Recent data reveals a significant 10% decline in Switzerland’s glacier ice volume over the past two years, surpassing estimates. Unfavorable winter conditions, marked by low snowfall, and elevated summer temperatures have accelerated this alarming trend, prompting regulatory scrutiny.
This rapid decline, with a 6% loss in glacier volume last year and an additional 4% this year, is the second-largest on record. The Swiss Commission for Cryosphere Observation of the Swiss Academy of Natural Sciences reported a total 10% reduction in ice volume over the past two years, underscoring the urgency for regulatory intervention.
The consecutive years of extreme melting have led to the disintegration of glacier tongues and the disappearance of smaller glaciers, like the St Annafirn glacier in canton Uri, where measurements had to be halted.
Attributed to diminished winter snowfall and heightened summer temperatures, this extensive ice loss has impacted glaciers nationwide. Notably, the south and east regions experienced a rate of melting comparable to the record year of 2022.
Canton Valais and the Engadin region observed substantial losses in ice thickness at altitudes exceeding 3,200 meters, surpassing values recorded during the notable hot summer of 2003. This alarming scenario raises regulatory concerns, emphasizing the imperative for enhanced environmental policies and sustainable practices to mitigate climate change impacts on Switzerland’s iconic glaciers.