In the past year, the fastest glacier retreat in the history of measurements was observed in the Austrian Alps. As reported by the Austrian Alpine Association (ÖAV), the glaciers lost an average of around 29 meters in length in 2022 – the highest value since the end of the 19th century. In 2021, the ice masses had shrunk by only 11 meters.

According to the Alpine Association, little fresh snow, a long and very warm melting period and the deposit of dust from the Sahara led to the sharp decline. Austria’s largest glacier, the Pasterze in the province of Carinthia, lost 14.7 million cubic meters of ice in the lower area last year. As a result of climate change, the Austrian Alps would become ice-free by 2075 at the latest, it was said.

ÖAV Vice-President Ingrid Hayek pointed out that the global melting of glaciers not only contributes to rising sea levels, flooding and mudslides. “The lack of natural water reservoirs in the mountains subsequently leads to regional drought,” she said.