SCIENCE
12/10/2015 09:05 pm ET Updated Dec 11, 2015

This Glacier's Vanishing Act Is Beautifully Heartbreaking

A time-lapse video shows eight years of retreat at Alaska's Mendenhall Glacier in just seconds.

The world's glaciers are shrinking at alarming rates. Zachariae Isstrom glacier, in northeast Greenland, for instance, is losing 5 billion tons per year.

In west Antartica, ice loss at the massive Pine Island glacier -- believed to be the single largest contributor to sea level rise in Antarctica -- has doubled in speed over the last 20 years.

And here's a five-second recap of what's happened at Alaska's Mendenhall Glacier in just eight years:

The below time-lapse video was created by Extreme Ice Survey, a Colorado-based, long-term photography project founded in 2007 by acclaimed photographer James Balog, whose work is showcased in the award-winning documentary "Chasing Ice."

Since installing a camera at Mendenhall in 2007, Extreme Ice Survey says the glacier has retreated more than 1,830 feet -- about one-third of a mile. Its abnormally fast retreat and deflation shows the effects of climate change in action, according to Extreme Ice Survey. 

"Once flowing proudly across Mendenhall Lake, the glacier now takes a small piece of lake front real-estate far from where our cameras were originally installed, and even further from the view of the thousands of visitors who travel to see the glacier each summer," reads a post on Balog's Earth Vision Institute

Mendenhall Glacier, located outside of Juneau, stretches for 12 miles and is home to some otherworldly ice caves.

Watch below for the time-lapse video of Mendenhall Glacier's retreat:

 

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