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Global warming is melting Swiss snowy peaks

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Global warming is melting Swiss snowy peaks

Global warming is melting Swiss snowy peaks

Switzerland's fabled chocolate-box landscape could end up a thing of the past because of global warming.

A new scientific study of satellite images has shown a sharp reduction in permanent snow.

Lucy Fielder reports.

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Global warming is melting Swiss snowy peaks

Switzerland's chocolate-box mountains are losing their snow at an alarming rate.

A Swiss study of satellite images over 22 years has found areas of permanent snow have shrunk by about five percent.

That's a loss of about 2,000 square kilometers - probably because of global warming.

The red areas on this map show snowless areas growing at the expense of the blue areas of permanent or plentiful snow.

SOUNDBITE (French) LEAD RESEARCHER OF THE STUDY AND RESEARCHER AT THE GENEVA UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE, GREGORY GIULIANI, SHOWING THE MAP ON HIS COMPUTER AND SAYING: "The areas with almost no snow have seen an 8 percent increase of their surface, which is a very significant increase, representing a bit more than 5,000 square kilometers of the Swiss territory.

What we have shown is the evolution of the snow cover in Switzerland over the last two decades, and what we have observed is that snow is gradually disappearing." Switzerland's majestic glaciers are also melting.

These photos show how far the Rhone glacier has receded over eleven years.

The Swiss scientists behind the study are now teaming up with climate change experts to confirm whether global warming has - as they expect - caused the changes.

Climate change is a growing fear for Switzerland's winter sports industry.

Warmer, shorter winters have already forced many European ski resorts to rely on artificial snow.




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