Mountain glacier melting is linked to shifting westerlies and likely to accelerate

A study found that a combination of global atmospheric warming and westerly winds shifting toward the poles will likely speed up the recession of mountain glaciers in both hemispheres. The study compared global temperature and wind changes with glacier snowline elevations in the Southern Alps of New Zealand and in the European Alps observed over the course of nearly four decades. The results show that under global warming, the poleward contraction of the westerly winds belts may accelerate warming and glacier melting. The results highlight the sensitivity of Earth’s mountain glaciers to broad-scale atmospheric dynamics.

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