Saturday, August 27, 2022

Swiss Glaciers Have Shrunk by 50%

View of the Fieschergletscher in 1928 and 2021 (Photo: swisstopo and VAW / ETH Zurich)

New research by the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) and the ETH Zurich University has discovered that the volume of glaciers in Switzerland shrunk by 50% between 1931 and 2016.

The Swiss research, presented in A historical perspective on glacial retreat, used photogrammetry to analyse over 21,000 photographs of glaciers taken between 1916 and 1947. They used these historical photographs to measure the surface volume of Swiss glaciers at different points in time. From this analysis they have calculated that there has been a drastic reduction in glacier volume in Switzerland over the last 90 years.
The Gorner Glacier in 1930 and 2022. (Photo: swisstopo und VAW / ETH Zurich)

The study also discovered that not all glaciers are shrinking at the same rate. The level to which glaciers have retreated depends on three main factors, the altitude of the glacier, the slope of the glacier snout, and the amount of debris on the glacier.

You can explore more visualizations showing the extent of glacial retreat around the world in the post Melting Glaciers

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