UN Report Reveals Glaciers Melting at Record Speed

A new United Nations study has found that glaciers across the globe are shrinking faster than ever before. The UN says the consequences could be grim for billions of people who depend on glacial melt and urges global leaders to act swiftly on climate change.

Glaciers across the globe are melting faster than at any point in the last century. Many could disappear within decades, and their decline could cause droughts and chaos for billions of people who depend on rivers fed by glaciers.

This was the sobering message delivered Sunday by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), along with a plea to international leaders to act swiftly and drastically to address climate change, which the UNEP says is to blame for the glacial melt.

Glacial melt is the “canary in the climate change coal mine,” said UNEP executive director Achim Steiner in a statement. “It is absolutely essential that everyone sits up and take notice,” he said.

The announcement was based on a study that tracked glacial melt at nearly 30 glaciers across the globe. Some of the most dramatic losses were in Europe; Norway’s Breidalblikkbrea glacier topped the list by shrinking 3.1 meters (10.2 feet) in 2006.

“The latest figures are part of what appears to be an accelerating trend with no apparent end in sight,” Wilfried Haeberli, director of the World Glacier Monitoring Service, a Zurich-based research institute that conducted the study.

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(red emphasis, above, was mine)

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