Climate Change Made a Massive Canadian River Vanish In Four Days

By: | May 2nd, 2017

Image courtesy University of Washington-Tacoma

Global warming doesn’t just mean the earth’s getting warmer. The latest findings reveal how climate change is impacting the geographical distribution of the world.

A vast river flowing from one of Canada’s largest glaciers vanished in just days.

Normally it takes thousands of years for such processes to occur, but in this case, the Slims River disappeared in only four days.

Although it sounds unbelievable, this happened due to the glacier’s meltdown propelled by climate change.

Canada’s Slims River was fed by the massive Kaskawulsh Glacier. Last summer, between May 26 to 29, the glacier began melting because of a massive heat wave, and the flow of meltwater cut a new channel in the ice, rerouting the flow southwards. Now, the river heads to the Gulf of Alaska which is thousands of miles opposite of the Slims River.

John Clague from Canada’s Simon Fraser University said, “The event is a bit idiosyncratic, given the peculiar geographic situation in which it happened. But in a broader sense it highlights the huge changes that glaciers are undergoing around the world due to climate change.”

As per geoscientist Dan Shugar from the University of Washington Tacoma, “So far, a lot of the scientific work surrounding glaciers and climate change has been focused on sea-level rise. Our study shows there may be other under-appreciated, unanticipated effects of glacial retreat.”

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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