Rest in peace Pizol glacier, proud resident of the Swiss Alps, who recently died at a very old age after a short battle with catastrophic climate change.
A funeral was held on Sunday, September 22 to commemorate the loss of the Pizol glacier in the Glarus Alps of eastern Switzerland after it recently disappeared as a result of rising temperatures.
Some 250 locals and environmental campaigners donned hiking boots and black clothes to take part in a 5-kilometer (3-mile) hike up the mountain. After reaching where the glacier once lay, they listened to "eulogies" from glaciologists and a local pastor alongside traditional alpine horn music.
“Pizol glacier has disappeared. There will be some snow left, but the glacier is no more," Matthias Huss, a glacier specialist at ETH Zurich university told CNN. "Given what is left of it, we will no longer term it a glacier in scientific terms."
Pizol glacier lost nearly 90 percent of its documented surface from when records began in the 19th century, much of which occurred in the past couple of years alone. Glacier Monitoring in Switzerland (GLAMOS), the nation’s glacier monitoring service, said the Swiss glaciers were especially hard hit by the scorching European heatwaves this summer, reports E&E News.
The worst is yet to come, too. Switzerland is currently home to some 1,500 glaciers, however, a study from Apil 2019 found that the Alps would be mostly ice-free by 2100, perhaps even undergoing a 50 percent loss of glacier volume from 2017 to 2050.
"Glaciers in the European Alps and their recent evolution are some of the clearest indicators of the ongoing changes in climate," said lead author of the study, Professor Daniel Farinotti of ETH Zurich. "The future of these glaciers is indeed at risk, but there is still a possibility to limit their future losses."
Iceland recently held a similar ceremony for a perished glacier Okjökull in Borgarfjörður. Okjökull was the first glacier in Iceland to lose its title because of global warming back in 2014, but it was formerly memorized with a plaque installed this summer by scientists from Rice University in Texas.
Make no mistake, all of this is a symptom of human-driven climate change. As greenhouse gasses continue to be carelessly pumped into Earth’s atmosphere, our planet will retain increasingly more heat, resulting in a rise in global temperatures. Most parts of the world will take a hit – indeed, many already are – but the impact is anticipated to impact the coldest parts of our planet most acutely.