July 26, 2011

Sommelier Glacier, France Disappearing

Posted by Mauri Pelto

Index list of over 100 glaciers examined to date
The Sommelier Glacier is close up against the France-Italy border. The glacier is on the north side of Punta Sommelier centered on 3000 meters. The glacier has retreated 1800 meters from its Little Ice Age Maximum and is currently 600 meters long. The most notable aspect of the glacier today is its thin nature and the fact that there are three separated and stagnant ice masses (B, C), the main glacier section is outlined in blue. The large deglaciated fluted moraine is noted by point A. Within the area of the main glacier there are several rock outcrops protruding indicating the thin and decaying nature of the glacier, note blue placemarks. Also note that the glacier has limited snowcover. Both of these indicate a glacier is not forecast to survive. This is not surprising for the Sommelier Glacier given the fate of the nearby Galambra Glacier noted by the Italian Glacier Commission, inn this photo pair from 1954 and 2009. This glacier no longer graces the slopes of Punta Galambra. Punta Sommelier likewise will lose its glacier cover. This is the trend of alpine glaciers in Italy, other examples include Dosde Glacier, Italy and Presena Glacier.