Austrian scientist warns of dramatic impact of melting glacier

15:59, June 30, 2011      

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The rapid melting of glaciers would not only alter local geological conditions but can also cause other catastrophic consequences and even endanger the lives of local residents, warned an well-known Austrian geographer Wednesday in Vienna.

Herman Haeusler, professor from the Department of Environmental Geosciences, University of Vienna, and leader of a project carried out by the European Union to analyze the potential risk of the glaciers in Europe and Central Asia, presented the study results at the University of Vienna.

The report reveals that most glaciers around the world are melting by global warming and are reducing in size and thickness; glacier melting has not only changed the landscape of local highland areas but can also trigger floods and landslide with high probability that would seriously endanger the surrounding areas and their inhabitants.

According to Haeusler, melting glaciers on the one hand could form a number of alpine lakes which might trigger great floods if they are overflowed and on the other, glacier recession will cause geological instability and induce landslides or even earthquakes.

Researching on the world longest mountain glacier, the Tian Shan Mountains in Kyrgyzstan, Haeusler and his team found that the huge glacier was melting. They also stated that alpine lakes were formed continuously by glacier melting between the northern and southern Inylchek, Kyrgyzstan, which spread almost every year.

Overall, glaciers in the world are continuing to deteriorate, he said. But he also added that he did not agree with views of some of colleagues, who believed that glaciers will disappear in 50 years, because current research results are not enough to support such a pessimistic forecast.

Source: Xinhua
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