Why the Glaciers in the Alps of Europe melting unabatedly? The rapid melting of the glaciers poses a scientific mystery. They started melting rapidly back in the 1860s. In a span of about 50 years, some of the biggest glaciers had retreated more than half a mile.
U.S. researchers have claimed that they have uncovered “strong evidence” for the melting of glaciers. According to them, soot, or black carbon, sent into the air by a rapidly industrializing Europe has likely caused the abrupt retreat of Alps mountain glaciers.
The findings, published in the U.S. journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may help resolve the scientific debate about why the Alps glaciers melting began in the 1860s decades before global temperatures started rising again.
According to the report, Central European Alps glacier records dating back to the 1500s show that between 1860 and 1930, loosely defined as the end of the Little Ice Age in Europe, large valley glaciers in the Alps abruptly retreated by an average of nearly 1 kilometer. Yet weather in Europe cooled by about 1 degree Celsius during that time. Scientists have long been puzzled as to why the mismatch between the climate and glacier records occurred.
“In the decades following the 1850s, Europe was undergoing a powerful economic and atmospheric transformation spurred by industrialization. Residents, transportation, and perhaps most importantly, industry in Western Europe began burning coal in earnest, spewing huge quantities of black carbon and other dark particles into the atmosphere,” the researchers said in a statement.
“When black carbon particles settle on snow, they darken the surface. This melts the snow and exposes the underlying glacier ice to sunlight and relatively warm air earlier in the year, allowing more and faster melt,” they said.