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Articles / Earth Sciences

(AP) -- Most glaciers will disappear from the Alps by 2050, scientists told a conference on climate change Monday, basing their bleak outlook on evidence of slow but steady melting of the region's continental ice sheets.

Glaciers in western Austria's Alpine province of Tyrol have been shrinking by about 3 percent a year, meaning their mass decreases annually by roughly 3 feet, said Roland Psenner of the University of Innsbruck's Institute for Ecology.

The average density of glaciers in the Alps is 100 feet, "so it seems rather certain that there won't be any more glaciers in the year 2050 except for a few high ones that lay above 4,000 meters (13,000 feet)," Psenner said.

"The future looks rather liquid," he said.

Experts stopped short of blaming global warming, but called for a review of preventive measures to protect people living in Alpine valleys who could face a higher risk of flooding.


Source: 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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