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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Swiss glaciers beneath menace once more as warmth wave drives zero-temperature stage to document excessive

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GENEVA — The Swiss climate service mentioned Monday a warmth wave has pushed the zero-degree Celsius stage to its highest altitude since recordings on it in Switzerland started almost 70 years in the past, an ominous new signal for the nation’s vaunted glaciers.

MeteoSwiss says the zero-degree isotherm stage reached 5,298 meters (17,381 ft) above sea stage over Switzerland in a single day Sunday to Monday. All of Switzerland’s snow-capped Alpine peaks — the very best being the 4,634-meter (15,203-foot) Monte Rosa summit — had been in air temperatures over the extent the place water freezes to ice, elevating prospects of a thaw.

Even Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest mountain alongside the Italian-French border at some 4,809 meters (15,800 ft), is affected, the climate company mentioned based mostly on readings from its climate balloons.

The brand new excessive altitude eclipsed a earlier document set in July 2022, a yr that consultants say was notably devastating for the glaciers of Switzerland. Readings have been taken on the zero-degree altitude stage since 1954.

“An exceptionally highly effective anticyclone and heat air of subtropical origin are presently guaranteeing scorching climate over the nation,” MeteoSwiss mentioned on its web site, including that many measuring stations in Switzerland have set new temperature data within the second half of August.

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MeteoSwiss meterologist Mikhaël Schwander mentioned it marked solely the third time such readings had been tallied above 5,000 meters — and that the extent was usually round 3,500 to 4,000 meters in a typical summer season.

“With a zero-degree isotherm far above 5,000m (meters above sea stage), all glaciers within the Alps are uncovered to soften — as much as their highest altitudes,” mentioned Daniel Farinotti, a glaciologist on the federal technical college in Zurich, ETHZ, in an e-mail. “Such occasions are uncommon and detrimental to the glaciers’ well being, as they dwell from snow being collected at excessive altitudes.”

“If such circumstances persist in the long term, glaciers are set to be misplaced irreversibly,” he mentioned.

A Swiss research final yr discovered that the nation’s 1,400-odd glaciers — probably the most in Europe — had misplaced greater than half their complete quantity for the reason that early Thirties, together with a 12-percent decline over the earlier six years alone.


Observe AP’s local weather and environment protection at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-and-environment

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