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US News Switzerland: in 2020, the country's glaciers lost 2% of their volume

13:55  16 october  2020
13:55  16 october  2020 Source:   rfi.fr

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Europe' s glaciers have lost about two thirds of their volume since 1850 and melting accelerated in the 1980 s . Hornkees glacier in the Austrian Alps retreated by 446 feet last year, more than any other in the region. Rhone glacier in Switzerland has retreated 4,600 feet up hill since 1856, forcing tourist

Switzerland , officially the Swiss Confederation, is a country situated at the confluence of Western, Central, and Southern Europe. It is a federal republic composed of 26 cantons

Le glacier d'Aletsch, le plus grand des Alpes, situé près de la station de montagne de Bettmeralp, est photographié le 18 août 2007 (image d'illustration). © FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP The Aletsch glacier, the largest in the Alps, located near the mountain station of Bettmeralp, is pictured on August 18, 2007 (illustrative image).

Swiss glaciers have continued to melt this year at an alarming rate, and the accumulation of snow on the Aletsch, the largest glacier in the Alps, has never been lower, warns a study published this Friday 16 October.

In 2020, Swiss glaciers lost 2% of their volume, according to the annual study published by the Swiss Academy of Sciences. This is in line with the average of the last ten years, but these figures are still "very worrying", explained to AFP the author of the report Matthias Huss, in charge of the Glamos glacier monitoring network. "These figures are a little lower than the last three years, when we had extremely high temperatures, but all the same the glaciers lost a lot of mass", underlines the scientist again.

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"Lowest snow accumulation ever" recorded

Over the past sixty years, Swiss glaciers have lost as much water as there is in Lake Constance, a body of water 63 kilometers long on the Austrian-German-Swiss border, insists the report. One of the most worrying measures concerns the Aletsch, the largest glacier in the Alps. In a little over a hundred years that the measurements have been made, "this year marks the lowest snow accumulation on record", underlines Mr. Huss.

Measurements are taken at an altitude of 3,466 meters, so there is still snow. "It's cold up there, but there is little snow that has accumulated even at this altitude, and of course that is a bad sign for the largest glacier in the Alps," he added. The glacier, which spans 86 km2 in the Swiss Alps, is estimated to contain 11 billion tonnes of ice, but it has seen its front recede by about 1 km since the turn of the century.

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People arriving in Switzerland from certain countries and areas are required to go into quarantine. The list of these countries and areas will be updated on 12 October 2020 . The countries and areas affected are set down in a list. This list is regularly updated in line with the epidemiological situation.

Two thirds of the glaciers would disappear even if the Paris Agreement was respected

The Aletsch is the most imposing of the more than 4,000 alpine glaciers. A study from ETH Zurich University indicated that 95% of these majestic masses of ice will have disappeared by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions were not brought under control. Two-thirds of glaciers would disappear even if the Paris climate agreement was respected, according to this study. “But at least there are still glaciers to admire,” concludes Matthias Huss.

(with AFP)

Read also: The UN warns about the number of natural disasters caused by climate change in 20 years

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