Glaciers in Alaska melting

(CBS) -- Dozens of helicopters make this trip every day, bringing tourists to glaciers in Alaska.

MGN Online

Trekkers navigate around crevices and streams...and even drink from them.

Scientists say these days, there are more areas with water flow because glaciers all over the state are melting at a decidedly un-glacial rate…beginning several decades ago.

Shad O'Neel is a glaciologist at the Alaska Science Center.

"Conclusively the data shows the climate is warming in Alaska," he says.

The National Park Service says there are 100,000 glaciers here in Alaska, and that 95% of them are getting smaller or have stopped advancing.

Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska was established in part to study the cycles of glaciers. The park's showpiece glacier, Margerie, had a noticeable loss of ice in just the past year.

The changing landscape is even more obvious when you compare Columbia glacier on the state's south coast.

"The reason that we've been losing so much glacier ice is in part due to warmer summers. It's also due in part to a shorter winter," O'Neel says.

For those experiencing a glacier for the first time, like Julie and Robert Broaddus from Tulsa…the changes are concerning.

"It makes me think about my brand new grandbabies, who are twins, three months old. Will they be able to take a trip like this when they're my age?" Julie says.

More than half of the ice that makes up Alaska's glaciers is expected to be gone by the end of the century.