Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Study: Already Shrunk by Half, Swiss Glaciers Melting Faster
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 2 years ago on
August 22, 2022

Share

 

Switzerland’s 1,400 glaciers have lost more than half their total volume since the early 1930s, a new study has found, and researchers say the ice retreat is accelerating at a time of growing concerns about climate change.

ETH Zurich, a respected federal polytechnic university, and the Swiss Federal Institute on Forest, Snow and Landscape Research on Monday announced the findings from a first-ever reconstruction of ice loss in Switzerland in the 20th century, based in part on an analysis of changes to the topography of glaciers since 1931.

The researchers estimated that ice volumes on the glaciers had shrunk by half over the subsequent 85 years — until 2016. Since then, the glaciers have lost an additional 12%, over just six years.

“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,” said Daniel Farinotti, a co-author of the study, which was published in scientific journal The Cryosphere.

By area, Switzerland’s glaciers amount to about half of all the total glaciers in the European Alps.

The teams drew on a combination of long-term observations of glaciers. That included measurements in the field and aerial and mountaintop photographs — including 22,000 taken from peaks between the two world wars. By using multiple sources, the researchers could fill in gaps. Only a few of Switzerland’s glaciers have been studied regularly over the years.

The research involved using decades-old techniques to allow for comparisons of the shape and position of images of terrain, and the use of cameras and instruments to measure angles of land areas. The teams compared surface topography of glaciers at different moments, allowing for calculations about the evolution in ice volumes.

Not all Swiss glaciers have been losing ice at the same rates, the researchers said. Altitude, amounts of debris on the glaciers, and the flatness of a glacier’s “snout” — its lowest part, which is the most vulnerable to melting — all affect the speeds of ice retreat.

The researchers also found that two periods — in the 1920s and the 1980s — actually experienced sporadic growth in glacier mass, but that was overshadowed by the broader trend of decline.

The findings could have broad implications for Switzerland’s long-term energy sources, since hydropower produces nearly 60% of the country’s electricity, according to government data.

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

KMJ’s Gabriel & Musson Win Radio Honors, Fresno Council Plaudits

DON'T MISS

Tabloid Publisher Says He Pledged to Be Trump Campaign’s ‘Eyes and Ears’ During 2016 Race

DON'T MISS

General Motors Reports Strong First-Quarter Profits as Prices Help Offset Small US Sales Dip

DON'T MISS

Caitlin Clark Is Set to Sign a New Nike Deal Valued at $28 Million Over 8 Years, Reports Say

DON'T MISS

Fresno’s Baklava House Entices Foodies With Its Delicious Flavors

DON'T MISS

A Far-Right German EU Lawmaker’s Aide Is Arrested on Suspicion of Spying for China

DON'T MISS

Wall Street Rallies and Adds to Its Hot Start to the Week

DON'T MISS

The Icon Returns: Discover the All-New 2024 Land Cruiser

DON'T MISS

Newsom Criticizes Local Response to Homelessness. He Should Look in the Mirror.

DON'T MISS

Google Fires More Workers Who Protested Its Deal With Israel

UP NEXT

Israel’s Military Intelligence Chief Resigns Over Failure to Prevent Hamas Attack on Oct. 7

UP NEXT

Aid Approval Brings Ukraine Closer to Replenishing Troops Struggling to Hold Front Lines

UP NEXT

The US is Expected to Block Aid to an Israeli Military Unit. What is Leahy Law That It Would Cite?

UP NEXT

Rare House Vote Sees Ukraine, Israel Aid Advance as Democrats Join Republicans

UP NEXT

Iran Fires at Suspected Israeli Drones Near Isfahan Air Base, Nuclear Facility

UP NEXT

US Vetoes Full United Nations Membership for Palestine

UP NEXT

US and UK Issue New Sanctions on Iran in Response to Tehran’s Weekend Attack on Israel

UP NEXT

Netanyahu Dismisses Calls for Restraint, Says Israel Will Decide Iran Attack Response

UP NEXT

Storm Dumps Record Rain and Floods Dubai’s Airport

UP NEXT

Myanmar’s Ousted Leader Suu Kyi Moved From Prison to House Arrest Due to Heat, Military Says

Caitlin Clark Is Set to Sign a New Nike Deal Valued at $28 Million Over 8 Years, Reports Say

2 hours ago

Fresno’s Baklava House Entices Foodies With Its Delicious Flavors

3 hours ago

A Far-Right German EU Lawmaker’s Aide Is Arrested on Suspicion of Spying for China

3 hours ago

Wall Street Rallies and Adds to Its Hot Start to the Week

3 hours ago

The Icon Returns: Discover the All-New 2024 Land Cruiser

3 hours ago

Newsom Criticizes Local Response to Homelessness. He Should Look in the Mirror.

4 hours ago

Google Fires More Workers Who Protested Its Deal With Israel

4 hours ago

LeBron James Rants at NBA’s Replay Center for Calls, Lakers Lose on Buzzer-Beater

4 hours ago

Winn Sharp Again, Conforto Homers as Giants Clip Mets

4 hours ago

CA Lawmakers Reject Bill Cracking Down on Utilities Spending Customers’ Money

4 hours ago

KMJ’s Gabriel & Musson Win Radio Honors, Fresno Council Plaudits

KMJ radio picked up big awards recently, and then celebrated at the Fresno City Council. Christopher Gabriel took home a Golden Mic award, a...

5 mins ago

5 mins ago

KMJ’s Gabriel & Musson Win Radio Honors, Fresno Council Plaudits

1 hour ago

Tabloid Publisher Says He Pledged to Be Trump Campaign’s ‘Eyes and Ears’ During 2016 Race

1 hour ago

General Motors Reports Strong First-Quarter Profits as Prices Help Offset Small US Sales Dip

2 hours ago

Caitlin Clark Is Set to Sign a New Nike Deal Valued at $28 Million Over 8 Years, Reports Say

3 hours ago

Fresno’s Baklava House Entices Foodies With Its Delicious Flavors

3 hours ago

A Far-Right German EU Lawmaker’s Aide Is Arrested on Suspicion of Spying for China

3 hours ago

Wall Street Rallies and Adds to Its Hot Start to the Week

3 hours ago

The Icon Returns: Discover the All-New 2024 Land Cruiser

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend