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How Climate Change is Affecting the Landscape of Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc

There are still people who do not believe that climate change is real. They argue that human activity has no influence on our planet and, when evidence of the actuality of global warming are put in front of them, they attribute its causes to natural phenomena such as cosmic rays or sunspots.

However, it is enough to see how the Alps, more specifically Mont Blanc, have changed in the past century. Climate change is changing familiar and breathtaking landscapes of our planet. In addition to it, there are many other consequences of the increased temperatures – here are some of them.

The Effects of Climate Change on the Alps

One of the most evident effects of climate change in mountains is the melting of glaciers. In the past century glaciers in the highest and most extensive mountain range system in Europe have lost around 40% of their surface area. Experts expect that by 2050 around 50% of Switzerland’s glaciers will no longer exist. Moreover, the areas previously occupied by the glaciers are taken over by vegetation – thus changing landscapes even more.

Climate Change and Mont Blanc

The rise in temperatures caused by climate change is affecting the fauna and flora of Mont Blanc. For instance, the reduction of the time that snow covers the ground of the mountain has led to a higher biomass production since the vegetation starts growing earlier in spring. Some species, however, may be negatively affected by this since the unstable weather puts them at risk of frosting in case of temperature shift. With the general increase in temperature, the vegetation used to warmer weather will tend to spread towards higher elevation – thus putting at risk alpine species used to colder temperatures.

Moreover, the increased temperatures in summer provoke the melting of permafrost that, in its turn, makes the rocky terrain unstable and dangerous. Another consequence of high temperatures in summer is connected to droughts and groundwater scarcity.

If you are wondering whether the effects of climate change in the Alps have any impact on humans, then the answer is yes. In fact, the increase in temperature have affected many climbing routes usually employed by people to visit the Alps. For instance, the Grand Mulets route was closed in 2015 because of a crevasse field. The same happened to the Gouter Hut because of the high risk of rockfall.

If we do not start to take serious action to stop climate change, we will come to the point of losing such wonderful landscapes as the Mont Blanc and its fauna and flora.

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