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Glaciers melt: Swiss get Italy land
BERN, Aug 20 (Agencies):
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Published on 20 Aug. 2009 11:41 PM IST
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Switzerland has expanded its border at Italy’s expense because of melting glaciers in the high Alps. The Swiss government on Wednesday approved shifting the border up to 150 meters into Italian territory in some areas. The changes were made after the Swiss Federal Office of Topography found that the watershed which determined the border in 1942 had moved because of melting glaciers and snow fields. Topographer Daniel Gutknecht says Switzerland has become “a little bit” larger but added “we won’t be correcting the atlas.” The Italian embassy in Bern said the change has already been approved by Rome. The shift moves the final stop of the Furggsattel Sesselbahn ski station near the famed Matterhorn peak onto Swiss territory. A two-nation commission agreed that a new border will be formed by ridges in the border region outside Zermatt as melting snow and ice and drainage are dividing the shifting terrain, the Swiss foreign ministry said on Wednesday on its website. Switzerland and Italy’s borders were first set in 1861 when Italy was still a monarchy. Posts marking the frontier are planted at points in the glaciers in Alps, where ice sheets are disappearing amid global warming at some of the fastest rates in the world. Their meltdown is making identifying the dividing line between Italy and Switzerland more difficult. The Alps have suffered more than other regions with half of the region’s glacial terrain having vanished since the 1850s, according to the World Glacier Monitoring Service in Zurich. Almost 90% of Alpine glaciers are now smaller than 1 square kilometre.

 
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