The glaciers of the Canadian Rockies are a major attraction for nature lovers from around the world. But scientists are warning that the picturesque setting is in great danger of disappearing.
A study from the University of British Columbia (UBC), which was published in the journal Nature Geoscience, found that the formations are expected to melt away within a century. The researchers predicted that the Western Canadian glaciers will reduce in area by 75 percent and shrink in volume by 70 percent by 2100, compared to measurements taken in 2005. Some portions of the glacial formation are expected to see as much as a 90-percent loss in volume in that time frame.
As the researchers explained, the glacial melting will have a detrimental effect on the outlying forestry, water quality and Western Canada's agricultural industry. The loss will also take a toll on tourism and may lead to unpleasant weather conditions in the area, as Dr. Garry Clarke, lead researcher on the study and a professor at UBC, explained to Agence France-Presse (AFP).
"The disappearance of [the] glaciers … will be a sad loss for those who are touched by the beauty of Canada's mountain landscapes," Clarke told AFP. "When the glaciers have gone, we lose the important services they provide: a buffer against hot, dry spells in late summer that keeps headwater streams flowing and cool, and sustains cool-water aquatic species."
While there's no avoiding the loss of some of the glaciers of Alberta and British Columbia, it's not too late to mitigate the effects of climate change and reduce the melting of these formations. However, those who've never journeyed to the Canadian Rockies may want to plan their trips to these alpine glaciers before it's too late.