Three perennial snow patches in the Northern Japan Alps have been certified as glaciers, doubling the total number in the country.

The Tateyama Caldera Sabo Museum in Toyama Prefecture and the Omachi municipal government in Nagano Prefecture on Jan. 18 announced the glacier certifications for: the Kakunezato on Mount Kashima-yarigatake in the Ushiro-tateyama range in Nagano Prefecture; the Ikenotan on Mount Tsurugidake in the Tateyama range in Toyama Prefecture; and the Kuranosuke on Mount Tateyama also in the Tateyama range in the same prefecture.

“All of the glaciers are comparable to others overseas,” said Tomoyoshi Kosaka, a specially appointed professor of stratigraphy at Shinshu University. “However, they are somehow becoming smaller probably due to global warming. It is important to regularly study them from now on.”

An academic research paper that recognized the three snow patches as glaciers appeared in the Geographical Review of Japan magazine, published by the Association of Japanese Geographers.

The three other glaciers in Japan are all in Toyama Prefecture: the Sannomado and Komado on Mount Tsurugidake and the Gozenzawa on Mount Tateyama.

Earth has around 200,000 glaciers that cover 10 percent of the land, according to Tateyama Caldera Sabo Museum.