have been updated at the park’s St. Mary Visitor Center, while Kurzmen said the park is waiting for budget authorization to update the others.

Dan Fagre, the lead scientist on a 2017 study released by USGS and Portland State University, has said some of the Montana glaciers lost 85 percent of their size, with an average shrinkage of 39 percent.

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"In several decades, they will be mostly gone,” he said, according to CNN. “They will grow so small that they will disappear. They will certainly be gone before the end of the century."

Glacier National Park is not the only place experiencing shrinking ice and drastic changes. A study published last year found that the oldest and thickest ice in the Arctic was melting twice as fast as other ice in the Arctic Ocean.

Melting ice has also uncovered things that haven’t been seen for thousands of years. In January 2019, melting glaciers in the Canadian Arctic revealed plants that had been hidden for at least 40,000 years, and in October, the Russian navy discovered five new islands due to glacial melting.

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