The edge mountains are now free of ice: study shows dramatic glacier shrinkage in the Alps

The climate change the glaciers in the Alps are rapidly dwindling. How dramatic the Situation is, report researchers at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, no

The edge mountains are now free of ice: study shows dramatic glacier shrinkage in the Alps

The climate change the glaciers in the Alps are rapidly dwindling. How dramatic the Situation is, report researchers at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, now in the journal "Nature Communications". Thus, the glaciers of the Alps lost since the turn of the Millennium until 2014, about a sixth (17 per cent) of its Ice volume and more than 22 cubic kilometers. Particularly, the Swiss Alps are concerned.

In the study, the Erlanger geographers studied for the first time, the complete Alps instead of individual glaciers or regions. For this, they took advantage of data from radar satellites to create three-dimensional models of the earth's surface, and combined these with optical satellite images. Thus, they were able to surface and height of the glacier to measure. "The advantage is that you can see the glacier volume in the Whole," says Christian Sommer from the Institute of geography.

Aletsch glacier receded by more than 5 meters per year

The largest Eisverlust the researchers found in the Swiss Alps. "These areas have the largest glacier and the largest melt rates," said summer. Thus, the surface of the Great Aletsch glacier melted in the Canton of Valais in Switzerland, the largest glacier in the Alps, more than five meters per year in the lower layers. "In the highest altitudes of the Central Alps, there seems to be, however, no ice melting," says summer.

the edge areas of the Alps are in the future, mountains of ice

Quite differently in the Margin: As, the researchers observed a decrease of the glaciers in the higher altitudes. "This suggests that the marginal areas will be the first regions that are now ice-free."

The data to allow it to his information, the development of the majority of the nearly 4000 glaciers in the Alps to evaluate. They allowed but even before that, months have to say about the melting water in the summer, is for the water supply and energy production in many countries is important.

"This has an impact on the Alpine space, because it has an influence on the water budget of several large European river systems originating in the Alps," explains summer.

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Updated Date: 25 June 2020, 12:27

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