THE RHÔNE GLACIER - Glacial Tourism Case Study

Facts about the  Rhône Glacier

Reasons for retreat;  Impacts on tourism

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  • Created by: Patrick I
  • Created on: 09-06-11 14:05
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Glacier Case Study Patrick Iddison
THE RHÔNE GLACIER
KEY FACTS
The Rhône Glacier is in the Swiss Alps
The glacier is a total of around 7.8km long.
It is the source of the Rhône River, and is a contributor to Lake Geneva.
RETREAT
As Earth comes out of the Pleistocene ice age, ice
sheets are melting and glaciers are retreating. It is
estimated that Alpine glaciers have lost 25% of
their surface since the 1980s. In this time, there has
been an accelerated thaw, especially in Europe.
The Rhône Glacier has been retreating since the
19th century, effectively since people began
recording its size. This graph shows the cumulative
retreat of the glacier in green, and yearly growth in
red. Although in some years the glacier has grown,
the very clear trend is that the glacier is retreating,
and has done by over one kilometre since 1880.
These images clearly illustrate the retreat of the glacier, and that it is not
slowing down. Within a few centuries, or even decades, it is likely that the glacier will be non-existent.
CAUSES AND IMPACTS OF RETREAT
There is a general consensus, supported by research and evidence, that shows global temperatures are
increasing. This is expected moving from an ice age into an interglacial period; however it is unclear whether
human influences are increasing the rate of global warming above what it would naturally be.
If the Glacier continues to retreat, tourism is likely to suffer in the area. Continued ablation and collapse of
the glacier makes it unsafe for hiking, and this takes money away from the area. In future years, if the glacier
is much smaller or gone completely, people will not come to the area to see it.

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