Austria’s glaciers shrank in 2012: study

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The Tiefenbach glacier in Austria on October 31, 2012 © AFP/File Alexander Klein

Une vue du glacier de Tiefenbach, à Soelden en Autriche © AFP/Archives Alexander Klein

VIENNA – (AFP) – Nearly all of Austria’s glaciers shrank significantly last year, with one glacier receding a record 97.3 metres (319.2 feet), the Austrian Alpine Association (OeAV) said Friday.

Out of the 95 glaciers measured, 93 retreated an average 17.4 metres (57 feet) in 2012 while just two were unchanged, the body said in its annual report.

One of the masses of ice, the Pasterze glacier that counts as Austria’s longest, showed the biggest recorded loss — 97.3 metres — since records began in 1879.

In 2011, the group found Austrian glaciers declined by an average of 17 metres, compared to 14 metres in 2010.

According to the latest findings, 98 percent of the country’s glaciers retreated in 2012.

“The reason for the declines is last year’s high average temperature,” said Andrea Fischer of the University of Innsbruck, charged with tracking the glaciers for the alpine club.

Fischer said she expected the country’s glaciers to decline further in coming years.


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