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Glaciers are a critical component of the earth' system and the current accelerated melting and retreat of glaciers have severe impacts on the environment. "Global Glacier Changes: facts and figures" presents the latest fluctuations of glaciers and ice caps and underlines the overall trend of glaciers' retreat.
The report, including numerous pictures, graphics and maps of worldwide glaciers, confirms that the average annual melting rate of glaciers appears to have doubled after the turn of the millennium, with record losses posted in 2006 for a key network of reference sites. If the trend continues and governments fail to agree on deep and decisive emission reductions at the crucial UN climate convention meeting in Copenhagen in 2009, it is possible that glaciers may completely disappear from many mountain ranges in the 21st century.
The publication was prepared in a joint project of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS). It was reviewed by scientists from around the world with expertise in the research and monitoring of glaciers and ice caps. This title follows `Global Outlook for Ice and Snow' published in 2007 and presents factual information on a range of glaciers and ice caps throughout the world in a concise and illustrative format, serving as a miniature atlas for a wide range of audiences.