Sonntag, 19. April 2009

Austrian glaciers still have fever

The measurement of glacier lengths carried out by the Austrian Alps Association (Österreichischer Alpenverein) showed a “strong degrade of the glacier-tongues” in the past years. During the period between 2007 and 2008, 10 of the total 94 controlled glaciers shortened between 33 up to 49m. “These valley glaciers still suffer from the extreme mass lost in the year 2003” explains the author of the study and glacier expert Prof. Dr. Gernot Patzelt.
From the studied glacier, 88 have lost length, 8 remained stationary and only 4 have gained moderate length (ca. 5m), this results in a mean length loss for the Austrian glaciers in the measurement- season 2007-08 of 12,8 meters, slightly inferior to the precedent years (22,2m, where all observed glaciers retreated).
The mean length reduction in the past 10 years resulted to be 14m per year.

The wet and cold weather until July 2008 prevented first the ice melt, but then a pronounced warm period at the beginning of August caused a strong degradation of the snow cover.

Length loss of the glaciers of the Ötztaler Alps (western Austria) in 10m intervals. The valley glaciers with their snouts extending in the valleys showed the strongest retreat and degradation of the studied Austrian glaciers, length gain could only observed by 4 glaciers in the central Tauern Alps (eastern Austria).

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