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Global warming melting Alps?

24.06.2004

Researchers propose that an observed rise in the ice-melting rate during the summer and an extension of the melting periods through October in the Alps may be caused by global warming. Vincent et al. analyzed more than 50 years of data showing the annual mass balance changes for two glaciers in the Alps and report anomalous ice melting that was likely caused by climate change.

The authors note an ice reduction of nearly half a centimeter [two-tenths of an inch] per day over the widely spaced glaciers, corresponding to a recorded 20 watts per square meter [two watts per square foot] rise in energy at the glacier surface since the 1950s.

The researchers note, however, that historical observations indicate that glaciers formed in the world’s mountainous regions during the Little Ice Age have slowly retreated since the end of that period. They suggest that the high ice depletion rates seen over the past 20 years is likely driven by warmer summer temperatures that may be initiated by human influences.

Title: Ice ablation as evidence of climate change in the Alps over the 20th century

Christian Vincent | Journal of Geophysical Research-
Further information:
http://www.agu.org

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