Italian glacier covered to slow melting

Posted: June 21, 2020 by oldbrew in climate, Natural Variation
Tags:

Alps weather: Heavy snow cuts off ski resorts
[image credit: BBC News]


How does this make any sense?
– – –
A vast tarpaulin unravels, gathering speed as it bounces down the glacier over glinting snow.

Summer is here and the alpine ice is being protected from global warming, reports Phys.org.

In northern Italy, the Presena glacier has lost more than one third of its volume since 1993.

Once the ski season is over and cable cars are berthed, conservationists race to try and stop it melting by using white tarps that block the sun’s rays.

“This area is continuously shrinking, so we cover as much of it as possible,” explains Davide Panizza, 34, who heads the Carosello-Tonale company that does the work.

From around 30,000 square metres (36,000 square yards) covered in 2008 when the project began, his team now places 100,000 square metres under wraps.

Once in place, the sheets, which measure 70 metres by five metres (230 by 16 feet), are hardly distinguishable from the packed white snow beneath.

“There are glacier cover systems similar to ours on a few Austrian glaciers, but the surface covered by the tarpaulins is much smaller,” Panizza said.

The Austrian-made tarps cost up to 400 euros ($450) each and it takes the team six weeks to install them—and another six weeks to remove them before winter sets in again.

Full report here.

Comments
  1. Bloke no longer down the pub says:

    So if winter comes early and snow covers the tarp, they’re stuffed.

  2. Chaswarnertoo says:

    Why? Insanity.

  3. Curious George says:

    Just guessing .. might it protect the snow from warm air of the summer?

  4. oldbrew says:

    What difference does the tarp make at night?

  5. ivan says:

    oldbrew, the answer to that is at night the tarp keeps the snow and ice warm so helping it to melt.

    I’ve seen photos of that area and there is constant water dripping from under the tarps – not a good result but it does make good virtue signalling.

  6. Roger Fox says:

    Sheets of white tarpaulin, so they are difficult to distinguish from snow. A lot of money was spent on this project. The cost of one strip is up to € 400; it takes about six weeks to install it. I think that if it brings at least minimal benefit, then it is justified.

  7. hunterson7 says:

    Reminds one of the old military proverb,
    “We had to destroy the village to save it.”

  8. Peter Norman says:

    I seem to remember a research report some years ago pointed to pollution being a big part of the melt problems of this glacier (and others). They didn’t find high levels of CO2 in the melt water but lots of evidence of man-made pollutants (from skier, tourism, land management issues, etc.). I guess the tarps help keep the shite off the ice for a few months!
    https://www.cipra.org/en/news/polluted-glaciers

  9. stpaulchuck says:

    just more bull manure play acting for the cheap seats.

  10. dennisambler says:

    https://www.pontedilegnotonale.com/en/pontedilegno-tonale-what-to-see/presena-glacier/

    “Thanks to the total surface of 82 hectares and the ski season that lasted from October to August at the end of the 60 s the glacier became an unmissable destination for all ski lovers. Today, due to raising global temperatures the surface of our ice giant’s surface is shrinking.

    For this reason in 2008 we started a conservation project that includes the use of enormous geotextile fabric covers under which the glacier can rest all summer. In the period from June to September these special textiles prevent the heat from melting all the snow that has fallen during the winter months. This way we are trying to protect the Presena Glacier from melting.”

    The 60’s and 70’s were the coldest part of the 20th century. The season is now November to May. I wonder what it was in the 20’s and 30’s?

  11. Doonhamer says:

    This will really puzzle future archaeologists.

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