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Switzerland’s Glaciers Are Becoming a Front-Row Seat to Climate Destruction

Scientists are racing to gather data from shrinking glaciers, as global warming melts ice from the Alps to the Himalayas with deadly consequences. 

Glaciologists on the Plaine Morte glacier.

Glaciologists on the Plaine Morte glacier.

Photographer: Matthias Huss

For most of its existence glaciology has been a slow-moving profession, but this year is different.

The belting heat waves that struck Europe over the past few months handed the specialists in Alpine ice sheets an unprecedented set of challenges. And some of their charges — like the Vadret dal Corvatsch glacier above the Engadin valley — aren’t going to be around much longer.