Monday, January 22, 2007

Just in time for the Conservative's Environment plan to kick in

Glaciers May Vanish From Alps by 2050

Glaciers will all but disappear from the Alps by 2050, scientists warned Monday, basing their bleak outlook on mounting evidence of slow but steady melting of the continental ice sheets.

But at least the scientists are being sensible about the cause of this melting:

Experts at a regional conference on the Alps, held annually in the mountain resort of Alpbach, stopped short of blaming global warming. But they called for a review of preventive measures to protect people living in valleys at risk of dangerous flooding.


"Glaciers have been in a general retreat worldwide since the end of the last Ice Age," he said.

Forecasting their demise is problematic "because we don't know what scenarios there will be, and there are a range of scenarios. This isn't a weather forecast. But we are seeing an accelerated glacial melting."

In the 13 years spanning 1991-2004, twice as much glacial ice melted away in Europe than in the 30 preceding years from 1961-1990, climatologists say.

Perhaps this will increase the number of tourists at Ski Smithers, where there is 30 centimetres (a foot) of fresh snow last night, bringing the total accumulation to over 500 cm (over 16 feet).