Climate Change Turning Snowy Alps Green, Impact Visible From Space
Researchers from the University of Lausanne and the University of Basel have used satellite data to reveal reduced snow cover in the Alps while vegetation is increasing in 80 percent of the region
The alarming global warming takes hold of the usually snow-capped Alps, which are now turning green. This massive impact of climate change is now visible from space. Researchers from the University of Lausanne and the University of Basel have mentioned the impact in the journal Science. For this study, the researchers analyzed the recent satellite data, which revealed that 80 percent of the vegetation has grown above the tree line in the Alpine region. As a result, the snow cover of the region has declined drastically.
According to the researchers, the Alps becoming greener will have a ‘feedback’ effect with less reflection of light from the region. This will make global warming even worse. While the alpine climate change caused the melting of glaciers, the plant biomass increased above the tree line from the period of 1984 to 2021.
As per Professor Sabine Rumpf, from the University of Basel, the scale of climatic change has been massive in the Alps. Even in the remaining regions, there is around a 10-percent reduction in the snow cover.
Professor Antoine Guisan, from the University of Lausanne, mentioned that such a drastic trend was not visible in any of the satellite data analyzed before. It may be due to the insufficient resolution of satellite images back then or maybe because earlier periods considered for climate change were too short.
Professor Grégoire Mariéthoz, of the University of Lausanne, stated that for many years the regional ground-based measurements showed a reduction in snow depth at low elevations. Due to this decrease, some regions even became snow-free. If it continues to happen at an increasing rate, there will surely be shrinkage of reflective snow cover. It means global warming will increase to a greater extent.