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World's glaciers melting at fastest rate yet.


The world's glaciers are melting at record rates, threatening the lives of the millions of people who depend on them for their water supplies, according to the latest figures from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

Data collected from 30 glaciers in nine mountain ranges by the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) have shown that the average rate of melting has increased from 30 centimetres a year between 1980 and 1999 to around 1.4 metres in 2006, with the most significant increase occurring between 2005 and 2006, when the rate rose by almost a metre. During this time, only one glacier, Echaurren Norte in Chile, showed any evidence of thickening.

'The latest figures are part of what appears to be an accelerating trend with no apparent end in sight" said Professor Wilfried Haeberli, WGMS director. 'This continues the trend in accelerated ice loss during the past two and a half decades and brings the total loss since 1980 to more than 10.5 metres of water equivalent [the amount of water contained in the glacier].'

Hundreds of millions of people around the world rely on glaciers as sources of water for agriculture, industry, power generation and everyday use. 'There are many canaries emerging in the climate change coal mine,' said Achim Steiner, UN under-secretary general and executive director of the UNER 'The glaciers are perhaps among those making the most noise and it is absolutely essential that everyone sits up and takes notice:

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Comment:World's glaciers melting at fastest rate yet.
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 1, 2008
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