Swiss glaciers have not melted as much in a year as they did in 2022, according to a report by the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT).
During 2022, Switzerland’s glaciers lost more than 6% of their volume. A combination of low winter snowfall and a series of summer heat waves caused the largest loss of glacier volume every recorded.
Ice loss in 2022 exceeded that of 2003, another year with severe summer heat, said SCNAT. In 2022, Swiss glaciers lost around 3 cubic kilometres of ice around 6% of the total. Until this year a loss of 2% of glacial ice was considered extreme.
The loss was particularly dramatic for small glaciers. The Pizol Glacier in the canton of St. Gallen, Vadret dal Corvatsch in Grisons and the Schwarzbachfirn in Uri have practically disappeared.
In the Engadine and southern Valais a 4- to 6-metre-thick layer of ice above 3,000 metres disappeared this summer. The average loss of ice depth across all regions was around 3 metres, exceeding 4 metres in places. Many glacier tongues are disintegrating and patches of rock are rising out of the ice in the middle of some glaciers, further accelerating melting.