Friday, December 11, 2015

Austria's largest glacier could disappear by 2050

Glaciers in the Hohe Tauern mountain range in southern Austria have melted at an extremely high rate this year, with estimations that the longest glacier known as the Pasterze could disappear almost entirely by 2050, it was reported Thursday.

The Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG) stated the glacier on Grossglockner, Austria's tallest mountain, has shrunk by as much as 10 meters in under a year.

ZAMG researcher Bernhard Hynek said the newest research results include a reduction in the thickness of the ice in the glacier of about 1.5 meters, the highest amount since the institute began measuring the mass of glaciers in 2004.

Hynek said the speed at which the glaciers have melted had increased notably. From 1969 to 1998, the glacier lost an average of 0.65 meters in ice thickness annually, while between 1998 and 2012, this had more than doubled to 1.41 meters.

ZAMG said higher temperatures in recent years are partly to blame for the developments.

The institute will start a project known as Glacio Live in conjunction with a number of Austrian tertiary institutions, installing webcams and automatic measuring stations to monitor the glacier.


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