Thursday, December 8, 2011

Many glaciers still melting rapidly

Despite the recent controversies caused by the 2010 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report in which the UN climate body incorrectly claims that mountain region's glaciers could melt away by 2035 many world glaciers are still retreating rapidly such as Himalayan glacier and French Alpine glaciers.

Dr Rajendra Pachauri, IPCC chairman said that there is absolutely no doubt that Himalayan glaciers are retreating despite the error in the controversial 2010 report. He pointed out that they based its estimates and conclusions on measurements that exist which are therefore a very representative sample of what's happening.

Some researchers do not share Dr Pachauri's opinion and claim that the sample was not representative because there are in total 54,000 glaciers, covering 60,000 square kilometres, of which only10 have been studied regularly enough to determine whether they are actually retreating or not.

But there have been many other scientific studies which confirmed that most glaciers on our planet are in fact retreating.

One of the latest studies comes from Marie Gardent from the University of Savoie, and her team of researchers. They have assessed roughly 600 glaciers in French Alps and have concluded that glaciers in the French Alps have lost a quarter of their area in the past 40 years, from around 375 sq km in the late 1960s/early 1970s, to today's 275 sq km.

The climate change is believed to be a main trigger behind the retreating of our planet's glaciers. The increased amount of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere caused by excessive fossil fuel burning is increasing the global temperature which melts glaciers all across the globe.

Glaciers belong to the most important sources of freshwater available on our planet which means that their further melting might lead to severe water shortages in years to come.

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