Venezuela Set to be First Country to Lose All its Glaciers

Climate scientists have downgraded its last one to an ice field. It’s feared a similar fate awaits the Alps with Austria forecast to lose all its glaciers in the next 50 years.

The International Cryosphere Climate Initiative (ICCI), a scientific advocacy organisation, said that the South American nation’s only remaining glacier – the Humboldt, or La Corona, in the Andes  had become too small to be classed as a glacier.

Venezuela has lost at least six other glaciers in the last century.

“There has not been much ice cover on the last Venezuelan glacier since the 2000s”, Dr Caroline Clason, a glaciologist at Durham University, said to the BBC.

“Now it’s not being added to, so it has been reclassified as an ice field.”

In March, researchers at the University of Los Andes in Colombia told AFP the glacier had shrunk from 450 hectares to just two.

While there is no global standard for the minimum size a body of ice must be to qualify as a glacier, the US Geological Survey says a commonly accepted guideline is around 10 hectares.

The glaciers in the Alps are melting fast, with the area seeing a temperature rise of twice the global average.

Alpine glaciers

Alpine glaciers. Image © PlanetSKI.

The Austrian Alpine Club predicts that the country’s 93 glaciers will melt with the next five decades unless action is taken on climate change.

Austria has the highest number of glacier ski resortss in the Alps.

In Switzerland experts said last September that that country saw 4% of its total glacier volume disappear in 2023.

It’s the second-biggest decline in a single year on top of a 6% drop in 2022.

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