Dramatic glacier melt in New Zealand: A new study has found that the Pacific nation’s ice giants are shrinking as the snow line rises due to the effects of climate change. This was announced by the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa).

“In recent years we have seen this increase accelerate, so we are seeing a sustained trend of glacier ice loss,” said Niwa program manager Andrew Lorrey. New Zealand’s breathtaking landscape is about to change fundamentally.

Since the 1970s, experts from the institute have been flying over the country’s mountain ranges at the end of summer to measure the snow line and check the condition of the glaciers. “We flew to the southernmost glaciers that we haven’t visited since 2018,” Lorrey said. Even back then, they were “incredibly small and practically dead.” Now the situation has gotten even worse. One of the glaciers is only two-thirds the size of the last time it was seen. The glaciers appeared “shattered and destroyed.”

2023 second warmest year ever

Over the past decade, New Zealand has experienced seven of the 10 warmest years on record, it said. 2023 was the second warmest year ever. “Even if there were a few cooler years, they wouldn’t be enough to undo the damage that has already been done,” Lorrey explained.

Glaciers are an important part of New Zealand’s environment, economy and culture. They are also an important source of meltwater that supplies lakes, rivers and oceans with nutrients. “New Zealand is one of the few places in the mid-latitudes where people live close to glaciers and they can be easily seen and visited,” Lorrey said. In the meantime, tourism companies would have to penetrate further and further into the mountains in order to even reach them. The scientist stressed that he fears that the next generation will no longer experience New Zealand’s glaciers.