The ice caps in Patagonia are thinning by a meter annually

Thawing Patagonian Ice Caps: A Climate Change Alarm Bell Sounding for Europe’s Future.

The Patagonian ice caps, located in Argentina and Chile, are the largest in the southern hemisphere after Antarctica, covering about 16,000 square kilometers. Despite their vast size, these ice caps remain relatively unknown to many people. A recent study published in the journal ‘Communications Earth & Environment’ by the Nature group re-evaluated the volume of the Patagonian ice fields using remote sensing and satellite imagery.

The study revealed that these ice caps are highly vulnerable to climate change, containing 40 times more ice than all the glaciers in the European Alps. Led by Johannes Furst from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, an international research group estimated that the Patagonian ice caps hold 5,351 cubic kilometers of ice, with some glaciers reaching thicknesses of 1,400 meters. The study highlighted the dynamic nature of these glaciers, with some retreating while others remain stable.

The retreat of the glacial fronts is influenced by various factors such as temperature changes and precipitation patterns. However, one major factor influencing this retreat is the depth of lake basins into which these glaciers flow. Faster retreat occurs in deeper basins due to higher temperatures leading to increased melting rates. The speed of these glaciers exceeds that of European Alps glaciers resulting in an annual loss of one meter of ice per year. This loss not only impacts water resources but also has a significant effect on surrounding ecosystems and increases

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