Climate change leading to glacial melting in the Swiss Alps is something to be concerned about. Studies found that some of the lakes which have been formed from 1850 still exist while some have dried out. Recent accelerated formation of these bodies of water could bring hazardous risks in following years.
There were 1,200 lakes seen before but about 200 have disappeared by 2021 as observed in a study. This indicates that something is amiss in the high Alps that would lead us asking, why it is happening?
A group of scientists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) got evidence from aerial photos of the mountain range and glacier data in Switzerland. This brought forward information about the lakes created in the area.
Study discovers amazing number of lakes formed
Data gathered from 2006 through 2016 determined that an average of 18 lakes were formed per year. This is a remarkable sign of an active climate change remarks the institute, reported the Daily Mail.
Daniel Odermatt, Head of the Eawag Remote Sensing Group at the aquatic research institute expressed their surprise to the number of bodies of water they found and also to how fast they are formed.
He added that they thought to find only a few hundred but were amazed at their discovery. In the past decade,there were 180 lakes formed which marks an acceleration on how they were created, noted Phys Org.
The Alps are the world's highest and most expansive mountain range chain, extending as far as 745 miles. Rapid glacial melting in the Swiss Alps is a concern to the European countries it covers including Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Slovenia, and Switzerland, Today UK News states.
Changing earth conditions
Evident effects of climate change in the Alps through eons of change has turned ice cold glaciers into massive pools of slush. This transition could bring disastrous consequences in following years to come.
Experts claim that two percent of the volume of the glaciers were lost in 2020 alone and several newly formed lakes have dried out. These were among the alarming effects of climate change in the Swiss mountain range.
Factors considered in the study are the location, altitude and shape of the 1,200 lakes. They also looked into what composes the dam's material, draining, and how it was formed.
The study concluded that formation of the glacial lakes in the Swiss Alps happened from 1946 to 1973 with an average of eight lakes each year. However, after a periodical decline, eighteen lakes emerged between 2006 to 2016 due to the melting of the glaciers. This also resulted to swelling of the water surfaces by 4,300 square feet annually as calculated.
Compiled reports about the Swiss Glaciers from the middle of the 19th century are a comprehensive compendium of records and data beneficial for modern analysis.The study gathered the data from seven periods from the 1850s to the present day 2016, analyzing the factors that lead to the effects of climate change in the 1200 lakes initially.
Researchers have assessed hazards depending on this information, including the risk of a dam breakage resulting in a sudden depletion. Eawag is concerned that the growing number of glacial lakes may increase the risk of such surges, posing a threat of flooding to the populations below.
Thus it is noted that the glacial melting in the Swiss Alps caused by climate change increases the possibility of more lakes to be formed and the need to assess the impending danger is important.