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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Hallstatt Glacier shrank faster than ever

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I have been working in news websites for the past three years. I am currently an author at 24 hours world, where I mainly cover world news. I have also written for The Huffington Post and The New York Observer.
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The glacier has lost 2.9 meters in length, it was just as bad in 2015 and 2011 with two meters each, Klaus Reingruber from Blue Sky Wettanalysen summarized on Thursday in a press conference with the Upper Austrian environmental councilor Stefan Kaineder (Greens).

Due to man-made climate change, Austria is currently losing its glaciers.

Three quarters of the ice volume already gone

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With an area of ​​almost 2.4 square kilometers, the Hallstatt Glacier is the largest glacier in the Northern Limestone Alps. In the 1850s – at the height of its last advance – it measured 5.3 square kilometers and contained around 400 million cubic meters of ice. Today, 150 years later, three quarters of this volume has been lost, according to Kaineder and Reingruber, who has been analyzing the mass balance of the glacier in relation to the climate for 16 years together with the Institute for Interdisciplinary Mountain Research.

The ice thickness has decreased by an average of 2.5 meters in the past year, in some areas it was even six meters. The summer produced an unusually large number of crevasses and “if you look into crevasses, you see the end of the road,” Reingruber described the situation in some areas. The ice sheet is already very thin.

The causes of this year’s particularly large loss of ice were little snowfall in winter, the complete absence of snowfall in spring and early summer, Saharan dust, which colors the ice dark, and persistently high temperatures in summer. For the first time this year, the entire fresh snow cover of the winter has melted up to the summit. Reingruber’s conclusion: “The expiry date is not very far away.”

From today’s perspective, melting can no longer be prevented, he predicts. At some point the tipping point will be reached, at which point less water will come down the mountain than is currently the case because the supply has been used up. “When we talk about the ephemeral nature of Eternal Ice, we know we have a problem,” Kaineder summarized.

Source: Nachrichten

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