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Glaciers around the world found shrinking for 18th year

Researchers say pace of retreat is quickening

BERLIN – Glaciers from the Andes to Alaska and across the Alps shrank as much as 10 feet, the 18th year of retreat and twice as fast as a decade ago, as global warming threatens an important supply of the world’s water.

Alpine glaciers lost on average 0.7 meters of thickness in 2007, data published yesterday by the University of Zurich’s World Glacier Monitoring Service showed. The melting extends an 11-meter retreat since 1980.

“One year doesn’t tell us much, it’s really these long-term trends that help us to understand what’s going on,” Michael Zemp, a researcher at the University of Zurich’s Department of Geography, said in an interview. “The main thing that we can do to stop this is reduce greenhouse gases” that are blamed for global warming.

The Alps have suffered more than other regions with half of the region’s glacier terrain having disappeared since the 1850s, Zemp said.

Almost 90 percent of the glaciers in the Alps are smaller than 0.4 square mile and some are as thin as 30 meters, he said.

Bloomberg News

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