Glacial Melt Hit Record in '06

Study finds glaciers lost an average of 4.9 feet of ice
By Laurel Jorgensen,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2008 8:33 AM CDT
Two tourists look at the ice structure of the Aletschgletscher glacier near Bettmeralp in the canton of Valais, Switzerland, in this 2007 file photo.    (AP)
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(Newser) – Glaciers shrank an alarming average of 4.9 feet in 2006, the UN Environment Program says—a dramatic difference from ice loss numbers in the ‘80s and ‘90s, when glaciers lost an average 11.8 inches a year. UNEP’s director pointed to "many canaries in the climate change coal mine," emphasizing that millions depend on glaciers for water, agriculture, and power generation, BBC News reports.

Scientists at the World Glacier Monitoring Service studied nine mountain ranges to collect the data, which found that Europe's Alps and Pyrenees mountain ranges were among the hardest-hit. The director of the monitoring services says the findings “are part of what appears to be an accelerating trend with no apparent end in the sight.”