Video: America's Disappearing Glaciers

Climbing temperatures spell doom for America's remaining continental glaciers and set records worldwide.


As temperatures rise, the namesake landscape of one of American's most visited national parks is disappearing. Montana's Glacier National Park, once home to 150 glaciers, now contains just 25, and those could be gone in 20 years or less, according to CBS News.

The park is home to some of the few remaining glaciers in the continental United States, which are melting much faster than scientists predicted.

Since its founding in 1910, the average temperature at the park has risen 2 degrees. That seemingly small difference has led to a decrease in snow pack, an earlier spring, and the disapperance of the massive, slow-moving ice packs that carved the landscape that more than 2 million go to see annually. As the glaciers disappear, so might the visitors, which fuel the park's $1 billion tourism industry.

Glacier National Park is not the only area showing the effects of rising temperatures. Melting ice has been observed all across the world, including in the Northern Hemisphere's largest ice sheet in Greenland. There, at Greenland's highest and coldest point, satellites detected an unprecedented burst of melting this summer.

According to to NASA scientists, the ice melt area there went from about 40 percent of the land mass to 97 percent in just four days. Nearby in the Arctic Ocean, the ice cover has also shrunk at a record pace due to higher temperatures, with scientists predicting this year to break the record minimum amount of ice by the end of the summer.

Even in more temperate climates, the heat was record-breaking. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, July was the hottest month ever recorded in the continental U.S., and the fourth-highest worldwide.

Seth Cline is a reporter with U.S. News and World Report. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter.