Alpine glaciers to disappear within decades?
Article first published online: 15 JUL 2006
Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 33, Issue 13, July 2006
How to Cite
2006), Alpine glaciers to disappear within decades? Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L13504, doi:10.1029/2006GL026319., , , and (
- Issue published online: 15 JUL 2006
- Article first published online: 15 JUL 2006
- Manuscript Accepted: 22 MAY 2006
- Manuscript Revised: 11 MAY 2006
- Manuscript Received: 21 MAR 2006
 Past, present and potential future glacier cover in the entire European Alps has been assessed from an integrated approach, combining in-situ measurements, remote sensing techniques and numerical modeling for equilibrium line altitudes. Alpine glaciers lost 35% of their total area from 1850 until the 1970s, and almost 50% by 2000. Total glacier volume around 1850 is estimated at some 200 km3 and is now close to one-third of this value. From the model experiment, we show that a 3°C warming of summer air temperature would reduce the currently existing Alpine glacier cover by some 80%, or up to 10% of the glacier extent of 1850. In the event of a 5°C temperature increase, the Alps would become almost completely ice-free. Annual precipitation changes of ±20% would modify such estimated percentages of remaining ice by a factor of less than two.