The Guardian] The world’s glaciers are in retreat. The great tongues of ice high in the Himalayas, the Andes, the Alps and the Rockies are going back uphill at ever greater speeds, according to new research.
And this loss of ice is both accelerating and “historically unprecedented”, say scientists who report in the Journal of Glaciology.
In the past year or so, researchers have identified rapid rises in
meltwater and alarming cases of glacial retreat in Greenland, West
Antarctica, the Canadian and Alaskan coastal mountains, in Europe and in
the Himalayan massif. They have also watched glaciers pick up speed
downhill. One satellite-based study,
confirmed by on-the-ground measurements, of the Jakobshavn glacier in
Greenland, confirms that the river of ice is now moving at the rate of
46 metres a day, 17 kilometres a year, which is twice the speed recorded
in 2003, which in turn was twice as fast as measured in 1997.
The World Glacier Monitoring Service, based at the University of
Zurich in Switzerland and with partners in 30 countries, has been
compiling data on changes in glaciers over the last 120 years. And it
has just compared all known 21st century observations with data from
site measurements, aerial photography and satellite observations and
evidence from pictorial and written sources. Altogether, the service has
collected 5,000 measurements of glacier volume and changes in mass
since 1850, and 42,000 records of variations in glacier fronts from
records dating back to the 16th century.
And the evidence is clear: the glaciers are in retreat, worldwide, and the retreat is accelerating. Read More