This Glacier’s Vanishing Act Is Beautifully Heartbreaking

The world’s glaciers are shrinking at alarming rates. Zachariae Isstrom glacier, in northeast Greenland, for instance, is losing 5 billion tons per year.

In west Antartica, ice loss at the massive Pine Island glacier — believed to be the single largest contributor to sea level rise in Antarctica — has doubled in speed over the last 20 years.

And here’s a five-second recap of what’s happened at Alaska’s Mendenhall Glacier in just eight years:

The below time-lapse video was created by Extreme Ice Survey, a Colorado-based, long-term photography project founded in 2007 by acclaimed photographer James Balog, whose work is showcased in the award-winning documentary “Chasing Ice.”

Since installing a camera at Mendenhall in 2007, Extreme Ice Survey says the glacier has retreated more than 1,830 feet — about one-third of a mile. Its abnormally fast retreat and deflation shows the effects of climate change in action, according to Extreme Ice Survey.

“Once flowing proudly across Mendenhall Lake, the glacier now takes a small piece of lake front real-estate far from where our cameras were originally installed, and even further from the view of the thousands of visitors who travel to see the glacier each summer,” reads a post on Balog’s Earth Vision Institute.

Mendenhall Glacier, located outside of Juneau, stretches for 12 miles and is home to some otherworldly ice caves.

Watch below for the time-lapse video of Mendenhall Glacier’s retreat:

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