Swiss glaciers see a 'mind-blowing' 10% loss of volume in 2 years only
Scientists have attributed the melting glaciers to the climate crisis, which has led to an increase in record-breaking temperatures.
According to scientists, global warming caused by fossil fuels is the cause of exceptionally hot seasons with very little snow volume, resulting in rapid melts of Switzerland's glaciers.
A report by the Swiss Academy of Sciences indicated Switzerland's total glacier volume loss this year was 4%, the second-biggest annual decline on record, with the greatest dip being in 2022, when there was a 6% drop, the largest thaw since records started.
The situation is so dire that most ice monitoring has been discontinued. Glacier Monitoring in Switzerland (Glamos), which monitors 176 Swiss glaciers, recently stopped monitoring the St Annafirn glacier in central Switzerland since it had largely melted.
The head of Glamos, Matthias Huss, expressed, "We just had some dead ice left. It’s a combination of climate change that makes such extreme events more likely, and the very bad combination of meteorological extremes. If we continue at this rate … we will see every year such bad years."
He detailed that minor glaciers were vanishing due to the pace of ice loss. To prevent Switzerland from losing its ice, emissions must be reduced, he said, adding that even if the globe can limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels, just one-third of Switzerland's glacier volume is expected to survive.
According to Huss, even though the small glaciers will inevitably disappear, at least "there will be some ice in the highest regions of the Alps and some glaciers that we can show to our grandchildren."
This year's temperatures in the Swiss Alps were at an all-time high. The Swiss meteorological service discovered that the elevation at which precipitation freezes touched a new record overnight high in August, measuring 5,289 meters (17,350ft), an altitude higher than Mont Blanc. This broke the previous year's record of 5,184 meters.
For the first time, Huss discovered fresh lakes emerging near glacier tongues, as well as exposed rock protruding through diminishing ice. As ice sheets have decreased, bodies that had been lost under the ice have been discovered.
The country recently considered a referendum to move Switzerland toward carbon neutrality, to limit the effect of global warming on their melting glaciers.
Half of Earth’s glaciers could still melt even if 1.5°C goal is met
A comprehensive study in January indicated that all the world's glaciers other than the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets show that over half of them will melt by the end of the century, even if the world fulfills its most aggressive global warming target.
The study, published in the journal Science, discovered that even with only 1.5°C (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming above preindustrial levels, 104,000 of the world's more than 215,000 mountain glaciers and ice caps will melt, raising global sea levels by just under 4 inches.
A 1.5°C increase above preindustrial temperatures is currently extremely difficult to avert, implying that such a development may be nearly unstoppable. The outlook worsens with each extra degree of temperature rise.
According to the study, 3°C (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming would result in the disappearance of more than 70% of the world's glaciers and a 5-inch rise in global sea level. Even though many losses are already baked in, the authors argue that it is still worthwhile to attempt to avert as much warming as possible.