Glacial Waterfalls

In this jaw-dropping photograph we see glacial waterfalls cascading into the sea. The photo was taken on or near Spitsbergen, the largest and only permanently populated island of the Svalbard archipelago in Norway. Svalbard represents the northernmost part of Norway, located about midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole.

On Earth, 99% of glacial ice is contained within vast ice sheets in the polar regions. Glacial ice is the largest reservoir of freshwater on Earth, supporting one-third of the world’s population. Many glaciers store water during one season and release it later as meltwater, a water source that is especially important for plants, animals and human uses when other sources may be scant. 

Because glacial mass is affected by long-term climate changes, e.g., precipitation, mean temperature, and cloud cover, glacial mass changes are considered among the most sensitive indicators of climate change and are a major source of variations in sea level.

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