"Millions if not billions of people depend directly or indirectly on these natural water storage facilities for drinking water, agriculture, industry and power generation during key parts of the year," said Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
An agency funded by the UN exists solely dedicated to measuring glaciers and compiling analytical reports is the World Glacier Monitoring Service or WMGS. Glacier watching is at least a century old, but this agency reviews the top 100 glaciers on the globe. Grim Swiss scientists announced they do not see an end to the present accelerated rate of melting, with Norway suffering the most damage, and the culprit is the same as it ever was, Climate Change produced mostly by humans and greenhouse carbon emissions, specifically three nations - China, India and America.
The culprit is climate change, according to data from the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS), based at the University of Zurich and supported by UNEP.
The centre drew its findings from nearly 30 glaciers in nine mountain ranges revealing that in 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 the average rate of melting more than doubled.
"The latest figures are part of what appears to be an accelerating trend with no apparent end in sight," said Wilfried Haeberli, director of WGMS.
There is a small beacon of hope on ice, Green economy measures may assist in slowing the destruction of these natural resources with the advent of alternative or renewable energies. However, corn based solutions or ethanol, is precipitating other crises because of the biofuel indu$try resulting in facilitating part of the sharp rise in food prices because of corn, a water sucking crop if there ever was one. Endangered wildlife, like polar bears and seals live on the ice shelves and are sloshing around in dwindling areas with their food supplies perishing as alarming rates.
Since 1980, glaciers have thinned by about 11.5 metres in a retreat blamed by the UN Climate Panel mainly on human use of fossil fuels.
The thaw could disrupt everything from farming - millions of people in Asia depend on seasonal melt water from the Himalayas -- and power generation to winter sports. The thaw could also raise world sea levels.
UNEP said glaciers were among the clearest indicators of global warming. "There are many canaries emerging in the climate change coal mine. The glaciers are perhaps among those making the most noise," said Achim Steiner, head of UNEP.
The WGMS monitors about 100 glaciers in total.
December 11, 2009 is a meeting of the minds to garner global committed political action on Climate Change in Copenhagen. The crippled and addled Bush Administration have slithered out of office and America will have a real president-elect (Obama) who will ensure America is at the conference to affirm and lead on this issue alongside a Nobel Peace Prize winner, who shall not be swayed from a course of painful actions that could save our overheated planet and the People of Earth.
Six Degrees: On A Hotter Planet is an order of magnitude of what happens with each degree of global warming. Million and potentially billions would perish in the very real risk scenario. Just saw the author, Mark Lynas on C-SPAN. He was quite lucid and chillingly logical while describing Doomsday on Earth due to Climate change.