WASHINGTON: A new study has suggested that climate change can cause increasing and unpredictable hazard risks in mountainous regions.
Researchers from University of Exeter and Austria said that the Alpine glacier loss in 2003 and floods caused by heavy rains in 2005, both due to climate changes, could pose serious dangers to life in the alpine regions.
The two events demonstrate what impact events like these, predicted to become more frequent under a changing climate, could have on alpine regions and what implications these changes might have for local communities.
Temperatures in the European Alps have increased twice as much as the global average temperature since the late nineteenth century and are predicted to rise by an average of 0.3-0.5 degrees Celsius per decade in the next century.
The biggest hazards tend to be concentrated in high altitude areas where there is mountaineering and skiing infrastructure. Another worry is the lack of public or local awareness of the issues. In addition, the impact of climate change could magnify in any snow or ice covered regions because melting snow drives further melting.
Jasper Knight from the University of Exeter commented ''While human activity and land management are important factors, we expect that global warming will cause ongoing and accelerating ice loss in the European Alps over the next decades and centuries. This will have a significant impact on hazard type, location and frequency and a potentially negative effect on the region's economic engine - tourism.''
Source: Economic Times (India), 16 June 2010