Geog­ra­phy

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - WEATHER DESK -

Glaciers ex­ist on ev­ery con­ti­nent ex­cept Aus­tralia (al­though there are many in New Zealand). They are most com­monly found above the snow line, which is the min­i­mum el­e­va­tion of snow ly­ing on the ground. This line, how­ever, oc­curs at dif­fer­ent al­ti­tudes de­pend­ing on the lo­ca­tion. In Wash­ing­ton state, the snow line is 5,500 feet, while in Africa it is over 16,732 feet. In Antarc­tica, it is at sea level. Be­cause glaciers are de­pen­dent on snow, some cold re­gions where there is not enough snow­fall, like Siberia, have al­most no glacia­tion. In re­gions where there is high snow­fall in win­ter and cool tem­per­a­tures in sum­mer, like moun­tain­ous ar­eas or the po­lar re­gions, glaciers are abun­dant. In these ar­eas, more snow can ac­cu­mu­late on the glacier in the win­ter than will melt from it in the sum­mer.

In the United States, glaciers cover 30,000 square miles. Most U.S. glaciers are lo­cated in Alaska. Oth­ers can be found in Wash­ing­ton, Ore­gon, Cal­i­for­nia, Mon­tana, Wy­oming, Colorado and Ne­vada. North Amer­ica’s long­est glacier is the Ber­ing Glacier in Alaska, mea­sur­ing 118 miles long.

The largest glacier in the world is the Lam­bert-Fisher Glacier in Antarc­tica. It is 250 miles long and up to 60 miles wide.

NASA

Sea ice

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