On thin ice

Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

THE best clues to the ongoing global warming debate can be had from the world's glaciers. Ice is melting at a much faster rate in the Alpine region since the '80s causing concern for nations like Austria, Switzerland, and France. Estimates state that one-third to one-half of the ice cover has vanished over the last century. And a "warmer world is a wetter world", says John Houghton, chairperson of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Glaciologists are focusing their studies on the Alpine glaciers as "they are among the best indicators we have of a warming or cooling world", according to Wilfried Haeberli, director, World Glacier Monitoring Service in Zurich, Switzerland. The objective is to check if the thinning of glaciers is a natural phenomenon or occurs due to human activities. IPCC's latest report has referred to the melting of mountain glaciers as evidence of global warming caused mainly by human-made activities.

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