Western Europe's highest summit gets taller
15 October 2007, CHARMONIX (AFP) - Western Europe's highest mountain Mont Blanc is taller than ever due to snow piled atop its summit, in what experts meeting in France Saturday described as a climate-change related phenomenon.
15 October 2007
CHARMONIX (AFP) - Western Europe's highest mountain Mont Blanc is taller than ever due to snow piled atop its summit, in what experts meeting in France Saturday described as a climate-change related phenomenon.
The Alps' tallest peak was measured at 4,810.90 metres (15,784 feet) on September 15 and 16 -- a 2.15 metre increase in two years, surveyors from France's Haute-Savoie region announced.
"The height as well as the volume of Mont Blanc has increased considerably, because the snow has massed on the summit over the last two years," expert Philippe Borel told AFP at a meeting in the Alpine town Charmonix.
The volume of ice on Mont Blanc's slopes over 4,800 meters high was first calculated at 14,600 cubic metres in 2003. It dropped to 14,300 cubic metres two years later, but then almost doubled to 24,100 cubic metres in 2007.
"There is generally no increase in the amount of precipitation in the Alps, but the climate changes," said meteorologist Yan Giezendanner.
"We're registering a greater frequency of winds from the West which bring rain and higher temperatures."
In the summer the precipitation translates into snow sticking in regions over 4,000 metres in altitude that increases Mont Blanc's volume and height, Giezendanner said.
In the winter, however, the icy snow is swept around by the winds and has no influence on the mountain's height or volume.
Warmer alpine weather has also caused glaciers in higher altitudes to swell even as those in medium altitudes melt, recede and threaten to disappear, Giezendanner said.
Surveyors have scheduled topographic missions every two years to study Mont Blanc's evolution.
Subject: French news