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May 21 2013

World's Largest Tropical Glacier Shrinks

Earth is fast becoming a planet where tropical glaciers will be myths. Here are a couple of recently released satellite images from 1988 and 2010 showing the shrinkage of the world’s biggest tropical glacier, the Quelccaya Ice Cap in Peru.

High mountain tropical glaciers have long been the alarm bells of global warming, but this ice cap, with its many glacial arms, is especially important since its ice contains an archive of data about El Niño and La Niña episodes for the past 1,800 years. The receding glaciers have also exposed frozen plants that were locked beneath the glacier for thousands of years — giving clues to the age of the glacier advances through the last several millenniums.

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