Swiss Alps and Climate Change
While we have been hearing about global warming ever since I could remember, very people have actually seen first hand evidence of the enormous changes our earth is facing. Inhabitants of the alps however, can vividly recall how different the landscape looked a mere 50 years ago, and shudder to think at what it will look like in another 50 years. I stood in a spot, looking at one of Europe’s largest glacier’s and suppliers of fresh water.
With Switzerland making up only 0.4% of Europe’s land mass, it bring in 6% of the total potable water. Aletsch Glacier which is 900m thick, 23km long, and has retreated over 3km since 1870. Like many glaciers, the Jungfrau-Aletsch is a receding glacier, meaning that it is melting at a faster rate than it has a chance to replenish. While this is fairly natural, the acceleration in the recent decades has caused scientist to raise the alarm. They estimate that by 2100 the glacier may lose as much as 90% of its ice volume. Currently its shrinking by 50m in length each year, and retreating at the edges. The temperatures are predicted to rise twice as much in the Alps as the global average. Studying past ice ages and the carbon deposits in the glaciers shows, that there is a very significant relationship between greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide and glaciers.