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Swiss Alps: global warming is revealing long-frozen bodies of lost travellers

Melting glaciers in Swiss Alps could reveal hundreds of mummified corpses, Frozen bodies of couple who vanished 75 years ago among those uncovered recently as global warming forces ice to retreat, Guardian, Philip Oltermann and Kate Connolly, 5 Aug 17, Swiss police say hundreds of bodies of mountaineers who have gone missing in the Alps in the past century could emerge in coming years as global warming forces the country’s glaciers to retreat.

Alpine authorities have registered a significant increase in the number of human remains discovered last month, with the body of a man missing for 30 years the most recent to be uncovered.

Rescue teams in Saas Valley in the Valais canton were called last Tuesday after two climbers retreating from an aborted ascent spotted a hand and two shoes protruding from the Hohlaub glacier…….

The discovery comes less than a week after the bodies of a Swiss couple, missing for 75 years, were found in the Tsanfleuron glacier in the same canton…….

Switzerland’s glaciers have been melting at an unprecedented rate, losing almost one cubic km in ice volume or about 900 bn litres of water over the past year. According to an investigation by Tagesanzeiger newspaper, eight of the 10 months in which the glaciers have lost the most in volume over the past century have been since 2008.

Since 1850, when glaciers covered 1,735 sq km (670 sq miles) of Swiss land, the total area has shrunk by a half, to about 890 sq km.

Police in Valais expect the bodies of many more missing persons to emerge because of global warming. “It’s quite clear,” a spokesman, Christian Zuber, told the Guardian.

“The glaciers are retreating, so it’s logical that we’re finding more and more bodies and body parts. In the coming years we expect that many more cases of missing persons will be resolved.”…… https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/04/melting-glaciers-swiss-alps-could-reveal-hundreds-mummified-corpses

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August 5, 2017 - Posted by | climate change, Switzerland

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