Eternal snow is melting at a terrifying pace this summer

Eternal snow is melting at a terrifying pace this summer

Tony Mod

I could still find snow there until the summer, according to the travel documents of the cottage tour I took this vacation through the Swiss Alps. I stood at 2,500 meters and looked at the tops of the mountains around me. Nowhere to see snow.

It’s been hot in many holiday countries this summer, with back-to-back weeks where most of the day was annoying in the sun. The thermometer indicated 36 degrees when I started walking down the valley and backpacking. With altitude, the temperature decreased, but not enough to save eternal snow. A recent study showed that the travel papers for my hut tour were indeed old: the snow was melting at an alarming rate.

Scientists from ETH Zurich, among others, compared ancient stereo images with ice blocks on current glaciers. The result: Since 1913, more than half of Swiss glaciers have melted. More than half! In a time frame that does not make sense on a geological level.

Large thaws in high mountains lead to all kinds of problems. The reasonably predictable steady flow of melt water, which is important, among other things, for the supply of electricity through reservoirs, suddenly becomes an uncertain factor. Water levels in major rivers are becoming more volatile.

Below the tree line, the effects are already clearly visible. So Do bark beetles benefit from long, dry summers?. Under the bark, the larvae eat the wood and thus impede the tree’s absorption of water, and then die of thirst. If you want to know how it’s done, you should have a look at the German Harz Mountains. Where once a dense fairy forest, there are now huge bare patches.

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Of course, customization is possible. For example, forest managers insist on planting “climate-smart forests,” with more diverse species and species relatively resistant to a warmer world. And on glaciers, scientists like the Dutchman Hans Orlmann (Utrecht University) try all sorts of things to keep the ice as long as possible, for example by Giant white blankets Drape over it to reflect sunlight, or use extra water in winter ice towers Builds.

A Swiss glacier covered to protect it from the sun, July 2022.AP . image

It is a brave effort to use technical ingenuity to ease the pain humanity has inflicted on itself by doing so little to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for decades. But given the intensity and speed with which the impact of climate is already pouring on us, it is highly questionable how far we can “innovate” ourselves from this.

Suddenly I see a vision of the future. Summer vacation with my grandchildren, in Holland, on camp beds in A Cooling Center As is already the case in the United States and Canada, so people do not give up on hot days.

My grandson asks, “What did you really do over summer vacation?”

And I will answer, “Then we made the world warm by taking cars and planes on summer vacation to countries where it was much warmer.”

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