Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features the Swiss Alps, where glaciers have melted more in 2022 than any other year on record.
“It was the latest downturn for the country’s glaciers, which have lost more than half of their volume of ice since the 1930s,” says NASA.
The photo is focused on the Tsanfleuron and Scex Rouge glaciers in western Switzerland. This year, these glaciers melted at a rate that is about triple the average over the past decade.
“The glaciers rest on different sides of a mountain slope, but they have long been connected at Tsanfleuron pass,” says NASA.
“According to Matthias Huss, director of the Swiss Glacier Monitoring Network (GLAMOS), melting during summer 2022 exposed a rocky path between the two glaciers at Tsanfleuron pass for the first time in several thousand years.”
Huss explained that in a healthy state, the pass would remain snow-covered all year. “But in recent decades, winter snow has disappeared in summer, allowing the firn and ice to melt. The record losses in 2022 finally exposed the bare ground between the glaciers.”
The image was captured on August 25, 2022 by the Operational Land Imager-2 (OLI-2) on Landsat 9.
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory/ Lauren Dauphin