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'Glacier melting hits record levels in Switzerland'

In this file photo taken on October 01, 2019 This picture taken on October 01, 2019 shows the surface of Aletsch glacier above Bettmeralp, Swiss Alps. (AFP Photo)

Switzerland's glacier melting hit record levels as the summer heatwaves of 2019 were some of the hottest in history, according to a group of Swiss scientists.

The Cryospheric Commission of the Swiss Academy of Sciences reported on Tuesday that this year's glacier melting led to major losses of ice volume.

"Switzerland's glaciers have thus shrunk by 10% over the past five years," the Swiss Academy of Sciences said in a statement.

The statement said that the amount of snow and ice melting on Swiss glaciers during the two-week extreme heat period this June and July was equal to the country's whole annual drinking water consumption.

"Altogether, over the past five years, the loss exceeds 10%-a rate of decline never previously observed in the time series extending back for more than a century," it added.

Especially in eastern Switzerland and on the northern part of the Alps, losses were higher than the average for the last decade, it said.

"More than 500 glaciers have already disappeared since around the 1900s," it said.

Extreme heatwaves due to climate change are seen as the one of the world's most pressing issues.

The Swiss academy was founded in 1815.

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