Glaciers alert, “the fault of the rise in temperatures”

Massimiliano Fazzini, expert nivologist and climatologist responsible for the National Study Group on Climate Change of Sigea: “There is a strong reduction both in extension but above all in thickness, and therefore in available stored water, of the glacial systems at a global level”

“There is a strong reduction both in extension but above all in thickness, and therefore in available stored water, of the glacial systems at a global level. Practically all the glaciers of the northern hemisphere and also, to a lesser extent, those of the southern hemisphere are afflicted by this inexorable and rapid melting and the fundamental problem is that this evolution of the glacial morphoclimatic environment is fundamentally deriving from the increase in temperatures: the more the temperatures rise, the less the glacial systems extend “. So at Adnkronos Massimiliano Fazzini, expert nivologist and climatologist Head of the National Study Group on Climate Change of Sigea, after the Unesco alarm on some iconic glaciers of the world heritage at risk of disappearing by 2050.

The area most affected by this phenomenon is the Arctic area because in this area in the last 30-40 years we have had the greatest increases in temperature, even in the order of 3-4 degrees. The large ice caps representing huge freshwater storage of Greenland and Iceland, as well as all of the Canadian Arctic islands, have had 30-35% reductions in volume, which is something incredibly high when reported. to the very short span of time intended from a geological point of view and from a geomorphological evolution “, he explains.

“Certainly the glaciers of the low and middle latitudes are not faring better: from the studies carried out, it can be seen that the range between 2000 and 3000 meters, for thermodynamic reasons, in the last 40-50 years is the one that has warmed up the most – continues the expert – That is, if globally, or better still European, we observe an increase in temperatures in the last 40-50 years of about one degree, in the mountains this increase is about two degrees, double, with very effects on the environment more intense. And the European glaciers are retreating almost as rapidly as the Arctic and Himalayan ones. ”

Looking at Italy, “currently we are left with over 900 glaciers: in the last 4-5 years the number has increased because those who previously joined the medium-low altitudes with the withdrawal of the glacial tongues have separated. So it would seem that they have increased but in reality they have split because they have suffered a sharp decline in masses and lengths and we currently have only three noteworthy glaciers that exceed 10 square km: Adamello, Forni and Miage. These glaciers have lost an average of 10% of their volume over the last 15 years. We are in a truly dramatic condition not only due to the modification of the physical environment of the high altitudes but because these glaciers represented a source of water available for the entire physical and anthropic environment that every year decreases in quantity and quality because the glaciers are becoming even ‘dirtying’, that is, they are heavily polluted “.

This 2022 was then a horrible year from a climatic point of view: we have had extremely long periods of drought, low snowfall, the hottest summer of the last 150 years after that of 2003, therefore of the contributing causes that have abnormally resized the glacial systems, especially the smaller ones, so much so that some this year they have passed from the definition of glacier to glaciated because they no longer have movement and are too small to be considered glaciers “, concludes Fazzini.