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knocker

Alpine glaciers hit by heatwave

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I blame the jets flying over. :cc_confused:

 

 

Record-breaking temperatures in Europe are melting glaciers at an alarming rate and there are fears for summer skiing. The temperatures have now dropped slightly, but the heatwave is set to return.
 

The glaciers in the Alps have been hit hard by the current heatwave.

 

http://www.planetski.eu/news/7077

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No summer skiing in this part of the French Alps, but there is far less snow this summer than there was two years ago. Very little left below 2500m, not much below 3000m. And still the glaciers shrink - just been comparing photos of two years ago and now of the Glacier Blanc and the two year retreat is startling.  Doesn't seem to bother the local authorities though, they keep building more and more houses despite the late summer water supply vanishing before their eyes.

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I had picked up from the French press that the high Alps were being hit hard by the recurrent heat waves over there, but the French press were more concerned with the dangers to climbers and walkers from the conditions, quote:

 

"In the high mountains, climbers will face dangerous conditions: falling rocks, fragile snow bridges and snow couloir and unstable ice".

 

So that's a very interesting and comprehensive article from planetski with their focus on glacier and skiing conditions. Thanks for posting knocker.

 

I've just posted in the France Weather thread that the country is about to experience another 3 or 4 day heat wave, starting today. A glance at the temperature forecasts for the Tignes glacier shows daily highs of 8C to 9C over the next few days. Even at night the 0C isotherm remains stubbornly high at 4,500m, so another period of 24 hour melt about to start.

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The Grande Motte glacier in Tignes appears to be suffering from the ongoing summer heat in these pictures published today in Le Dauphine.

 

post-20040-0-44605700-1438025877_thumb.j  post-20040-0-21575300-1438025964_thumb.j

 

Extracts from the report:

 

At over 3300 meters above sea level at the foot of the Grande Motte (Tignes) at the cable car, you can enjoy the freshness, between 5 and 7 ° C. One exception to the furnace of the valley, but to fix the snowpack, such a temperature is insufficient: long black stripes licking the side of the mountain and a little further down, nothing covers the earth and stones. Where we breathe deeply, the glacier of the Grande Motte suffocates and suffers.

 

The glacier is not meant to close for summer skiing until 9th August, however...

 

"Maybe before, worries an employee of the station, if the temperatures do not drop".

 

http://www.ledauphine.com/savoie/2015/07/26/le-ski-d-ete-est-il-menace-par-le-rechauffement-climatique

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Looking back at July, analysis published by Meteo-France today shows it was a record breaking month for heat in many parts of the Alps:

 

Many all-time records (broken) in the Alps
 
In Switzerland, some areas experienced their hottest month since records began. This is the case in western Switzerland, Valais, south of the Alps and in the Engadine. In Lugano and Sion, well ahead of previous records. In other regions, July 2015 has been one of the hottest three months since measurements began, 150 years ago.
 
In Austria, there has been a national anomaly of 3.0 degrees to the normal, which makes this month the hottest July since records began. In Klagenfurt, Innsbruck and Linz, it is even the hottest month of all months.
 
In France, the Alpine resorts of Chamonix, Embrun, Saint-Auban, Bourg-Saint-Maurice, Val d'Isere, Barcelonnette, equal or better - sometimes significantly - their record for the hottest month since records began.
 
850hPa temperature anomaly for July 2015 versus 1981-2010 average (courtesy of Meteo-France):
 
post-20040-0-49028600-1438714243_thumb.p
 

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Hello Malcolm,

 

Can vouch for the searing heat in these parts. July records broken. Another swath of hot air mass into our region by Tues/ Wed next week with temps widely forecast to reach 38C. Glaciers are taking a real bashing. Got a hiking party coming out next week. I think a shaded route through the Gontal Valley will be the favourite. Some big storms likely to follow next weeks heat, so will be on storm watch.

 C

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The pain is set to continue for the Alpine glaciers, with another heat wave expected over the coming week. ECM 850 hPa charts confirm the +20C isotherm will be across the Alps for 5 of the next 7 days. This article published by Le Dauphine today:

 

The heat wave has further accelerated the melting of Alpine glaciers
The summer of 2015 will make matters worse. After the heat wave and a record broken in July (38.8 ° C on July 7 in Chambéry), extreme heat resumes this week. At all altitudes. The glaciers will still toast. They did not need that.
 
"The Alps are warming twice as fast as the Northern Hemisphere and almost three times faster than the entire planet," reported Christophe Chaix, in the White Paper on climate change prepared for the department (free access on www.mdp73.fr).

 

Article in French: http://www.ledauphine.com/savoie/2015/08/24/la-canicule-a-encore-accelere-la-fonte-des-glaciers-des-alpes

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