From 1850 to 1970, the team estimates net losses averaged about 30cm a year; between 1970 to 2000 they rose to 60-90cm a year; and since 2000 the average has been more than one metre a year. Last year the total net loss was the biggest ever, 1.3m, and only one glacier became larger. Worldwide, the vast majority of the planet’s 160,000 glaciers are receding, ‘at least’ as much as this, says Haeberli, probably more - a claim supported by evidence from around the world.
In the European Alps, a report last year by UNEP said glaciers declined, from a peak in the 1850s, by 35 per cent by 1970 and by 50 per cent by 2000, and lost 5-10 per cent in the mega-hot year of 2003 alone.
The French weather service are predicting a repeat of 2003 this summer.