Edition:
United Kingdom
Pictures | Tue Nov 26, 2019 | 4:05am GMT

Photos show dramatic Swiss glacier retreat

A handout picture of the Gorner Glacier taken in 1863 in Zermatt, Switzerland and released by ETH Library Zurich, is seen displayed at the same location on August 25, 2019. Where mighty glaciers once spilled into Swiss valleys like frozen rivers of ice, a residue of gray scree and boulders remains, spliced through with raging streams.

A Reuters montage of images - showing photos of modern-day mountain landscapes next to archive shots of the same scenes decades earlier - reveals the dramatic change.

REUTERS/Denis Balibouse Glaziologische Kommission der Akademie der Naturwissenschaften Schweiz/ETH Library Zurich/Handout via REUTERS

A handout picture of the Gorner Glacier taken in 1863 in Zermatt, Switzerland and released by ETH Library Zurich, is seen displayed at the same location on August 25, 2019. Where mighty glaciers once spilled into Swiss valleys like frozen rivers of...more

A handout picture of the Gorner Glacier taken in 1863 in Zermatt, Switzerland and released by ETH Library Zurich, is seen displayed at the same location on August 25, 2019. Where mighty glaciers once spilled into Swiss valleys like frozen rivers of ice, a residue of gray scree and boulders remains, spliced through with raging streams. A Reuters montage of images - showing photos of modern-day mountain landscapes next to archive shots of the same scenes decades earlier - reveals the dramatic change. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse Glaziologische Kommission der Akademie der Naturwissenschaften Schweiz/ETH Library Zurich/Handout via REUTERS
Close
1 / 17
The Aletsch Glacier is pictured from the Eggishorn between 1860 and 1877 in Fieschertal, Switzerland. More than 500 Swiss glaciers have already vanished, and the government says 90% of the remaining 1,500 will go by the end of the century if nothing is done to cut emissions.

Adolphe Braun/Glaziologische Kommission der Akademie der Naturwissenschaften Schweiz/ETH Library Zurich/Handout via REUTERS

The Aletsch Glacier is pictured from the Eggishorn between 1860 and 1877 in Fieschertal, Switzerland. More than 500 Swiss glaciers have already vanished, and the government says 90% of the remaining 1,500 will go by the end of the century if nothing...more

The Aletsch Glacier is pictured from the Eggishorn between 1860 and 1877 in Fieschertal, Switzerland. More than 500 Swiss glaciers have already vanished, and the government says 90% of the remaining 1,500 will go by the end of the century if nothing is done to cut emissions. Adolphe Braun/Glaziologische Kommission der Akademie der Naturwissenschaften Schweiz/ETH Library Zurich/Handout via REUTERS
Close
2 / 17
People sit above the Aletsch Glacier in the Swiss Alps at the Eggishorn in Fieschertal, Switzerland September 4, 2019. Their retreat is expected to have a major impact on water levels - possibly raising them initially as the ice melts but depleting them long term. Officials fear the changes could trigger rockfalls and other hazards and affect the economy.  

REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

People sit above the Aletsch Glacier in the Swiss Alps at the Eggishorn in Fieschertal, Switzerland September 4, 2019. Their retreat is expected to have a major impact on water levels - possibly raising them initially as the ice melts but depleting...more

People sit above the Aletsch Glacier in the Swiss Alps at the Eggishorn in Fieschertal, Switzerland September 4, 2019. Their retreat is expected to have a major impact on water levels - possibly raising them initially as the ice melts but depleting them long term. Officials fear the changes could trigger rockfalls and other hazards and affect the economy. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
Close
3 / 17
A handout picture of the Aletsch Glacier in Fieschertal, Switzerland taken between 1860 and 1890 and released by Library of Congress, is displayed at the same location on September 4, 2019. In another archive photograph taken in the late 19th century in front of the Aletsch glacier - the largest in the Alps - a man sits on a boulder in front of a huge ice channel that merges with the main ice stream below. Today, they no longer join.

Congress/Handout via REUTERS

A handout picture of the Aletsch Glacier in Fieschertal, Switzerland taken between 1860 and 1890 and released by Library of Congress, is displayed at the same location on September 4, 2019. In another archive photograph taken in the late 19th century...more

A handout picture of the Aletsch Glacier in Fieschertal, Switzerland taken between 1860 and 1890 and released by Library of Congress, is displayed at the same location on September 4, 2019. In another archive photograph taken in the late 19th century in front of the Aletsch glacier - the largest in the Alps - a man sits on a boulder in front of a huge ice channel that merges with the main ice stream below. Today, they no longer join. Congress/Handout via REUTERS
Close
4 / 17
The Eiger, Guggi and Giesen Glaciers are pictured near the Jungfrau between 1890 and 1900 in Wengen, Switzerland. Library of Congress/Handout via REUTERS

The Eiger, Guggi and Giesen Glaciers are pictured near the Jungfrau between 1890 and 1900 in Wengen, Switzerland. Library of Congress/Handout via REUTERS

The Eiger, Guggi and Giesen Glaciers are pictured near the Jungfrau between 1890 and 1900 in Wengen, Switzerland. Library of Congress/Handout via REUTERS
Close
5 / 17
The Eiger, Guggi and Giesen Glaciers are pictured near the Jungfrau in the Swiss Alps in Wengen, Switzerland August 27, 2019. Landlocked Switzerland is warming at twice the global rate and over the last year its glaciers have lost 2% of volume, said Mathias Huss, who heads Switzerland's glacier monitoring institute GLAMOS which has data stretching back 150 years. "We have never seen such a fast rate of glacial decline since the measurements have started," he said. 

REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

The Eiger, Guggi and Giesen Glaciers are pictured near the Jungfrau in the Swiss Alps in Wengen, Switzerland August 27, 2019. Landlocked Switzerland is warming at twice the global rate and over the last year its glaciers have lost 2% of volume, said...more

The Eiger, Guggi and Giesen Glaciers are pictured near the Jungfrau in the Swiss Alps in Wengen, Switzerland August 27, 2019. Landlocked Switzerland is warming at twice the global rate and over the last year its glaciers have lost 2% of volume, said Mathias Huss, who heads Switzerland's glacier monitoring institute GLAMOS which has data stretching back 150 years. "We have never seen such a fast rate of glacial decline since the measurements have started," he said. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
Close
6 / 17
The Aletsch Glacier pictured in 1865 is seen in Belalp, Switzerland. Adolphe Braun/Glaziologische Kommission der Akademie der Naturwissenschaften Schweiz/ETH Library Zurich/Handout via REUTERS

The Aletsch Glacier pictured in 1865 is seen in Belalp, Switzerland. Adolphe Braun/Glaziologische Kommission der Akademie der Naturwissenschaften Schweiz/ETH Library Zurich/Handout via REUTERS

The Aletsch Glacier pictured in 1865 is seen in Belalp, Switzerland. Adolphe Braun/Glaziologische Kommission der Akademie der Naturwissenschaften Schweiz/ETH Library Zurich/Handout via REUTERS
Close
7 / 17
The Aletsch Glacier is pictured in the Swiss Alps in Belalp, Switzerland September 3, 2019. Some hope that politics can make a difference, especially after the Greens surged in an October election. The "Glacier Initiative" calling for more climate measures collected more than the 100,000 signatures required to trigger a referendum and will be sent to Bern this week.

But the glaciers will keep shrinking, scientists say. "The Alps will still be beautiful in my opinion, but they will be different," Huss said. 

REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

The Aletsch Glacier is pictured in the Swiss Alps in Belalp, Switzerland September 3, 2019. Some hope that politics can make a difference, especially after the Greens surged in an October election. The "Glacier Initiative" calling for more climate...more

The Aletsch Glacier is pictured in the Swiss Alps in Belalp, Switzerland September 3, 2019. Some hope that politics can make a difference, especially after the Greens surged in an October election. The "Glacier Initiative" calling for more climate measures collected more than the 100,000 signatures required to trigger a referendum and will be sent to Bern this week. But the glaciers will keep shrinking, scientists say. "The Alps will still be beautiful in my opinion, but they will be different," Huss said. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
Close
8 / 17
The Rhone Glacier pictured in 1849. Leo Wehrli/Verein Schweizerischer Geographie-Lehrer/ETH Library Zurich/Handout via REUTERS

The Rhone Glacier pictured in 1849. Leo Wehrli/Verein Schweizerischer Geographie-Lehrer/ETH Library Zurich/Handout via REUTERS

The Rhone Glacier pictured in 1849. Leo Wehrli/Verein Schweizerischer Geographie-Lehrer/ETH Library Zurich/Handout via REUTERS
Close
9 / 17
The Rhone Glacier is pictured in Furka, Switzerland August 21, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

The Rhone Glacier is pictured in Furka, Switzerland August 21, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

The Rhone Glacier is pictured in Furka, Switzerland August 21, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
Close
10 / 17
The Trient Glacier is pictured in 1891 in Trient, Switzerland. Glaziologische Kommission der Akademie der Naturwissenschaften Schweiz/ETH Library Zurich/Handout via REUTERS

The Trient Glacier is pictured in 1891 in Trient, Switzerland. Glaziologische Kommission der Akademie der Naturwissenschaften Schweiz/ETH Library Zurich/Handout via REUTERS

The Trient Glacier is pictured in 1891 in Trient, Switzerland. Glaziologische Kommission der Akademie der Naturwissenschaften Schweiz/ETH Library Zurich/Handout via REUTERS
Close
11 / 17
The Trient Glacier is seen in the Swiss Alps in Trient, Switzerland August 26, 2019.  REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

The Trient Glacier is seen in the Swiss Alps in Trient, Switzerland August 26, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

The Trient Glacier is seen in the Swiss Alps in Trient, Switzerland August 26, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
Close
12 / 17
A handout picture of the Trient Glacier taken in 1891 is seen displayed at the same location on August 26, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse and Glaziologische Kommission der Akademie der Naturwissenschaften Schweiz/ETH Library Zurich/Handout via REUTERS

A handout picture of the Trient Glacier taken in 1891 is seen displayed at the same location on August 26, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse and Glaziologische Kommission der Akademie der Naturwissenschaften Schweiz/ETH Library Zurich/Handout via REUTERS

A handout picture of the Trient Glacier taken in 1891 is seen displayed at the same location on August 26, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse and Glaziologische Kommission der Akademie der Naturwissenschaften Schweiz/ETH Library Zurich/Handout via REUTERS
Close
13 / 17
The Lower Grindelwald glacier is pictured in 1858 in Grindelwald, Switzerland. Glaziologische Kommission der Akademie der Naturwissenschaften Schweiz/ETH Library Zurich/Handout via REUTERS

The Lower Grindelwald glacier is pictured in 1858 in Grindelwald, Switzerland. Glaziologische Kommission der Akademie der Naturwissenschaften Schweiz/ETH Library Zurich/Handout via REUTERS

The Lower Grindelwald glacier is pictured in 1858 in Grindelwald, Switzerland. Glaziologische Kommission der Akademie der Naturwissenschaften Schweiz/ETH Library Zurich/Handout via REUTERS
Close
14 / 17
The Lower Grindelwald Glacier is seen in the Swiss Alps in Grindelwald, Switzerland August 27, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

The Lower Grindelwald Glacier is seen in the Swiss Alps in Grindelwald, Switzerland August 27, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

The Lower Grindelwald Glacier is seen in the Swiss Alps in Grindelwald, Switzerland August 27, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
Close
15 / 17
The Rhone Glacier and Belvedere hotel are pictured before 1938 in Obergoms, Switzerland. ETH Library Zurich/Handout via REUTER

The Rhone Glacier and Belvedere hotel are pictured before 1938 in Obergoms, Switzerland. ETH Library Zurich/Handout via REUTER

The Rhone Glacier and Belvedere hotel are pictured before 1938 in Obergoms, Switzerland. ETH Library Zurich/Handout via REUTER
Close
16 / 17
The Rhone Glacier and Belvedere Hotel are seen in the Swiss Alps in Obergoms, Switzerland August 21, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

The Rhone Glacier and Belvedere Hotel are seen in the Swiss Alps in Obergoms, Switzerland August 21, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

The Rhone Glacier and Belvedere Hotel are seen in the Swiss Alps in Obergoms, Switzerland August 21, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
Close
17 / 17

Next Slideshows

Our most popular Instagram photos of 2019

Our top Instagram posts from the past year.

25 Nov 2019

Week in sports

A selection of some of our top sports photos from the past week.

25 Nov 2019

Hong Kong democrats romp to local election landslide

Hong Kong's democrats romped to a landslide and symbolic majority in district council elections after residents turned out in record numbers to vote following...

25 Nov 2019

12 car designs that polarized auto enthusiasts

The futuristic, angular Tesla Cybertruck and 11 other automobile designs that have divided car fans.

22 Nov 2019

MORE IN PICTURES

Americans mourn Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Americans mourn Ruth Bader Ginsburg

People pay tribute to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a champion of women's rights who became an icon for American liberals.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: 1933 - 2020

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: 1933 - 2020

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a stalwart liberal on the U.S. Supreme Court since 1993, has died at age 87.

On the frontlines of the West Coast wildfires

On the frontlines of the West Coast wildfires

Images of hotshots, firefighters, rescue workers and civilian volunteers battling the flames in California, Oregon and Washington.

Photos of the week

Photos of the week

Our top photos from the past week.

Moria camp migrants pour into temporary shelters

Moria camp migrants pour into temporary shelters

Greek police moved hundreds of migrants stranded on the island of Lesbos into a new temporary tent camp, more than a week after a fire razed the country's biggest migrant camp.

Top Photos of the Day

Top Photos of the Day

Our top photos from the past 24 hours.

Israel returns to lockdown as cases mount

Israel returns to lockdown as cases mount

Israel enters a second nationwide lockdown at the onset of the Jewish high-holiday season, amid a resurgence in new COVID cases.

Fear and resolve at Philippine maternity hospital

Fear and resolve at Philippine maternity hospital

As the Philippines grapples with rising coronavirus infections, new mothers and medical staff at one of the world's busiest maternity hospitals face heightened anxiety during the pandemic.

California's ember skies glow from wildfires

California's ember skies glow from wildfires

Fires in California create an orange, glowing skyline as smoke travels into the upper atmosphere, creating a glow across the region.

Trending Collections

Pictures

Podcast