In a new study it has been has found that Switzerland’s 1,400 glaciers have shrunk by more than half in the last 85 years – and the rate at which they are melting is accelerating.
The alpine country is famous for its majestic icy landscape.
However according to researchers from ETH Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, the Swiss glaciers have lost more than half their total volume since the early 1930s.
What’s worse is the fact that since 2016, they have lost an incredible 12 per cent.
Daniel Farinotti, Professor of Glaciology at ETH Zurich and WSL explains that the new analysis reveals the “big picture” of a warming mountain landscape.
“Glacier retreat is accelerating.
Closely observing this phenomenon and quantifying its historical dimensions is important because it allows us to infer the glaciers’ responses to a changing climate.”
As the record temperatures continue to threaten the ice ski resorts like Zermatt have called off all summer skiing activities – usually offered year-round.
Before and After Pictures Reveal Ice Loss
The shocking before and after images that you see above reveal the full extent of the ice melt.
Where the ice once coated the ground, the grey and bare rocky slope is now visible. The Huge ice floes have diminished into small blue lakes.
These shocking images are visual proof of our warming climate.
The pictures are also in the data that researchers have used to calculate the glacial loss.
By painstakingly mapping thousands of photos like these, scientists have been able to reconstruct the topography of the glaciers over time.
By doing so, they could calculate the changes in volume.
Professor Daniel Farinotti said,
“While there may have been growth over short-term periods, it’s important to keep the big picture in mind.
Our comparison between the years 1931 and 2016 clearly shows that there was significant glacial retreat during this period.”
By area, Switzerland’s glaciers amount to about half of all the total glaciers in the European Alps.
However, according to the head of the World Metrological Association, they will shrink to just 5 per cent of their current size by the end of the century.
It is now known that wherever there are glaciers, this phenomenon is being replicated. In 2019 a study suggested that the world looses 390 billion tons of ice and snow each and every year.
This can also be seen in the continued melting of the ice in Antartica.
The Italian environmental group, Legambiente, have said that at least 200 Alpine glaciers have disappeared since the end of the 19th century.
Why is the melting of Glacier Ice Bad?
Glaciers cover around 10 per cent of the earth’s surface and, along with the ice caps, they hold nearly 70 per cent of the world’s fresh water.
Therefore glacial ice melting has very serious implications for the world as we know it.
The glacial ice floes form over millennia, as snow accumulated in cold places it compacts and recrystallises as ice.
As the ice packs and glaciers melt, sea levels rise. Since 1961 glacial melting has raised sea levels by 2.7cm. If all of the world’s glaciers melted then world sea levels would ultimately rise by half a metre.
What is most concerning is that the World Wildlife fund have predicted that more than a third of the world’s remaining glaciers will have melted before the end of this century – even if emissions are “significantly curbed.”
WHY DO GLACIERS MELT? CAUSES
Throughout history the rising temperature of the Earth has been responsible for melting glaciers.
Today, the speed with which climate change is progressing could render the glaciers extinct by the end of this century.
Ocean warming: The oceans absorb around 90% of the Earth’s heat. This affects the melting of world’s glaciers, which are mostly located near the poles and on the coasts of Alaska.
Below are some of the human activities that not only warm the planet but are also causing the world’s glaciers to melt in record time.
CO2 emissions: the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) being produced by industry, transport, deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels.
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RiP leaves you now with a tune from the late, great Michael Jackson – The Earth Song.
Peace and Tranquility.
Author: Michael W