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Swiss glaciers get 10% smaller in two years

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Switzerland's glaciers have lost a further 4% of their volume this year - the second biggest loss ever - after last year's record melt of 6%.

Axar.az reports that the statistics come in the annual report of the Swiss Glacier Monitoring Network (Glamos), whose team of researchers has been monitoring 176 of Switzerland's 1,400 glaciers for years.

They warn it may now be too late to save many of the alpine ice fields, even if climate targets are met.

"It's terrible," said the Glamos chief.

In just two years, Switzerland's glaciers have lost 10% of their total volume - as much as they lost in the three decades between 1960 and 1990.

Glaciologists measuring the ice take no comfort in the fact that this year's melt is slightly smaller than last year's record.

"It was still the second most negative year since measurements started," Matthias Huss, the head of Glamos, told the BBC. "It's terrible to see that this extreme of last year is just repeating."

The researchers say the loss is due to consecutive very warm summers, and last winter's very low snowfall. If these weather patterns continue, they say, the thaw will only accelerate.

Some of Switzerland's smaller glaciers have already disappeared.

This year the researchers stopped monitoring the St Annafirn glacier because there was no ice left worth measuring.

Others are shrinking so fast it is unlikely they can be saved, even if global temperatures are kept within the Paris target of a 1.5C rise.

2023.09.29 / 09:52
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