The glacier of Marmolada, at 3342 meters, is the largest glacier in the Dolomites. Thanks to its high altitude and northern Alpine exposure, it's one of the few glaciers in the scenic Italian mountain range that provides skiing at any time of year, even in summer. But in 15 years' time Marmolada may disappear, as a new study from the University of Padua confirms the iconic glacier is losing volume at an alarming rate.
The glacier in the last 70 years has now lost more than 80% of its volume, going from 95 million cubic meters in 1954 to 14 million today.
Marmolada is one of the most studied glaciers in the Dolomites and has been measured every year since 1902. Researchers attribute its rapid loss of volume to the steady increase in carbon emissions over the past few decades. Ten years ago, Marmolada was losing five hectares of ice per year, but now that has increased to nine hectares. If this trend continues, it "could lead to the disappearance of most of the glacier by 2031", added Professor Mauro Varotto, another glaciologist.