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International

How climate change is melting the Alps’ glaciers – in pictures

Most of the world’s mountain glaciers are retreating because of the climate crisis, but those in the European Alps are especially vulnerable. Smaller and with less ice cover, this year they are on track for their highest loss of mass in at least 60 years of record keeping.

Glaciologist Andreas Linsbauer and assistant Andrea Millhaeusler drill a hole at a measuring point on the Pers glacier, near the Alpine resort of Pontresina.

From the way 45-year-old Swiss glaciologist Andreas Linsbauer bounds over icy crevasses, you would never guess he was carrying 10kg of steel equipment needed to chart the decline of Switzerland’s glaciers.

Normally, he heads down this path on the massive Morteratsch glacier in late September, the end of the summer melt season in the Alps. But exceptionally high ice loss this year has brought him to this 15 sq km (six sq mile) amphitheatre of ice two months early for emergency maintenance work.

The measuring poles he uses to track changes in the depth of the pack are at risk of dislodging entirely as the ice melts away, and he needs to drill new holes. [continue]