WATCH: 3D models show how climate change could shrink Swiss Aletsch glacier

What will Switzerland’s majestic Aletsch Glacier look like in the year 2100 in the face of climate change?

WATCH: 3D models show how climate change could shrink Swiss Aletsch glacier
The Aletsch Glacier is a popular tourist destination. Photo: AFP

That is what scientists at Zurich’s ETH technical university recently set out to discover, and the results do not make for happy reading.

According to the projections, the absolute best-case scenario is that the 23-kilometre long glacier – the largest in the Alps – will lose 'only’ half of its ice volume and length by the end of this century.

But that will only happen if global warming is keep below 2C and there is a huge reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.

“Even in this case, we have to assume that the Aletsch Glacier will keep retreating until the end of the century,” said study co-author Guillaume Jouvet from the ETH’s Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology in comments on the university's website.

This is because large glaciers react slowly to climate change.

Together with fellow team member Matthias Huss, Jouvet created 3D computer models of the complex Aletsch Glacier system in a bid to see what different levels of climate change would mean.

In the extreme example of a 4–8C rise in Swiss temperatures, the glacier would be all but gone by 2100, the study published in the Journal of Glaciology shows.

It also suggests that even if the Swiss climate were to hypothetically remain as it has been for the last 30 years, the Aletsch would still lose more than a third of its volume by the end of the century.

On the other hand, if the climate of the last ten years is taken as a reference point, more than 50 percent of the glacier would disappear.

READ ALSO: Swiss group plans farewell for 'dead' Pizol Glacier

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English-speaking churches in France launch climate campaign

English-speaking churches in France and across Europe have launched a massive environmental campaign ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow next month.  

A chimney belches out smoke as a haze of pollution hangs over the city of Lyon in southeast France
Photo: Philippe Desmazes / AFP

The European Interfaith Climate Campaign is intended to promote ‘rapid, transformative change to avert climate catastrophe’. 

The American Church in Paris, Quakers of France, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Paris, the American International Church in London, and 0.6 Planet have teamed up to ‘work together to shed light on the systemic and structural issues blocking a sustainable future and climate justice for all people’, the group said in a statement.

Events taking place at the American Church in Paris include:

  • Climate Sunday-themed services on October 31st at 11am and 2pm
  • Children attending the church are creating “prayer boats” to go to COP26.
  • The founder of 0.6 Planet, Monica Bassett, will headline at a Zoom event on November 2nd between 7.30pm and 9pm to discuss her new life in a French ecovillage in the Dordogne, where she has drastically cut her consumption and carbon footprint.

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Paris has a full programme as well:

  • Six Eco-Weeks Challenges and online conversations on Thursday evenings: from October 4th to November 12th.
  • Climate Sunday Service: in-person & live-streamed on October 17th, at 10:30am: “A Call for Change” (intergenerational focus)
  • Virtual Watch Party on Sunday, October 24th, at 11 am: “The Wisdom to Survive” documentary, followed by a on discussion: