Earth Science Switzerland's Glaciers Melting Away

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by helenheaven, Nov 15, 2004.

  1. helenheaven

    helenheaven Premium Member

    Switzerland\'s Glaciers Melting Away

    Switzerland's glaciers are melting faster than expected, shrinking by as much as one-fifth of their size over the 1985-2000 period alone, scientists at Zurich University said.

    Hot summers in the 1990s in particular, prompted a glacier melt-down which has outpaced previous forecasts. It could impact tourism and cause more environmental hazards such as flash floods, scientist Frank Paul said.

    "It is amazing what huge masses of ice have been lost," he told Reuters in a telephone interview. "Every hiker in the Alps knows about it: the changes in recent years have been dramatic."

    While Swiss glaciers shrank a meager one percent in the 12 years to 1985, they lost some 18 percent of their area in the 1985-2000 period, the research showed.

    This suggests they are melting faster than earlier estimates which put the loss at 30 percent between 1980 and 2025.

    Paul says that while a pattern of advancing and retreating glaciers was normal, temperature increases over the 1990s have stripped away swathes of ice which are needed to retain water, and in turn support plant and animal life in the mountains.

    Last year's European summer heatwave, which caused deaths and droughts across the continent, capped more than a decade of rapid melting.

    "Summer 2003 was the death blow for many small glaciers," Paul said.

    "When glaciers are in the retreating phase they normally lose about 30 centimeters of snow and ice a year. In the 1990s they lost about 70 centimeters a year; in 2003, they lost 3 meters," Paul said.

    Mountainous regions will become more hazardous, Paul said, because the heavy summer thunderstorms symptomatic of climate change will fall on craggy mountainsides rather than insulating layers of snow and ice, likely causing more flash floods.

    Over the past 150 years, Paul said air temperatures in the Alps have warmed up by 1.2 degrees - and could gain as much as 2-4 degrees more by the year 2100.

    okay, this might conflict, with my global warming is a myth thread.....
  2. Zsandmann

    Zsandmann Premium Member

    Oh jeez, dont tell Kendrick Taylor. He is the guy that was the consultant for The Day After Tomorrow. The guy is a fanatic scientist that believes the oceans are reaching critical salinity, which will trigger a massive climate shift. I am going to try and find a digital copy of a paper of his I read, it calls for some extreme countermeasures to stop the change.

    :: Damming the Straits of Gibraltar
    :: Dumping iron filings in the Atlantic
    :: Seeding the atmosphere with chemicals to induce snow over glaciers

    From the American Scientist
    July-August, Volume 87, No. 4
    Rapid Climate Change

    New evidence shows that earth’s climate can change dramatically in only a decade. Could greenhouse gases flip that switch?

    Kendrick Taylor

    Much to the surprise of investigators, evidence is mounting that major changes in the earth’s climate can take place in a very short time. Data from ice cores and ocean sediments suggest, for example, that 11,650 years ago the climate in Greenland switched from ice-age conditions to the current relatively warm conditions (a warming of 5 to 10 degrees Celsius on average) in only 40 years. The author describes the oceanic currents that influence climate and establish its stability, as well as “triggers” that may perturb changes -- including the possibility that “greenhouse” warming could invoke a rapid switch.

    Full Text Here: