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See Inside Scientific American Volume 307, Issue 5

What Is It?

Fading frost

The world's ice is in retreat. This summer about 97 percent of Greenland's ice sheet melted, and the extent of Arctic sea ice reached an all-time low. In Central Asia's Pamir Mountains, the Fedchenko Glacier, seen in this false-color image, has shrunk 1,400 meters over the past 80 years. The loss of this glacier's snow and ice (cyan) may slow down, however. According to research in the September Nature Climate Change, precipitation patterns in the area have increased, which may help larger glaciers such as this one stick around a while longer. (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group.)


Credit: COURTESY OF JESSE ALLEN AND ROBERT SIMMON NASA Earth Observatory

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