Ice loss on smaller Swiss glaciers was extreme this summer. “What we see was stronger than anything we previously thought possible,” reports glaciologist Matthias Huss. Ice sheets have melted on the Corvatsch Glacier in southeastern Switzerland, some of which have been there for some 7,000 years, said the head of the Swiss glacier monitoring network Glamos at ETH Zurich. The dating of the ice goes back to older measurements by the University of Heidelberg.
The measurement program at Corvatsch can no longer be continued because there is simply no ice at the measurement points, Huss said. “So all we’re left with is collecting and cleaning up all the material.”
“Only a small remnant of the ice is visible”
Glaciologists have been measuring glaciers in terms of winter snowfall and summer snowmelt as part of Glamos for decades. In 2019, it was decided to phase out the measurement programs on three smaller glaciers: Pizol Glacier, Vadret dal Corvatsch and Schwarzbachfirn. Because the loss percentages were lower than in previous years, especially last year, it was hoped to be able to take measurements for a little longer. “But the losses this summer were too great,” Huss said. For technical reasons, further ice loss can no longer be measured.
When the ice melted, the landscape changed dramatically, Huss said. “The previously thin ice is disappearing in many places.” On the Corvatsch, an ice ridge with the ice that is thousands of years old has almost completely disappeared. “Only a small remnant of the ice is visible,” Huss said.
Tyrolean glaciers are also melting faster than ever
There were also dramatic reports in Austria on Friday. A glacier in Tyrol, which has been under close scientific observation for decades, is melting faster than ever. According to data from the University of Innsbruck, the Hinterreisferner in the Ötztal has lost five percent of its total volume this year.
I’m Wayne Wickman, a professional journalist and author for Today Times Live. My specialty is covering global news and current events, offering readers a unique perspective on the world’s most pressing issues. I’m passionate about storytelling and helping people stay informed on the goings-on of our planet.