Glaciers in the Swiss Alps lost more ice this year than in any year in over a century of recorded data, as low snowfall and two brutal heatwaves combined to melt off 3 cubic kilometers — 6% of their total volume. The amount of ice lost was nearly double the previous record, set in 2003, the Swiss Glacier Monitoring Network (GLAMOS) reported.
“We are seeing model results expected a few decades in the future are happening now,” GLAMOS head Matthias Huss told Reuters. “I did not expect to see such an extreme year so early in the century.” Switzerland is home to more than half the Alps’ glaciers where temperatures are rising at about double the global average. Glaciologists across Europe also told Reuters glaciers in their countries are also on track for record losses. The melting ice was also spurred on by dust blown north from the Sahara. (Reuters, AP, Al Jazeera, Reuters; Climate Signals background: Glacier and ice sheet melt)