April 9, 2010

Austrian Glaciers Shrunk In 2009

The Austrian Alpine Association (OeAV) said Friday that about 90 percent of Austrian glaciers shrank in 2009, some by as much as 150 feet.

The OeAV's report said 85 out of 96 glaciers shrunk over the past year.

Oetz valley in western Tyrol province saw the biggest changes, where three glaciers shrunk by over 130 feet and eight by over 70 feet.

"The ice is very thin over large areas, so the glaciers are retreating very quickly," noted Andrea Fischer of the University of Innsbruck, who conducted the measurements for the alpine club.

One glacier went against the grain and expanded, but only by a few inches.

The OeAV said temperatures were higher than average by about 0.2 degrees Celsius in the winter of 2008-2009 and by 2.1 degrees last summer.

"This year too, the tips of the largest glaciers will disappear," Fischer said.

"There is a lack of new ice and coupled with high summer temperatures, this will lead to serious shrinking of the glaciers."


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