A new study by the Swiss Academy of Sciences has revealed that Switzerland has lost up to 6% of its glaciers this year. The study has attributed the fast melting of glaciers to climate change and other local factors. The findings of the study come just after a warm summer that was characterized by heat waves across Europe. According to the study, the rate of glacier loss this year has topped prior records a generation ago.

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“2022 was a disastrous year for Swiss glaciers: all ice melt records were smashed by the great dearth of snow in winter and continuous heat waves in summer,” the academy said in a statement.

Related: A photographer captures glacier melt over the years

The study was based on the data collected by Glamos, a network that monitors glaciers in Switzerland. The body documents the status of glaciers across Switzerland to key in decision making. Switzerland being the country with the largest volume of glaciers in Europe is a key pointer to the status of our environment.

According to Matthias Huss, a glaciologist from the Federal Polytechnic Institute in Zurich and heads the Glamos program, it will take decades for the volume lost to recover.

“We have a series reaching back for more than 100 years, and we have never seen anything that is comparable to this year,” Huss said. “It’s something that has been expected for the future that such extremes might come along, but now they are already here.”

This year, Switzerland faced a combination of unlucky factors that affected its annual snowmelt. Huss said that the snow cover in the Swiss Alps was very light this year compared to other years. Consequently, the glaciers had less natural protection against the summer heat. The matter was aggravated by a dust drift from the Sahara that blanketed many parts of Europe in spring. This led to a spike in temperatures causing massive snow melt across Europe.

“The world’s leaders have at least realized that something needs to be done to prevent the negative impacts of climate change,” Huss said. “But still, I feel that not enough is actually been implemented of the plans that are around.”

Via CBS News

Lead image via Pexels