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Monday, April 4, 2011

Glaciers ‘melting 100 times faster than at any time in 350 years’ - 4th Apr 2011

The world's glaciers are melting up to 100 times faster than any time during the last 350 years, according to new research.

Scientists say the findings, based on a study of Patagonia, South America, have worrying implications for millions of people who rely on the slow moving bodies of ice for fresh water.

The amount of ice lost from the 270 Patagonian glaciers is equivalent to filling Windermere in the Lake District more than 1,700 times.

The researchers, led by Prof Neil Glasser of Aberystwyth University, analysed the rocky debris left by glaciers on the sides of mountains to work out how big they once were - and how much ice has vanished.

Since the Little Ice Age ended in Patagonia in the middle of the 17th century, the 270 glaciers that now cover an area of at least 0.4 square miles have lost 145 cubic miles of ice.

Because water is denser than ice that is equivalent to about 130 cubic miles of water.

Over the same period temperatures have gone up by around 1.4 C in the region, the scientists report in the journal Nature Geoscience. Read More