We’ve lost 216 glaciers!

Sabine Baumann from the Technical University of Munich has just finished counting New Zealand’s glaciers and found that we are missing 216 of them. Sabine carefully counted every independent area of ice larger than 1 hectare, even those bits of ice hidden under rock.

In total 2918 glaciers were found, but in 1978 there had been 3134. It seems that 216 glaciers have melted away.

The total area of glacier has shrunk by 364 km2 , that is a about the size of Manakau Harbour.

Just 15 of the glaciers were in the North Island (all on Mt Ruapehu), three less than the 1978 count.

The new glacier inventory has been published in the Journal of Glaciology

The 1978 effort was undertaken by Trevor Chinn and was published in 2001 in the Journal of Hydrology (NZ).