According to research from the Swiss Academy of Science, glaciers in the Alps have already lost 2 percent in volume this year. While this compares to the annual decline over the past decade, it is very worrying, according to researcher Matthias Huss.

“The numbers are a bit lower than the last three years, when we had extremely high temperatures, but still the glaciers were losing a lot of mass,” he said, emphasizing that a 2 percent loss per year “is really a lot.” Even more worrying, he says, on the largest glacier in the Alps, the Aletsch, snow accumulation reached its lowest ever level this year. According to another study, in a century two-thirds to almost all of the glacial ice will have melted due to greenhouse gas emissions.

Rare traces

The melting of the thousands of years old ice does lead archaeologists to make new discoveries. For example, archaeologists recently found rare traces of hunters and gatherers who searched for crystals in the mountains 9,500 years ago. Climate change has thus led to a new field of science: glacier archeology.

Over the past two decades, special finds have been made in the ice that offer new insights about prehistoric man. The archaeologists must do their job quickly. Once the materials are released from the ice, they quickly decompose.

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