Swiss scientists say glaciers melting fast

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World Glacier Monitoring Service finds glaciers melting faster now than in the 1980s and 1990s.

ZURICH - The world's glaciers thinned by an average of almost 29 inches (74 centimetres) in 2007, indicating that they are melting twice as fast in the 2000s as during the 1980s and 1990s, Swiss scientists said Thursday.

The World Glacier Monitoring Service in Zurich regularly measures 80 glaciers around the globe.

It found that some Alpine glaciers lost as much as 10 feet (3 metres) of ice cover, while coastal glaciers in Norway actually thickened in 2007.

The rate of decline was less than in 2006, according to Michael Zemp, one of the scientists involved.

But 2007 was the sixth year in the 2000s that the glaciers lost on average more than 20 inches (50 centimetres) thickness.

"This means that the rate of melting during the 1980s and 1990s has more than doubled", Zemp said.

The 30 glaciers that were measured the longest thinned by an average of 40 feet (12 metres) since 1980, he said.

Glacial thickness is directly influenced by the weather during the previous year, while glacier length is considered by scientists to be an indication of long-term climate trends.

[AP / Expatica]

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