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article imageGlobal warming puts Mont Blanc Glacier at risk of collapse

By Karen Graham     Sep 26, 2019 in Environment
Courmayeur - Italian authorities have closed off roads and evacuated homes after experts warned that a portion of a Mont Blanc glacier is at risk of collapse.
On Tuesday, Courmayeur Mayor Stefano Miserocchi signed an order closing roads in the Val Ferret on the Italian side of Mont Blanc, after experts from the Fondazione Montagna Sicura (Safe Mountains Foundation) warned that a section of the glacier was sliding at speeds of 50-60cm (16-23in) per day, reports the BBC.
Rapidly retreating glaciers, an important source of freshwater, are among the many symptoms of the human-made climate crisis. "These phenomena once again show how the mountain is going through a period of major change due to climate factors and, therefore, it is particularly vulnerable," said Courmayeur Mayor Stefano Miserocchi, reports ANSA.it.
As an added precaution, a radar system was installed on the Grande Jorasses peak of the Mont Blanc massif on Wednesday, according to CTV News Canada. The radar will give officials constant data on any movements, down to a millimeter, compared to satellite imagery already in place that takes longer to process.
Mont Blanc is Europe's highest peak and is a dangerous climb even in the height of summer
Mont Blanc is Europe's highest peak and is a dangerous climb even in the height of summer
JEFF PACHOUD, AFP/File
Up to 250,000 cubic meters (8,828,667 cubic feet) of ice is in danger of sliding off the Planpincieux glacier on the Grandes Jorasses peak. Mayor Miserocchi says the glacier has been closely monitored since 2013, mainly to detect the speed of the melting.
While there is no way to precisely determine when the break will occur, officials do know that the rate of movement has significantly increased. “There are currently no empirical models or methods that can enable quantitative predictions in the case of glaciers with sliding dynamics such as Planpincieux,” Miserocchi added, reports The Guardian.
The warning comes as leaders meet in New York for the UN climate action summit. Italy's Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, said: “The news that part of Mont Blanc risks collapsing is a warning that should not leave us indifferent. It must shake us all and force us to mobilize.”
More about Mont Blanc Glacier, radar system, Collapse, Global warming, Roads closed
 
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