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Study: Alps turning green under climate change

Study: Alps turning green under climate change

intrepid As the assessment of satellite images from 1984 to 2021 showed, the area of ​​snow cover decreased at the same time – albeit slightly so far. “It turns out that the extent of the change in the Alps was quite massive,” says Sabine Rampf of the University of Basel. Plants colonized new areas and vegetation in general became denser and longer. The increase in plant biomass is due to changes in rainfall and longer growing seasons as a result of higher temperatures. Alpine plants are threatened and this effect may threaten specific alpine plants. “Alpine plants are adaptable to harsh conditions but are not very competitive,” Rampf says. As environmental conditions change, these specialized species will lose their advantage and be displaced. “The unique biodiversity of the Alps is under great pressure,” the researcher continues. In contrast to vegetation, snow cover above the tree line has changed only slightly since 1984, according to the study. She added that the exact depth of ice in question could not be determined from satellite images. In any case, with global warming, the Alps will turn from white to more and more green. “Greer mountains reflect less sunlight, and therefore lead to more warming—and thus less reflective snow mass,” Rampf explains. Rising temperatures are causing glaciers and permafrost to melt, which could lead to more landslides, rockfalls and debris flows.

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