Swiss Glaciers Have Lost Half Their Volume Since 1913

Photo-illustration: Pixabay (DenisLinine)

A new study, conducted by ETH University in Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, found that Swiss glaciers lost about 50 percent of their volume between 1931 and 2016.

The analysis was carried out relying on the archive of images obtained during the TerrA research, which covers about 86 percent of Swiss glaciers, and analyzed about 21,700 photographs recorded between 1916 and 1947.

Research has shown that parts of the glacier that are located at a low altitude, and that have a large amount of debris, or collapse remnants, and that are under a slight slope, are particularly affected by the loss of their volume.

Such parts of the glacier spread out in the northeast of Switzerland and lose their volume almost twice as fast as those that spread out in the southwestern part of Switzerland.

Switzerland currently has 1,400 glaciers with a total area of about 960 km2 and they make up almost half of all glaciers in the European Alps. Swiss glaciers extend at an altitude ranging from 1357 to 4599 meters.

This kind of research is important because it allows to better understand the impact of climate change on glaciers, the study said.

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