February 8, 2006

Swiss glaciers retreat again in 2005, study shows

ZURICH (Reuters) - Glaciers in Switzerland again retreated
last year, a study showed on Wednesday, in a sign global
warming is taking its toll on one of the country's scenic

The Trift glacier in the canton of Berne had receded 216
meters in one year alone, being hardest hit by rising
temperatures. Out of 91 glaciers being observed, 84 had
retreated. Only seven had remained unchanged.

Not only did glaciers lose length, their volume also
diminished. The height of three glaciers closely studied in the
survey had shrunk by between 70 centimeters and 1.7 meters,
predominantly through a lack of snow last winter.

Melting glaciers pose a threat to Switzerland's thriving
winter sports industry and one ski resort started wrapping part
of its shrinking ice-cap in a giant blanket last year to try to
reduce the summer melt.

Scientists predict that global average temperatures will
rise by between one and six degrees Celsius this century. Even
a rise of three degrees could result in rising sea levels
because of melting snow and other natural disasters, they say.