The melting of glaciers has broken new records in Switzerland this year; they lost two percent of their ice mass this summer, while over the last five years, they have lost 10 percent of their volume altogether, which is unprecedented in the existing records spanning over 100 years.
The year began with severe cold and plenty of snow in January, with record snowfall in the eastern part of the country in particular, and the snow cover over the glaciers remained 20 to 40 percent thicker than usual even in the relatively cool months of April and May. In some places, there was still six metres of snow in early June.
But during the two week-long periods of intense heat at the end of June and the end of July, the volume of snow and ice melting on Swiss glaciers within just 15 days was equivalent to the country’s total annual consumption of drinking water, says an announcement issued by the Swiss Academy of Sciences.
According to forecasts, practically all Swiss glaciers may disappear by 2050. Simulations run by glacier researchers at ETH Zurich have shown that little could remain of the famous Aletsch Glacier, the longest, 23 kilometres long glacier of the Alps, although one third of this spectacular formation could be saved if international climate targets are met.
Source: MTI – Hungarian News Agency
“Ice is the canary in the global coal mine. It’s the place where we can see and touch and hear and feel climate change in action.” Internationally recognised nature photographer James Balog believes it is extremely important to pay attention to the processes underway in the polar regions.
Rising sea levels caused by climate change and global warming are an increasing threat to the Netherlands, so the Dutch have started using an innovative device, a storm surge barrier to protect against them. The world’s largest storm surge barrier was built in the south of the country, at Maeslantkering.
The typhoon raging in Japan has claimed more than fifty lives; the number of injured has exceeded two hundred.
As a result of climate change, humanity is expected to face growing numbers of destructive storms in the future.
The rising sea levels and melting permafrost caused by climate change are causing crisis situations in a number of places around the world, resulting in tens of thousands of people having to leave their homes, while important agricultural areas also fall victim to the changes.
Climate change is causing severe problems in Antarctica, too: recently, a piece of ice weighing 315 billion tonnes broke off the area, while scientists investigating satellite images covering an area of 5 million square kilometres found tens of thousands of meltwater lakes, which indicates severe problems.
Massive snowstorms hit a number of north-western and northern states of the USA on 29 September.
Monsoon rain accompanied by storms and lightning hit the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in India on 27 September. Tempestuous winds toppled trees and utility poles and tore off roofs, killing more than a hundred people.
On 24 September, the Fondazione Montagna Sicura (Safe Mountain Foundation) issued an avalanche warning on the Planpincieux Glacier, which is located on the eastern slope of the Grandes Jorasses peak.
More than a thousand people were evacuated or rescued in Houston, Texas, the most populous city in Texas and the fourth most populous city in the United States on 19 September due to Tropical Storm Imelda.