A new study by the Swiss Academy of Sciences reveals that Switzerland has lost up to 6% of its glaciers this year. The study attributed the rapid melting of glaciers to climate change and other local factors. The findings of the study come just after a hot summer that was characterized by heat waves across Europe. According to the study, the rate of glacier loss this year has surpassed previous records a generation ago.
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“2022 has been a disastrous year for Swiss glaciers: all ice melt records have been broken by the severe snow shortage in winter and the continuous heat waves in summer,” the academy said in a statement.
Related: Photographer captures melting glaciers over the years
The study was based on data collected by Glamos, a network that monitors glaciers in Switzerland. The organization documents the state of glaciers across Switzerland to facilitate decision-making. Switzerland being the country with the largest volume of glaciers in Europe is a key indicator of the state of our environment.
According to Matthias Huss, a glaciologist at the Federal Polytechnic Institute in Zurich and head of the Glamos program, it will take decades for the lost volume to recover.
“We have a streak that goes back over 100 years, and we’ve never seen anything like this year,” Huss said. “It’s something that was expected in the future for such extremes to occur, but now they’re already here.”
This year, Switzerland had to deal with a combination of unlucky factors that affected its annual snowmelt. Huss said snow cover in the Swiss Alps was very light this year compared to other years. Consequently, the glaciers had less natural protection against the summer heat. The situation was made worse by a drift of dust from the Sahara that blanketed many parts of Europe in the spring. This led to soaring temperatures causing massive snowmelt across Europe.
“World leaders have at least realized that something has to be done to prevent the negative impacts of climate change,” Huss said. “But still, I think there are not enough plans that have been implemented.”
Going through CBS News
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