Glaciers form in high altitude areas where the accumulation of snowfall surpasses the melting process which then results in a dense snow cover that crystallizes into ice over centuries even millenia. Polar glaciers can be found in the polar regions which account for about 99% of glacial ice on Earth. Non-polar glaciers occur in high mountain ranges in Asia, Iran, Americas, New Zealand, and Africa. Freshwater is produced by glacial melt caused by warm summer temperatures in lower altitude locations. This glacial freshwater is a crucial source for human use as well as animals and plants where other water sources are scarce.
The World's Longest Glaciers
Polar glaciers are found in the South Pole and the North Pole regions of the world. Non-polar glaciers are found in high altitude mountain ranges in Asia, the Americas, and non-polar regions. The longest non-polar glaciers in the world today are listed below in the order of length in miles. Top of the list is the Karakoram Mountains located in Tajikistan with a length of 48 miles. Its exact location is in the Pamir Mountains in the Gorno-Badakhshan province. It maximum thickness is 3,300 feet. The second longest non-polar glacier is Siachen Glacier with a length of 47 miles located on the Line of Control between India/Pakistan. It covers an area of 270 square miles. The third longest non-polar glacier is Biafo Glacier found in Pakistan's Karakoram Mountains with a length of 42 miles. The glacier's snow basin is about 0.99 miles in depth. The fourth longest non-polar glacier is the Bruggen Glacier found in southern part of Chile. It stretches across 41 miles and occupies an area of 488 square miles. It has advanced by about 3.1 miles from 1945 to 1976. The fifth longest non-polar glacier is Baltoro Glacier located in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. It has a length of 39 miles and is the source of the Shigar River that flows to the Indus River. The sixth longest non-polar glacier is the South Inylchek Glacier located in the Central Tian Shan Mountains of Issyk-Kul Region, northeastern Kyrgyzstan, and China. It has a length of 38 miles. It occupies an area of 7 square miles. The seventh longest non-polar glacier is the Batura Glacier located in the in the Gojal region of the Gilgit-Baltistan of Pakistan. It has a length of 35 miles.
Climate Change and Glaciers
Climate change and glaciers do not mix well. Since the discovery of the ongoing climate change, many scientists have detected that glaciers all over the world have reduced in size by melting due to global warming. Climate change has affected glaciers so abruptly that what took time-spans in geologic time to happen has now occurred in a mere human lifetime. Not only are glaciers in danger but the human population in low-lying cities are also at high risk of perishing due to floods and tsunami. Almost all landforms on earth are also affected by climate change.