Monday, 17 March 2008

Where have all the glaciers gone ?


During the past 45 years I have spent a lot of time walking on glaciers, looking at glaciers and studying glaciers. Above is a photo of the mighty Fox Glacier in New Zealand that I took 3 years ago. Today I was alarmed to read in a report from Oslo
that a thaw of the world's glaciers has accelerated to a new record with some of the biggest losses within Europe, in a worrying sign of climate change, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said on Sunday.

"Meltdown in the mountains," UNEP said in a statement, saying that a retreat of glaciers from the Andes to the Arctic should add urgency to UN negotiations on working out a new treaty by the end of 2009 to combat global warming.
"Data from close to 30 reference glaciers in nine mountain ranges indicate that between the years 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 the average rate of melting and thinning more than doubled," it said.
Some of the biggest losses were in Europe -- in the Alps, the Pyrenees and the Nordic region -- according to the UNEP-backed World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) at the University of Zurich in Switzerland.

"The latest figures are part of what appears to be an accelerating trend with no apparent end in sight," WGMS director Wilfried Haeberli said in a statement.
The estimates, based on measuring the thickness of glacier ice, indicated an average loss of about 1.5 metres (5 ft) in 2006, up from just over half a metre in 2005. UNEP said that the thinning was the fastest since monitoring began.

Since 1980, glaciers have thinned by about 11.5 metres in a retreat blamed by the UN Climate Panel mainly on human use of fossil fuels.
The thaw could disrupt everything from farming -- millions of people in Asia depend on seasonal melt water from the Himalayas -- and power generation to winter sports. The thaw could also raise world sea levels.

UNEP said glaciers were among the clearest indicators of global warming. "There are many canaries emerging in the climate change coal mine. The glaciers are perhaps among those making the most noise," said Achim Steiner, head of UNEP.

Among big losers, Norway's Breidalblikkbrea glacier thinned by almost 3.1 metres during 2006 compared with 0.3 metres in 2005 and France's Ossoue glacier in the Pyrenees thinned by nearly 3 metres versus around 2.7 metres in 2005. In the Alps, Italy's Malavalle glacier thinned by 1.4 metres in 2006 versus 0.9 in 2005. In Austria, the Grosser Goldbergkees glacier thinned by 1.2 metres in 2006 versus 0.3 in 2005.

Of almost 30 reference glaciers only one -- the Echaurren Norte in Chile -- thickened in 2006 compared to 2005. The WGMS monitors about 100 glaciers in total.
Some glaciers, such as Bolivia's Chacaltaya glacier, Canada's Place glacier, India's Hamtah glacier and the US Daniels and Yawning glaciers shrank less in 2006 than in 2005.

Steiner said that governments had agreed to work out by the end of 2009 a new pact to succeed the UN's Kyoto Protocol, which binds developed nations except the United States to curb emissions of greenhouse gases.

"Otherwise, and like the glaciers, our room for manoeuvre and the opportunity to act may simply melt away," he said. A first set of UN negotiations on a new climate treaty will be held in Bangkok from March 31-April 4.

4 comments:

oakleyses said...

nike free, ray ban sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet store, tory burch outlet online, coach outlet store online, longchamp handbags, michael kors outlet online sale, polo ralph lauren, michael kors handbags, louis vuitton, prada outlet, ray ban outlet, burberry outlet online, nike air max, coach purses, coach outlet, nike outlet, chanel handbags, true religion outlet, christian louboutin shoes, red bottom shoes, gucci handbags, coach outlet, louis vuitton outlet online, tiffany and co jewelry, michael kors outlet online, oakley vault, cheap oakley sunglasses, louis vuitton handbags, nike air max, prada handbags, true religion, louis vuitton outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, longchamp outlet, louis vuitton outlet, tiffany jewelry, kate spade outlet, burberry outlet online, christian louboutin outlet, jordan shoes, christian louboutin, kate spade outlet online, longchamp outlet online, michael kors outlet

oakleyses said...

air max pas cher, hollister, longchamp pas cher, converse pas cher, ralph lauren, nike air max, air jordan, sac vanessa bruno, abercrombie and fitch, scarpe hogan, sac michael kors, louis vuitton uk, michael kors canada, new balance pas cher, ray ban pas cher, nike roshe, hermes pas cher, true religion outlet, ralph lauren pas cher, tn pas cher, nike free, vans pas cher, north face, nike roshe run, nike air force, nike air max, hollister, sac louis vuitton, burberry pas cher, oakley pas cher, michael kors uk, ray ban uk, mulberry uk, north face pas cher, chaussure louboutin, guess pas cher, louis vuitton, nike blazer pas cher, air max, barbour, lululemon outlet online, lacoste pas cher, timberland, longchamp, louis vuitton pas cher, true religion jeans, nike free pas cher

oakleyses said...

bottega veneta, ugg boots clearance, north face jackets, herve leger, wedding dresses, insanity workout, jimmy choo shoes, soccer jerseys, ugg outlet, mcm handbags, beats headphones, canada goose outlet, chi flat iron, ferragamo shoes, ghd, ugg, canada goose outlet, uggs outlet, asics shoes, giuseppe zanotti, nike trainers, longchamp, soccer shoes, vans outlet, p90x workout, valentino shoes, north face jackets, mac cosmetics, mont blanc pens, nike huarache, babyliss, abercrombie and fitch, replica watches, uggs on sale, celine handbags, new balance outlet, reebok shoes, canada goose outlet, nike roshe, marc jacobs outlet, ugg boots, hollister, ugg outlet, birkin bag, canada goose, lululemon outlet, ugg soldes, instyler ionic styler, nfl jerseys

oakleyses said...

iphone 6 case, timberland shoes, louis vuitton canada, nike air max, moncler outlet, toms outlet, hollister, air max, moncler, canada goose, pandora charms, pandora uk, hollister canada, oakley, louboutin, converse, ralph lauren, wedding dress, ray ban, swarovski jewelry, baseball bats, parajumpers outlet, pandora jewelry, canada goose, gucci, moncler, thomas sabo uk, ugg, montre femme, canada goose pas cher, vans, uggs canada, swarovski uk, juicy couture outlet, canada goose, lancel, converse shoes, hollister clothing, coach outlet, links of london uk, moncler outlet, replica watches, karen millen, moncler, supra shoes, moncler, juicy couture outlet, moncler