Long melting season: Swiss glaciers have lost billions of cubic meters of ice
Compared to September 2017, glaciers in Switzerland have shrunk significantly. Researchers say: Only the snowy winter prevented an even more dramatic development.
The approximately 1,500 glaciers in Switzerland have lost 1.4 billion cubic meters or 2.5 percent ice in comparison to last September. The ice masses were lost to a great extent, reported the Swiss Academy of Sciences.
Only the very snowy winter prevented an even more dramatic development, it said. Overall, the glaciers would have lost a fifth of their volume in ten years.
The development is remarkable, because after last winter partly record snow depths were measured, so the academy.
87 percent of the days never below the zero-degree mark
In the canton of Valais, the glaciers had about 70 percent more snow at about the beginning of the melting period than on average in previous years. In some valleys, at the same time, as much snow had fallen as could be expected only every 70 years. By the end of March, more than 2000 meters of snow have been snowed up twice as much as in previous years at this time of the year.
MORE ON THE SUBJECT
Interactive mapHier climate change threatens ski resorts
The summer half-year from April to September was by far the warmest in Switzerland since the beginning of the measurements in the mid-19th century, writes the Academy. On the 2540-meter-high Weissfluhjoch, the temperature in the summer months has never fallen below the zero-degree mark on 87 percent of the days.
To be sure, individual events can never be traced back to global warming. However, the long-term trend is clear.
Scientists assume that snow and ice in the Alps will disappear significantly by the end of the century. Already in 2015, they had warned against the shrinking of glaciers in the Alpine region, including in Switzerland. In 2016, the ice sheet recovered somewhat in the meantime due to the cold summer, but this did not change the general trend.