Insight Into: Glaciers

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Much of the world's population depends on the seasonal melting of glaciers for their freshwater supply, but now the glaciers are melting more rapidly.

Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with the NASA Earth Observatory.

All images, illustrations, and videos courtesy of NASA except:
·       Photo of Tasman Lake in New Zealand courtesy of Wikimedia user Avenue
·       Sea creature illustration copyright The National Library of Israel, Shapell Family Digitization Project _and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Department of Geography – Historic Cities Research Project
·       Athabasca Glacier photo courtesy of Lucy Albert
·       Snowflake photos by Wilson A. Bentley
·       Electron-microscope image of a snowflake from the Electron Microscopy Unit, _Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, U.S. Department of Agriculture
·       Photo of snow-covered field courtesy of Emmanuel Boutet
·       Photo of melt pools from the collection of Dr. Pablo Clemente-Colon, Chief Scientist, National Ice Center
·       Photo of snow crystals courtesy of Alex Bakharev
·       Photo of ice crystals courtesy of Petr Dlouhý
·       Photo of Mt. Kilimanjaro’s southern ice field courtesy of Wikimedia user Chris 73 / Wikipedia Commons
·       Larsen B Ice Shelf images courtesy of Ted Scambos, National Snow and Ice Data Center, _University of Colorado, Boulder, based on data from MODIS
·       Statue of Liberty illustration courtesy of
·       Photo of boat in front of Eqip Sermia Glacier courtesy of Michele Koppes, University of British Columbia
·       Bear Glacier IKONOS image courtesy of DigitalGlobe
Music courtesy of Associated Production Music
Written by Andrea Gianopoulos
Designed by Marc Lussier

An animated globe turns. Text, Almost 10 percent of Earth's land area is covered by glaciers.
Yellow highlights on a world map. Text, Glaciers are found on every continent and even near the equator, although most are at higher latitudes near Earth's poles.
A yellow arrow points to New Zealand.
A yellow arrow points to Mount Cook
Details of Mount Cook New Zealand. Tasman Glacier, Mueller Glacier. Text, Glaciers are reservoirs that hold 75% of the world's fresh water.
Much of the world's population depends on the seasonal melting of glaciers for their freshwater supply.
1993, Mount Kilimanjaro Tanzania. The glacial melt from Mt. Kilimanjaro helps rejuvenate freshwater springs and wells that sustain the people, animals, and plants in its shadow.
The volcano's ice cap formed some 11,000 years ago.
2009. Since the 1800s, more than 90% of Kilimanjaro's glacial ice has disappeared.
2017. Increasing temperatures, drier air, and deforestation of the volcanoes lower slopes likely caused the rapid decline.
The summit will soon be completely free of glacial ice.