New research has shown that glaciers in Switzerland have lost more than half their volume in less than 100 years, and this long summer has accelerated the ice loss.
Glaciers attract skiers and hikers, but they are also key to Europe’s water supply.
“We are probably among the first people to walk here. You can see this big rock sticking out of the ice, and 45 or 50 years ago it was completely in the ice and we couldn’t see it. If we see the changes, they are big. When we were building this cable car, we had to dig a flight five to seven meters deep because of the level it was at. That was 23 years ago, and look where the glacier is now. It will change very quickly in the coming years, it makes us think about the future, about water and glaciers, how long it will be with us in Switzerland and around the world. It’s sad what’s happening, we can contribute to slowing down the melting, but we can’t stop it completely, at least not at this height,” said Bernhard Tschannen.
The rock shown in the video has been covered by ice for thousands of years and is now exposed due to the melting of the ice. Switzerland’s glaciers have shrunk by more than half in the past century and are disappearing at a record pace after heatwaves this summer.
Ice binds the tops of mountains and holds them together, and as it melts, the rocks become unstable.
Bernhard covers the remaining ice and snow with white sheets that reflect the sun’s heat.
Alternatively, glaciers fill European rivers with water and irrigate crops. Without a real effort to combat climate change, scientists claim that the glaciers could disappear within a few decades.