Video: Ice blizzard in Italy, Kyrgyzstan illuminates warm climate

Video: Ice blizzard in Italy, Kyrgyzstan illuminates warm climate

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At around 2:45 pm on Friday, British tourist Harry Sheaman reached the highest point of his journey along the Joko Way in the Tianshan Mountains of Kyrgyzstan. He separated from the group to take pictures from the edge of a hill when he heard the sound of deep ice behind him. He turned his back on the freezing cold and snow that was moving towards him and in a few moments he found himself in the snow.

“When the snow started to fall and it got dark / hard to breathe, I hit the bricks and thought I might die,” Shimin wrote in an Instagram post. Shimin and his group survived, although one member was taken to hospital.

A group of pedestrians was injured in an avalanche in the Tianshan Mountains of Kyrgyzstan on June 8, 2022. (Video: Harry Sheamann via Viral Hughes)

The blizzard was the second glacier fall in a week, highlighting the dangers of climate change caused by humans. In the midst of scorching heat in some parts of Europe and Asia.

On July 3, an apartment building in the Dolomites region of Italy collapsed like a glacier, killing at least 11 tourists. The block is separated from the melon glacier on Mount Marmolda and below has created ice storms of ice, rocks and debris, where many tourists travel during the summer.

The blizzard in Italy occurred during a record-breaking heat wave during the country’s worst drought in five years, partly due to a lack of winter snow in the mountains. Was.

Researchers say the incidents highlight the dangers of a rapidly warming world and are expected to prevent greenhouse gas emissions.

Global warming is slowly weakening glacier systems in mountainous areas, where millions of people rely on these resources as a source of fresh water. Climate change is also creating more severe heat waves, which can put pressure on fragile glacier systems.

“There’s no other way but to push glaciers backwards,” said Peter Neff, a glaciologist at the University of Minnesota, as global warming increases. “The feeling of the event in Italy and [Kyrgyzstan] Does it come often? ”

Cold events in Italy and Kyrgyzstan have similar backlash, said glaciologist Jeff Cargill. A few days before the fall in the Tianshan Mountains, the temperature was around 12,000 feet (3,600 meters) high at 59 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius). Similarly, the temperature has risen by around 50 degrees these days which has led to the fatal glacier accident in Italy. Both are examples of heat waves that have hit the northern hemisphere in recent months, some of which have been found to be more severe and frequent due to climate change.

Both were also glacier ice storms instead of the initial snow, in which a glacier broke and fell under the force of gravity. The high density of ice added speed and weight to the snowstorm.

At the Tianshan meeting, Nef explained that there was no obvious snow around the mountain, so the snowstorm was mostly part of the freezing cold. In high mountainous areas with permafrost, warmer temperatures not only destabilize glacier ice but also the density of ice around it. “It’s much dirtier, like an avalanche than an avalanche,” he said.

Cargill, a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute, added: “The British tracker is actually, as he knows, very happy to be alive in the event of an accident in Kyrgyzstan.”

The separation of ice and snow occurs every spring and summer when glaciers approach the end of their melt season, forming mass during the winter and gently crossing the valley, Cargill said. Glacier fragments often become unstable, break, and produce ice storms.

Blizzards happen all the time, Cargill said, and it will happen without climate change. “However, it seems that in terms of quality, there are more, more, more in the last decade than in the last decade.”

He said the level of casualties and damage caused by such incidents has also increased, as more commuters, villages and infrastructure appear to be close to these mountainous areas.

The most notable glacier collapse of the past decade that Cargill remembers occurred in 2016 in western Tibet, where all the lower parts of two nearby glaciers collapsed within months of each other. A snowstorm covered more than 3 square miles and reached speeds of up to 1 mile per hour, killing nine people and hundreds of animals. Cargill said the two falls “almost certainly depend on the climate”, as glaciers experience unusually high rainfall and irrigation water, which has helped lubricate the bottom of the glaciers.

While glacier falls in Kyrgyzstan and Italy were much smaller (about 1,000 times smaller in volume than other deadly glaciers), Cargill said they may also be linked to climate change.

“One very strong hypothesis is that the temperature rises [and] As the climate warms, the size of the melon increases, “he said.” The effects of melon water on destabilizing ice are increasing, and so the number, frequency and intensity of glacier ice storms must increase … and that’s the quality. It seems so. “

Daniel Farinotti, agrees with the glycologist at ETH Zurich. “It has long been known that muddy water due to high temperatures increases the pressure on the glaciers’ sub-glacial drainage system, which in turn can accelerate the movement of glaciers,” Farinotti said in an email. “This increase in pressure and movement certainly plays a role in such a fall.”

The biggest impact from the loss and collapse of such mountain glaciers is on freshwater systems, Kneif said. For example, glaciers in the high mountains of Asia play an important role in supplying fresh water to river basins used by nearly 1.5 billion people for drinking, irrigation and hydropower.

Mountain glaciers may have less ice than expected, bringing fresh water supply pressure

“We spend [these glaciers] In a state of change, “Nef said. The ice dissolves rapidly and the drinking water disappears.

And more falls may be along the way as the melon crop progresses.

“When the irrigation season is exciting, I expect we’ll see more of it,” Cargill said. “But, I hope there are no more killers.”

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