VIENNA, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- Humans ended a so-called "Little Ice Age" in the alps during the industrialization of Europe, Austrian and American researchers have claimed, their results reported in the journal "PNAS," and shared with local media Monday.
The researchers investigated the previously puzzling decline of alpine glaciers between 1860 and 1930.
They concluded that increased soot emissions as a result of the industrialization are to blame for the glacial melt, as soot in the atmosphere was deposited on the glaciers via precipitation, and once there led to an increased absorption of sunlight.
Prior to this, in particular from the 15th Century to the mid-19th Century, long, cold winters and cool rainy summers led to an advance of the glaciers, hence the "Little Ice Age" name.
From 1860 to 1930 however the glaciers retreated by an average of one kilometre, despite the weather conditions being favorable for continued advancement, the researchers, led by Georg Kaser from the Institute of Meteorology and Geophysics at the University of Innsbruck, together with U.S. counterparts, said.
The researchers, partially funded by NASA, demonstrated the effects of the human impact on the glaciers via computer simulation, something they now wish to do in other parts of the world such as in the Himalaya region, the Austria Press Agency reported.