Glacier death in the Alps will change the mountains

Glacier death in the Alps will change the mountains

Dhe snow slope is something of a sacred place today. Legendary ski festivals are celebrated here by proud Alpine people, such as at the Swiss Chuenisbärgli above Adelboden, where the giant slalom winners are immortalized with their footprints on the village market square. The fact that the famous piste was not planted on frozen ground this time after the winter heat wave around the turn of the year, but in a spring-like green landscape, does not bother anyone here. If necessary, the snow comes in a helicopter, as recently in neighboring Gstaad.

If the sheikhs can afford their air-conditioned soccer halls, the mountain people can still cling to their artificial slopes. That’s how she sees herself. And if they could, which has already been attempted with sun-shading cloths, the Swiss would certainly also save the thousands of deep-frozen elemental forces under the peaks into the new, warm mountain world. Alone, even rich Switzerland will not be able to save its glaciers. Rather will the climate catastrophe, as is now conclusively attested by an international “Science” studywipe out half of the Alpine glaciers worldwide in less than four generations, even if the Paris climate targets are met.

the alpine glacier are in this context something like the canary in the climatic pit, because here the warming of the air is above average and the rate of glacier losses has recently more than doubled. The bird no longer sings when it runs out of air to breathe. Every mountain tribe has known for a long time that the air is actually becoming thinner in terms of climate. The mass and energy balances of Alpine glaciers have been negative for decades. However, what makes the new glacier study so explosive is the depressing certainty that everything is going much faster than even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, so often denigrated as apocalyptic, thought possible: our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be if the Paris Agreement continues to be broken and the world continues to heat up, have lost four-fifths of the glaciers.

However, glaciers are not just ice and snow, they are also frozen water. This is another reason why relics were carried to the great glaciers in the past. It could be that melodramatic again. Because who fills the water reservoir when the bird is silent, who helps the mountain farmers? So what will the chants of the ski parties sound like when silence falls over the rest of the mountains and only a faint drop remains?

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