Climate, the rain in the mountains increases and it's not good news

Climate, the rain in the mountains increases and it's not good news

The health of the planet? It can be seen in the mountains. Droughts, heat waves, extreme events, mountains are considered the sentinels of climate change. Places where the short, medium and long term effects are more evident. The confirmation comes from new research conducted in the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) of the Department of Energy and published in Nature. Scientists have discovered that due to climate change, snowfall is gradually turning into heavy rain over the mountains of the northern hemisphere of the Earth. But that it rains so much in the mountains instead of snowing is not good news. A change that brings a number of dangers, including floods, landslides and soil erosion. With an increasingly evident impact on those who venture on paths, glaciers and mountain walls.

Mountains and sustainability

In Val Senales towels on the glacier and renewables to save ski slopes and the environment

by Fiammetta Cupellaro

How does the mountain react to the new climate?

And while scientists have already expected climate change to increase extreme events and the amount of water falling on mountains, this is the first study in which they have examined whether "extreme" precipitation comes in the form of rain or snow. . During their high-altitude studies they discovered that the level of water that falls in the form of snow is gradually decreasing in favor of rain, making the mountains particularly susceptible to the risks caused by extreme rainfall.

In particular, calculated that for every 1°C increase in global temperature, they expect an average of 15% more rain at high altitudes. The snowy roads that only a few years ago furrowed slopes and ridges have now gradually disappeared. In their place are rocky walls that are not always stable. Not only. If in the past these atmospheric changes were considered occasional, according to US researchers they are becoming normal.

"A quarter of the world's population living in or downstream of mountainous regions will be directly affected by this risk," he explained Mohammed Ombadiauthor of the article about Natures. “This increase in extreme precipitation is not just something that will happen between now and the end of the 21st century, we are already seeing it,” Ombadi said. “The same rate was also evident in data from 1950 to 2019. Extreme precipitation in the mountains is already increased and they will continue to change at that 15% rate."

The Alps and the Rocky Mountains

While all mountain ranges in the northern hemisphere are seeing the transition from snow to rain, those at the greatest risk of extreme precipitation are the mountain ranges of the North American Pacific (the Cascades, Sierra Nevada and coastal ranges from Canada to southern California), theHimalayas and the high latitude regions.

Researchers are still working to understand why those areas are at higher risk than other mountain ranges like the Rocky Mountains or the Alps. "We believe the Pacific North American mountain ranges are more susceptible to the risk of extreme precipitation than other mountain ranges because a significant portion of the snowfall in this region typically occurs at temperatures just below zero degrees Celsius," Ombadi concluded. change in air temperature will turn that snowfall into rain. It's unlike other mountain ranges where snowfall can occur at very low temperatures below zero degrees."

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