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Global warming changes face of high Alps

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TRIENT VALLEY, Switzerland (Reuters) - The Trient glacier looming ahead of me on a trek through the Alps this summer looked very different to the frosty heights that once provided ice for pastis drinkers in France.

Now the bare, eroded rock is testament to the ice's retreat under the warming effects of climate change.

In the 19th century up to a meter of ice was dug each day out of the glacier in southwest Switzerland, close to the border with France, and taken to Paris and Marseille for mixing in the anise-flavored liqueur adored by the French.

The ice grew back overnight.

These days, Parisian cafe owners get their ice elsewhere.

"Nowadays of course the ice is way, way, way up. It's amazing how much has changed there," said Kev Reynolds, author of a guide to a Chamonix-to-Zermatt walking route, who has made several trips through the valley since the 1980s.

"Vegetation will soon be setting in down there, where a few years ago there was ice." Continued...

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