According to the latest report from the World Glacier Observing Service, the remaining glaciers in the world are melting at the fastest rate of the last five thousand years. Experts have observed the evolution of thirty glaciers around the globe for almost three decades and the most recent figures for 2006 indicate the largest net ice loss recorded to date. The monitored glaciers show an average reduction in their thickness of 0.6 meters (measured in their equivalent in water). These figures confirm the trend of accelerated ice loss over the past two and a half decades and place the loss of thickness in 30 reference glaciers, located in nine mountain ranges of the planet, by an average of about 10 meters since the 1980s. For people who have always lived near a glacier or for mountain guides, this is nothing new. They do not need any scientific report to confirm what they have been seeing for years. In the time of Hannibal there were scarcely glaciers in the Alps and at the end of the Cretaceous period there were no polar ice caps. It is clear that in the history of the Earth there have always been hotter and colder periods. What is worrying about the current situation is not that the glaciers are melting but at the dizzying pace that is occurring. Glaciers, despite their extraordinary dimensions, are very fragile and the fact that they are disappearing so quickly seems to be a clear sign of the effect of man on global warming. As they say that an image is worth a thousand words, we show you two examples: one, the Trift glacier, in the Swiss Alps, receded almost 200 meters in a single year, between 2004 and 2005.

The second example is two images of the Pasterze glacier in Austria taken in 1875 and 2004. In just over 130 years, the longest Austrian glacier has lost two kilometers in length.

 

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