Switzerland is an Alpine nation in Western-Central Europe. It hosts some of the highest Alpine peaks on the continent. The 4,634 m tall Monte Rosa is the country’s highest peak. The Swiss Alps are home to some of the largest Alpine glaciers. Most of these glaciers occur in the Bernese and Pennine Alps. Four of the major drainage basins of the country, the Rhine, Rhône, Po, and Danube basins feature glaciers. Some of the largest glaciers of Switzerland are located in the Jungfrau-Aletsch protected area.
The Longest And Largest Glacier In Switzerland
The Great Aletsch Glacier is the longest glacier in Switzerland. The glacier has a length of about 22.47 km and a volume of 15.4 cubic km. The glacier encompasses an area of 81.7 square km in the Bernese Alps in Valais. The Great Aletsch is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Four smaller glaciers converge to form the Aletsch Glacier at Concordia Place. The glacier then moves down the Rhône valley. In its final stage, it gives birth to the Massa River.
The Highest And Second Largest Glacier In Switzerland
The Gorner Glacier has its beginning at an altitude of 4,193 m. This glacier is the second largest glacier in size in Switzerland. It covers an area of about 57 square km. With a length of 12.32 km, the Gorner is the third longest glacier in the nation. The Gorner is also located in Valais in Switzerland. The Monte Rosa massif lies to the east of this glacier.
The Alarming Trend Of Glacial Retreat
The effects of global warming induced climate change are already having an impact on the glaciers of Switzerland. All of these glaciers are steadily retreating. It is an alarming trend that is expected to adversely affect the water supply of the country’s major rivers and glacial lakes. The shortage of freshwater will, in turn, have a negative impact on agricultural output and domestic water consumption. Glacier-fed rivers will have reduced water levels that will lead to the generation of lower hydroelectric power from such rivers. Rapid melting of glaciers will also lead to massive floods in the initial stages and drought later on.
The Fastest Retreating Swiss Glacier
The glaciers of Switzerland are not all melting at the same pace. Some are shrinking in size faster than the others. The Roseg glacier has exhibited the fastest reduction in size among all the major Swiss glaciers. The glacier is located in the Berina Range in Val Roseg. The glacier was 4.90 km long in 1973. In 2016, its length measured only 2.42 km.
Monitoring Of Swiss Glaciers
It is highly important to monitor the lengths of the Swiss glaciers. The rate of melting of these glaciers is indicative of the severity of climate change. Although it is almost impossible to stop the glacial retreat, greater awareness may be created amidst the masses to adopt green lifestyles to check the rise in global temperature.
The Major Glaciers In Switzerland
|Name||Area 1973 (km²)||1973 length (km)||2016 length (km)||length change (m)|
|Rätzli / Plaine Morte||9.09||5.20||4.87||-1048|
|Vadret Tiatscha (La Cudera)||2.07||2.05||1.64||-1792|