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Global Warming: the state of french glaciers
Global Warming: the state of french glaciers
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Iptc.Keywordsnature,pyrenees,france,mountain,global warming,glaciers
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Iptc.ByLineJ-F ITTEL/Club Alpin Francais
Iptc.HeadlineGlobal Warming: the state of french glaciers
Iptc.Copyright©photography: jean-frederic ITTEL
Iptc.CaptionGlacier de la Maladetta, Jean-Frederic Ittel 2005/Club Alpin Francais 1875 Glaciers are highly sensitive to climatic variation and constitute precious indicators for the study of the climate. Assessment of annual variations in the volume of glaciers provide a clear image of the climate in mountainous regions as they depend on both precipitation and surface energy flows, which are closely correlated with seasonal temperatures. Before the 20th century, observations of glacier fronts were the sole indicators of the state of alpine glaciers; even if they were quite imperfect, they show that the glaciers have rapidly retreated since the mid-19th century (end of the small ice age) and this tendency is general across the planet. Since the beginning of the 20th century, study of the variations in the volume of glaciers have provided a much more precise view of climate in the Alps. Throughout the last 20 years, the striking diminution of glaciers has resulted from a great increase in fusion, which in turn reflects considerable seasonal warming. From the time of the Industrial Revolution, we have been emitting enormous quantities of gas, essentially the product of fossil fuels (7,000 million tons of carbon per year, of which around 60% is absorbed by the oceans, the biomass and the ground, while the rest remains in the atmosphere), thus introducing an anthropic aspect to the evolution of the global climate. A number of models have been put forward which all show to different degrees, depending on various scenarios of greenhouse gas emissions, an acceleration of the process of global warming for the 21st century.