Posted on: 03 March 2014 by davidof

European glaciers halt retreat

According to an article by Antoine Chandellier the return to snowier winters over the last few years has meant that the retreat of some European glaciers has slowed and others are even growing again.

Despite the sixth hottest year since 1860 measures on the effect on glaciers in the Mont-Blanc range, in the Oisans and in the Vanoise show that 2013 was “less negative than previous years” according to specialist Christian Vincent. The Tête Rousse above Saint-Gervais which is closely monitored due to an underground lake even gained ice. The Argentière at Chamonix and Gébroulaz above Meribel only lost 40cm.

The snouts also retreated much less than has been usual since 1990. The glacier du Bossons and Mer de Glace were stable even if the latter lost 150cm depth on average. The Mer de Glace has retreated 650 meters since 1994, 1.2km over the last 100 years. The Argentière glacier retreated 14 meters, half of the normal retreat over the last 20 years.

In the Oisans the Glacier Blanc gained volume for the third time in 14 years. In 2001 is gained 115cm depth, in 2008 21cm and last year 35cm. Snowfall was a third higher than normal. However in the Grandes Rousses, which is drier than other areas, the Saint-Sorlin glacier lost 96cm and the Sarenne, 137cm. Vincent says the Sarenne does not accumulate much snow and will disappear in by 2035.

There are two reasons for the figures. Snowfall in 2013 was above average and continued well into to the late spring when glaciers usually start to melt. In the Northern Alps it was one of the five best winters for 30 years. Even if the average temperature was warm summer did not see a heat-wave. The previous winter (2011/12) also saw good snowfall and the current winter has also been very humid with near record snowfalls in some areas, especially the Oisans.


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