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Data reveal global glacier melt

Glaciers around the globe are continuing to melt at high rates, Swiss-based researchers have found.

Provisional data from more than 80 glaciers confirm a global trend of rapid ice loss since 1980, according to a study by Zurich University's World Glacier Monitoring Service.

Figures for 2007 published on Thursday indicate glaciers were losing an average ice thickness of 0.67 metre water equivalent (mwe). One mwe corresponds to 1.1 metres in ice thickness.

Around 30 glaciers under long-term observation experienced a reduction in total thickness of more than 11 mwe between 1980 and 2007. The average annual ice loss from 1980-1999 was roughly 0.3 mwe a year and went up to around 0.7 mwe a year after 2000.

The study authors said the average ice loss in 2007 was not as extreme as in 2006 but there were large differences between mountain ranges.

In the European Alps the biggest ice losses were reported from Austria's Sonnblickkees, the Sarennes in France and the Caresèr in Italy. The Silvretta and Gries glaciers in Switzerland recorded losses of 1.3 and 1.7 mwe, while in Norway some glaciers gained in mass.

The World Glacier Monitoring Service is responsible for the collection and publication of standardised glacier data from around the world.


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