Story By: Aleksandra Stefanova, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
Scientists say about 1,400 million cubic metres of ice have melted from Swiss glaciers in a single year and that glaciers have lost a fifth in volume over the last 10 years.
The Swiss Academy of Sciences has stated in a press release that Swiss glaciers have suffered such massive losses due to this summer’s heat wave with the 1,400 million cubic metres from the remaining 1,500 glaciers that have all shrunk considerably.
To help clarify the scope of the problem, the Academy explained that with the melted water “the entire surface of Switzerland could evenly be covered with a 25-centimetre [9.84-inch] high water layer.”
They noted that the loss would have been even higher had it not been for the snow cover of the record depths of snow seen in April and May that helped to protect them.
According to the press release, the depth of snow in 2018 was the biggest in the last 20 years.
For example, glaciers in the south-western canton of Valais were snowed in with up to 70 percent more snow than usual at the beginning of the melting period.
But the thick layer of snow could not withstand the summer heat wave and many glaciers lost 1.5 to 2 metres (4.92 to 6.56 feet) of ice thickness.
According to the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology or MeteoSwiss for short, this year’s June and August were the third warmest after the years 2003 and 2015 and the period from April to September was the warmest altogether.
All in all, Swiss glaciers could not be saved from melting away as they lost more by melting than by growing from the new snow.