Swiss Glacier Melting Fast, Have Melted Half Since 1930 Says Study

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The glaciers in Switzerland have shed half their volume since the early 1930s, a new study has said. It said that the retreat of the ice structures is accelerating at a time when there are growing concerns about climate change, Fox news said in a report. Since the early 2000s, scientists have been closely monitoring rapid glacier melt in the Alps and elsewhere, which they believe is caused by climate change, the outlet further said.

The researchers who conducted the latest study performed a first-ever reconstruction of ice loss in Switzerland in the 20th century based on the analysis of topographical changes. They said that ice volumes in the glaciers have reduced by half in the 86-year time period they studied – from 1930 to 2016. In just six years, the glaciers have lost a further 12 per cent of their mass, the scientists further said.

The study was published in a scientific journal named crystophere Its co-author Daniel Farinotti was quoted as saying by Fox News, “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.”

Switzerland’s 1,400 glaciers account for almost half of all glaciers in the European Alps. The researchers used a combination of long-term glacier monitoring. This comprised field measurements as well as aerial and summit images, including 22,000 obtained between the two world wars.

The researchers were also able to fill in gaps by utilising several sources. Only a few of Switzerland’s glaciers have been examined on a consistent basis over the years.

The study also includes the use of decades-old techniques to compare the form and location of photographs of landscape, as well as the use of cameras and tools to measure angles of land regions.

The researchers compared surface topography of glaciers at different moments, allowing for estimations regarding the change of ice quantities, the outlet further said.

According to the experts, not all Swiss glaciers are losing ice at the same rate. The rates of ice retreat are affected by altitude, the quantity of debris on glaciers, and the flatness of a glacier’s “snout” – its lowest region, which is the most sensitive to melting.

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