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Glaciers melting at record pace

Zurich-based scientists have found that ice loss in glaciers reached record levels in 2006, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has said.

Results from the UNEP-backed World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS), based at Zurich University, showed high levels of thawing, attributed to climate change.

Researchers measuring the health of almost 30 glaciers across the world found that on average the ice masses shrank by 1.5 metres in 2006, up from half a metre in 2005.

The most severe loss was in Norway’s Briedalblikkbrea glacier. Chile’s Echaurren Norte glacier was the only one to grow thicker.

“The latest figures are part of what appears to be an accelerating trend with no apparent end in sight,” WGMS director Wilfred Haeberli said in a statement.

The UNEP warned that the thaw could disrupt everything from farming to power generation and winters sports. It could also raise world sea levels.

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