Melting of Glaciers Have Reached Highest Limit

In an alarming discovery, it has been found that glaciers, which commenced to melt in the first ten years of the 21st century has touched the historical summit, ever since the direct observations began.

A recent study by the World Glacier Monitoring Service, headed under the University of Zurich, Switzerland merged figures on alterations on glaciers from across the globe for over 120 years. With the guidance from the National Correspondents in over 30 countries, the global service found that the observations on glacier alterations of the first ten years (2001-2010) were more alarming than the current accessible figures from air-borne, in-situ, and satellite borne observations, besides reconstructions from image and written sources.


Photo Credit: Eric E Castro

Michael Zemp who is the director of the World Glacier Monitoring Service as well as the lead author of the study informed that the observed glaciers at present lose between half a meter and one meter of its ice chunkiness annually, which is two to three times more compared to the corresponding average of the 20th century.

Although, the correct measurements of this ice reduction are collected from some hundred glaciers only these outcomes are qualitatively checked from the field and observations based on satellite on behalf of several thousands of glaciers present across the globe.

As per the global team of authors, the present rate at which glaciers are melting is without preference at global scale, no less than for the time duration that the researchers observed and possibly for recorded history too, as also shown in reconstructions image and written sources.

Additionally, the study reflects that the longstanding withdrawal of glacier tongues is a global happening. Sporadic re-advance stages at regional and decadal scales are generally limited to a subsample of glaciers and have not reached close to accomplishing the Little Ice Age maximum positions touched between the 16th and 19th century. Therefore, glacier tongues situated in Norwar have withdrawn by a few kilometers from its maximum levels in the 19th century. The sporadic re-advances of the 1990s were limited to glaciers in the coastal region and to some hundred meters.

Not only these, the study also reflects that the extreme loss of ice in the past twenty years has led to an outcome where there is a solid disparity of glaciers in various places of the world. Zemp explained that these glaciers will undergo additional loss of ice, regardless the climate remaining steady.

The study has been published in the “Journal of Glaciology”.

Other than enhancing the scenic beauty of the environment, and driving more tourists inside the country that boasts their presence, glaciers are beneficial in other ways as well.

In a report by SwissEduc, it is said that a few regions of Switzerland, water is gathered from various glaciers and delivered through tunnels to one holding reservoir. In the reservoir, the meltwater from the glacier namely “Haute Glacier d’ Arolla” goes inside an intake and is eventually relocated through another tunnel in a different valley.

The same report has also said that their capability to offer an unswerving supply of water to generate hydro-electric power makes glaciers one of the biggest advantage givers in developed nations. In Switzerland, a dam located at Griesgletscher, Valais was constructed in order to obtain meltwater during the summers, so that it can be utilized for generating power in winter. At the time of the tremendously hot summers of 2003, so much meltwater was accessible that generation of power carried on throughout the summer. In this year, there was a dearth of electrical energy in central and southern Europe.

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