Alpine glaciers in Austria melting at record level

The Austrian Alpine Club claims that glaciers in Austria are melting at a pace that is unprecedented.

Since it started tracking the withdrawal toward the end of the 19th century, the Austrian Alpine Club claimed it had never seen a retreat as sharp as the one seen in 2022.

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“Never before in the history of the Alpine Club’s glacier measurement service, which dates back to 1891, has there been a greater loss of glaciers,” the organization said in a statement on Friday.

The Alpine Club issued a “red alert,” noting that the average length of the 89 glaciers they monitor had decreased by 29 meters, the largest average loss of glaciers in a year since the end of the 19th century.

The average length of glaciers had decreased by 11 meters by 2021 as a consequence of melting.

The lower part of Austria’s biggest glacier, Pasterze, lost 14.7 million cubic meters of ice mass.

Many parts of Europe experienced unusually warm and dry summers in 2022, and much of the Alps experienced a late-year lag in the onset of precipitation and winter weather.

“This result can be explained by a combination of the below-average amounts of snow in the winter, and another long and very warm melting period, which began around the transition from May into June and carried on into September,” the leaders of the Alpine Society’s glacier-measuring service, Gerhard Lieb and Andreas Kellerer-Pirklbauer, were quoted as saying in the organization’s press release.

Despite a recent pattern of alarming data, they predicted that 2022 would rank among the least promising years in the history of glacier research.

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