North American Cordillera

Together with the Andes, glaciers in the mountains of the western United States and Canada – the North American cordillera – show perhaps the most rapid rates of disappearance anywhere.  Glacier National Park in the U.S. for example has become notorious for the disappearance of the very glaciers that gave the park its name – the last of which will almost certainly disappear by 2030.  In Western Canada, inventories by the University of Northern British Columbia show that indicates that ice cover has decreased between 11-25%, with rates of decrease from 2000-2005 double those of 1985-2000.

Even the median IPCC projections from the 2007 Fourth Assessment see the disappearance of all North American glaciers outside the Arctic by 2100, and this finding was confirmed in the Fifth Assessment summary released in September 2013.  With observed and projected increased drought conditions in the southwestern U.S., this loss of snow and ice runoff will further exacerbate water shortages in the region.