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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Latest Update on the Glaciers of the World

The World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS), which is based out of the University of Zurich in Switzerland has updated their report on a number of the world's glaciers.

According to the WMGS, a clear majority of more than 80 glaciers across the globe are still melting at high rates, according to the ScienceDaily article

For the year 2007, (which is the latest data from the WGMS) the results indicate that there has been an overall additional further loss of average ice thickness of roughly 0.67 meter water equivalent (m w.e.). Some glaciers in the European Alps lost up to 2.5 m w.e.

This is a time lapse look at the Vernagtferner Glacier in Austria and how it has shrunk between 1912 and 2003. Image courtesy of the United Nations Environment Program.

2007 was the 6th year this century in which the average ice loss of the referenced glaciers has exceeded a 1/2 meter in thickness, which more than doubles the melt rates of the 1980's and 1990's.

The average ice loss in 2007 was not as extreme as 2006, but there were big differences between mountain ranges across the globe.

In addition to the large losses in the European Alps, there were significant losses in the referenced glaciers in Columbia and Bolivia.

Some glaciers actually gained mass, and those included the maritime glaciers in Scandinavia, and in western North America, the North Cascades and the Juneau Ice Field.

Here is the link to the latest glacier data from the WGMS.

By the way, coordinated international glacier monitoring began in 1894.

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