14 photos of glaciers that reveal Patagonia's disappearing beauty

Patagonia GlacierMario Tama/ GettyThe Perito Moreno glacier

World leaders are meeting in Paris to hammer out a comprehensive climate deal.

The stakes couldn’t be higher: Nine of the ten warmest years on record have occurred since 2000, according to NASA.

This issue is especially pressing in Patagonia, the sparsely-populated and mountainous region straddling Argentina and Chile.

Glaciers — the lifeblood of Patagonia (and a major source of fresh water for the rest of the world) — are melting rapidly throughout the region, and the rate at which they are disappearing is only set to increase.

A 2012 study from the University of London surveyed 626 Patagonian glaciers using historical and satellite data. The authors found that 90.2% of them had receded since 1870, the first year data was available. Even more alarming, the pace at which the glaciers are shrinking is accelerating. The observed glaciers shrank twice as rapidly from 2001 to 2011, than from 1870 to 1986, according to the study’s authors.

Mario Tama, a photographer from Getty, spent a week at the end of November observing glaciers in Argentina’s famous Los Glaciares National Park. The images are striking and show just how much we stand to lose.

h/t The International Business Times

Patagonia's glaciers are melting rapidly. This ice melted from the Perito Moreno glacier (background).

Ice calves from the Perito Moreno glacier into Lago Argentino

The Perito Moreno glacier is a major tourist attraction in Argentina

The Perito Moreno glacier, melting in Lago Argentina

Meltwater from the Heim Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park

While the Perito Moreno glacier looks immense, it's lost a ton of area in the last ten years.

Recently melted glacial ice floats in Los Glaciares National Park

People hike on Perito Moreno glacier, one of Argentina's most popular tourist attractions

People hike on Perito Moreno glacier

The Perito Moreno glacier. The ice walls average 240 feet above the surface of the lake.

Up close and personal with 240 foot walls of ice on Lago Argentino

The Perito Moreno glacier is a slow-flowing river of ice.

Glacial melt in Lago Argentino

The Perito Moreno glacier. The melting ice takes on a grayish tinge from the sediments around the glacier.

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