Gletscher: So wichtig ist das „Ewige Eis“ - NIKIN EU

Glacier: This is how important the “eternal ice” is

Climate change is real and devastating natural disasters are becoming more and more frequent. Entire areas of forest are burning, animal species are becoming extinct - and there is another event that occurs very slowly, but has serious consequences: the melting of glaciers.

Climate change is real and devastating natural disasters are becoming more and more frequent. Entire areas of forest are burning, animal species are becoming extinct - and there is another event that occurs very slowly, but has serious consequences: the melting of glaciers.

Aletschgletscher

Aletsch Glacier, Switzerland

We at NIKIN are particularly committed to protecting forests worldwide. But it's not just the forests that are disappearing, but also the glaciers - global warming is bringing fatal consequences due to the water stored in the ice, which is being released more and more quickly and causing sea levels to rise. These consequences not only affect nature and the environment, but also us humans. We're in dire straits - and that's why it's essential to stop this rapid retreat of glaciers.

What exactly are glaciers?

Glaciers are ice masses that form from compressed snow. It's hard to imagine the incredible masses of snow that it takes to create the largest glaciers. In order for a glacier to form, various conditions must be met. The most important of these: there must be sufficient snowfall every year for a very long time. The snow must fall in such large quantities that less melts than remains. So there is a little snow added every year. In large quantities, the lightweight snowflake becomes a load weighing tons. Gradually the lower layers are compressed and turn into ice.

Always on the move

Since glaciers form far above the snow line, i.e. in mountainous regions, another element is added - movement. The heavy ice load doesn't stay where it is, but slides down into the valley. Only an inch at a time, but noticeably. As they do so, the ice masses shape, grind and scrape the landscape, carrying with them huge boulders and other matter that remain behind long after the glacier has ceased to exist. The traces of the last Ice Age can still be seen in Central Europe, which has now warmed up again.

Glaciers – they are the biggest!

Due to the compressed water masses, glaciers are the largest water reservoirs after the oceans - and therefore have a significant influence on the global climate. The largest glaciers in the world are:

  • The world's largest glacier is the Lambert Glacier in East Antarctica
  • The Icelandic Vatnajökull is considered the largest glacier in Europe
  • Jostedalsbreen in Norway is considered the largest glacier in mainland Europe
  • The longest in Switzerland is the Aletsch Glacier
  • The Malaspina Glacier in Alaska is the largest glacier outside the polar region
  • In the tropical zone, the Peruvian Quelccaya is the largest glacier
  • the Campo de Hielo Sur is the largest glacier in South America
  • In Germany the Schneeferner is number one
  • In Austria, the Pasterzen glacier is the largest
  • In the Caucasus, home to high mountains, the Bezengi is the largest ice mass

 

Breiðamerkurjökull, Vatnajökull

Breiðamerkurjökull (Vatnajökull), Iceland

Swiss glacier – acutely threatened!

Switzerland has a lot to offer in terms of glaciers. They are part of our landscape, but are acutely threatened by climate change. The Aletsch Glacier is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but the Rhone, Fee and other glaciers are also landmarks of Switzerland. In the last two decades, the ice giants that previously inched their way into the valley have retreated - often by several kilometers. Climate protection in Switzerland is also and above all glacier protection. Almost seven hundred glaciers are said to have already disappeared - the phenomenon is so striking that environmental activists have already held funeral marches for “dead” glaciers.

Why are the glaciers disappearing?

The ice masses are of course suffering from rising temperatures worldwide. The lack of snowfall is at least as devastating - because the glaciers are no longer “fed”. The result is that more ice melts than can be formed again. The glacier is, to a certain extent, regressing. According to experts studying the future of Swiss glaciers, most of the smaller glaciers will have disappeared by 2050. Fifty years later, only parts of the larger glaciers will still exist. This will affect the water balance and the stability of the rock and earth layers in the mountains, but also the fauna and flora.

Protect glaciers through climate protection!

In order to preserve the glaciers worldwide as a unique biotope, a global rethink is necessary. It doesn't help to debate for years. Every single person is responsible. And that means that we have to become more sustainable in our consumer behavior and our lifestyles. It won't work without sacrifice - but if we look beyond our own small surroundings, we will preserve the wonders of our world for our children and grandchildren. We at NIKIN would also like to work towards this.

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