Previously in ClimateChangePost
The retreat of the Aletsch Glacier is destabilising the slopes of its valley flanks, causing subsidence of a mountain ridge. But the innovative Swiss have found a way to continue skiing safely here.
The summer of 2022 was Europe’s hottest since 2003. A study for Switzerland shows that 60% of the people that died from heat that summer would not have died in the absence of global warming.
Small- to medium-sized rockfalls now occur up to 300 m higher in the Alps than 70 years ago. The number of rockfalls has increased since the 2000s, data since 1945 show.
For a number of rivers, discharge regime is shifting from snowmelt to rainfall-dominated. The number of European regions affected by multiyear drought is expected to increase as a result.
With global warming more precipitation in the mountains will fall as rain. Snow storage in the winter will decrease, reducing low river flow and fresh water availability in the summer.
A feasibility study shows that the retreat of the Morteratsch Glacier in Switzerland can be slowed down by artificially produced snow, thus extending the ‘lifespan’ of this major touristic attraction.
What would be considered a snow-sparse winter of today’s climate is projected to become quite average or even snow abundant in the future. Less snow not only affects winter tourism.
Glacier retreat causes landslides and catastrophic rock falls. In particular the breakout of landslide dams poses significant risks to surrounding settlements and critical infrastructure.
Snow cover duration and maximum snow depth have been declining in the Swiss Alps since 1970. Most likely due to higher temperatures at all elevations in the Swiss Alps, especially during spring.
Melt water of shrinking glaciers forms new lakes by filling up depressions in the landscape. New opportunities arise for hydropower, tourism, and freshwater supply. But new risks arise as well.
Water quality of lakes is affected by shrinking glaciers. How? Through changes in river flows that change oxygen transport to lakes as well.
In contrast to global climate model projections the intensity of summer rainfall may increase. This is important for fresh water supply and, for instance, with respect to flash floods.
Melting glaciers and thawing of permafrost have caused stream discharge to almost double in Alpine watersheds through the last five decades. A frequent outcome of rapid climate warming.
There is increasing evidence that warming trends have advanced wine grape harvest dates in recent decades. Across the globe, harvest dates advance approximately 6 days per degree of warming.
For the Alps, the main trigger of debris flows is high intensity, short duration rainfall. Under future climate change, it is likely that increases in extreme rainfall will alter debris flow frequency
The impact of climate change between now and 2100 on timber production and protection against landslides and avalanche release, has been evaluated for the Province of Vorarlberg in Austria
Global warming affects precipitation volumes in the Alps, the contribution of rain and snow to these volumes, and the timing of snowmelt. An overall decrease in snow cover
The estimated impacts of climate change on maize yields are subject to large uncertainties. This was shown for a case study in Switzerland.
Climate change is considered a large threat to especially montane species. These species often inhabit narrow elevational ranges
Studies based on small mountainous glacierized basins overestimate the impact of climate change on downstream water flow.
There is growing evidence that the rate of warming is amplified with elevation, such that high-mountain environments experience more rapid changes in temperature
Climate suitability for grain maize and winter wheat has remained fairly stable in Switzerland over the last decades with only weak trends
Windstorms have accounted for approximately 1/3 of the total losses relating to buildings from natural hazards in Switzerland since 1950.
Warming is stronger in the Alps than in the Swiss lowlands: about 1 °C for the summer in the second half of the 21st century compared with 1980–2009.
There are changes in the Swiss Alpine snow pack that may be due to climate change. However, the complex local influences on the snow pack via temperature, precipitation, radiation, wind and humidity
Climate change projections for the end of the century indicate a doubling of the number of summer days, tropical nights even above 1500 m and a
In the Alps, the overall frequency of debris flows may decrease in absolute terms, but the magnitude of events may increase.
Strong reduction of snow cover in the Alps is expected to have major impacts on winter tourism. Many ski-regions have mean elevations below 2,000 m
Swiss ski areas are located on average at higher altitude than those of neighbouring countries. The ski industry, therefore, is expected to be less affected in Switzerland
So far, forest fires do not constitute a significant hazard in the central and northern parts of the Alps, while on the southern side they are more common
The impact of climate change on hydropower production in the Swiss Alps during the 21st century has been assessed by combining climate projections ...
By 2100, Rhône runoff, for instance, is projected to change in seasonality and amount compared to the current climate ...
According to research among stakeholders, the most important impacts of climate change on tourism in Switzerland are snowpack reduction, melting glaciers, and water scarcity ...
The extremes of possible climate-change-driven habitat range size reductions are commonly based on two assumptions ...