SOURCE: The Guardian
DATE: August 24, 2018
SNIP: “Global climate change has serious and directly observable consequences in high mountains,” says Vincent Neirinck from Mountain Wilderness, a campaign group that works to preserve mountain environments around the world.
One of the consequences of climate change is the ongoing retreat of glaciers.
“In the Alps, the glacier surfaces have shrunk by half between 1900 and 2012 with a strong acceleration of the melting processes since the 1980s,” says Jacques Mourey, a climber and scientist who is researching the impact of climate change on the mountains above Chamonix.
Another key impact of climate change in the mountains is that it is leading to an increase in the number of rockfalls; more than 550 occurred in the Mont Blanc massif alone between 2007 and 2015.
The reason, explains Mourey, is that the permafrost that lies within cracks of rocks and cements them together is now melting.
“As the permafrost melts, whole sections of rock become destabilised and more prone to collapse.”
This is what caused the destruction of the iconic Bonatti pillar, a massive column of rock and popular climbing spot that collapsed in the scorching hot summer of 2005. Significantly, climate change is happening almost twice as fast in high mountains as compared to the rest of the planet.