The first month of summer is not even behind us and the glaciers in Switzerland have lost on average 30 centimetres so far this year versus 10 centimetres on average for an ‘ordinary’ summer in this country.  [Source: blog of MeteoSwiss (the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology), 15th July] Given the heatwaves we have had this year (close to 37 degrees in Lausanne, 40 in Geneva – see the photos posted in my entry dated 7th July), this does not come as a surprise to me. In fact, I had wondered last week in the midst of the heatwave about the extent of the retreat the glaciers would suffer this summer. Already a very bad start to this summer, it would seem…

Of course, I am not worried for the king of European glaciers, the mighty Aletsch, as, with a maximum depth of some 900 metres, it should still be around for a couple more hundred years, I would think (even though you can already gauge on this picture the extent of its retreat over a period of only 150 years):

DSCN3698_stitch Glacier of Aletsch, July 2013 (entry here)         [click to enlarge!]

However, I am less sure about its younger and more feeble ‘brothers and sisters’… For instance, the glacier of Trift has lost considerable ‘ground’ over a period of only 50 years: Glacier and lake of Trift as seen from suspension brige, 16 September 2012[click to enlarge!]

And the pace has quickened since the turn of the millennium – here is a picture shot in the summer of 2012 (entry here)…Glacier Trift 1948_E Gyger_VS 2003_M Funk…in contrast to 1948 (E. Gyger) versus 2003 (M. Funk) my montage.

I wonder how long the one below (called Glacier des Martinets) will last (which, unfortunately, I did not get to visit with my friend Jan – ‘Finally, I got to see them from near … but it was really frightening’); it is only a ‘baby’ one, so I do not expect much of it to be still around by the time I have to ‘leave’ our dear planet:

Looking down into gorge falling precipituously down to vallon de Nant 13 Oct 2012Yes, I was referring to this thin white strip on the far left of the picture (and I could show you pictures of this glacier that were shot a 100 years ago and you would see that it really looked far more impressive then)…

I am saying so because of the recent US-Iran deal, which was negotiated in part in this country (in Geneva and Lausanne, as well as in other countries) and which will unlock more petrol/oil consumption (and thus accelerate global warming):

WP_000499All this for a box of chocolates for Mr Kerry in Geneva earlier this year (at least he can speak French)

The chocolates did not act as a sweetener: Realpolitik did, in other terms, money (as well as Russia’s military might – check the oil and gas reserves of Russia and it is easy to guess who would like to lay their hands on these precious resources (remember Iraq, Libya, etc.), but the problem is that Russia could still cause considerable harm to the USA despite any first nuclear strike on the part of the latter).

Global warming, and this dawned on me only this evening as I was watering the tomatoes and other plants on our balcony (some of them in dire need of water), means that Switzerland (which is Europe’s ‘water reservoir’) is likely to be eyed with nothing less but strong concupiscence by some of its neighbours – yes, this neighbour of ours which is the most ‘nuclearised’ country in the world (you see, nuclear plants need a lot of water and in some parts of France there are already problems with the water supply in summer) and which intervened in Mali, guess why (‘uranium’ did I hear?).

This brings back to my mind that three years ago the annual war games played by the top brass of the Swiss army were predicated upon an invasion of our country by France (allegedly under the pretext that our neighbour would have collapsed as a result of ‘social dislocation’)…hmm, now I think I understand why our politicians were (and still are) so keen to give our military pilots some new fighter jets (preferably not French planes, they were thinking of buying Swedish* fighter jets) – despite the Swiss people’s vote against the purchase of new planes in a referendumRealpolitik, did I write earlier? Well, we all know that anything can happen, do we not (dare I mention Napoleon and his invasion and subsequent annexation of Switzerland some 200 years ago)?

PS I am on holiday next week, so maybe I could go and check the extent of the retreat of the glacier of Trift since my last visit…

[added 17th July] * They cannot buy ‘F-planes’ this time because Uncle Sam has been imposing all these heavy fines on our banks for more than 10 years now, you see… At the time, we were told (unofficially) that they (the Swiss decision-makers) had opted for the Boeing F/A-18C Hornet (instead of the French fighter planes) to secure new landing rights at US airports for the (now defunct) Swissair – ‘The main reason the Swiss Air Force choose [sic] the F/A-18 Hornet after a thorough evaluation was the top performance of this aircraft.’ [‘Boeing F/A-18C Hornet’, website of the Swiss Air Force, my emphasis]