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Photographic Proof of Climate Change: Time-Lapse Images of Retreating Glaciers

Columbia Glacier - Before

Columbia Glacier in Alaska shown here in 2009.

Columbia Glacier in Alaska shown here in 2009. (Image credit: Geological Society of America/James Balog and the Extreme Ice Survey)

The Columbia Glacier, which is located on the southeastern coast of Alaska, is called a tidewater glacier, meaning it flows directly into the sea, according to NASA's Earth Observatory. In 1794, British explorers surveyed the glacier, showing its nose (called the terminus) jutted out to the northern edge of Heather Island, near the mouth of Columbia Bay, the Earth Observatory reported. "The glacier held that position until 1980, when it began a rapid retreat that continues today," said the Earth Observatory. This image shows the glacier in 2009.

Columbia Glacier - After

Between 2009 and 2015, the Columbia Glacier retreated by a whopping 4 miles (6.5 kilometers), the study researchers said.

Between 2009 and 2015, the Columbia Glacier retreated by a whopping 4 miles (6.5 kilometers), the study researchers said. (Image credit: Geological Society of America/James Balog and the Extreme Ice Survey)

Between 2009 and 2015, the Columbia Glacier retreated by a whopping 4 miles (6.5 kilometers), the study researchers said.

Jeanna Bryner
Jeanna Bryner

Jeanna is the editor-in-chief of Live Science. Previously, she was an assistant editor at Scholastic's Science World magazine. Jeanna has an English degree from Salisbury University, a master's degree in biogeochemistry and environmental sciences from the University of Maryland, and a graduate science journalism degree from New York University. She has worked as a biologist in Florida, where she monitored wetlands and did field surveys for endangered species. She also received an ocean sciences journalism fellowship from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.