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He had known this moment would come, but that didn’t make it any easier. He leaned against the flank, felt the familiar coolness against his cheek as the world’s last glacier melted into nothingness.

The ice is melting. Regardless of future cuts to emissions, the current level of greenhouse gas has set in motion an irreversible melting of glaciers. In other words – some glaciers may already be doomed to disappear. In the same week that this glacier study came out, Sarah DeWeerdt was contemplating the death of Sudan, the last male northern white rhinoceros. Reading of their possible extinction, she wondered: What if disappearing glaciers also had human caretakers who became attached to them? // Alex Massey

//Sarah DeWeerdt is a freelance science journalist based in Seattle. Follow her on Twitter at @DeWeerdt_Sarah.//

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