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A study confirms the Alps are a hotspot of climate change

A study confirms the Alps are a hotspot of climate change

Reconstructed paleoclimate helps understand the future

TRIESTE, 09 novembre 2023, 16:18

Redazione ANSA

ANSACheck

- RIPRODUZIONE RISERVATA

Global warming in the Alps is proceeding almost twice as fast as the global average: a process with impactful consequences that finds a precedent in the opposite direction in the last glaciation. A study conducted by the University of Trieste and published in the international journal "Climate of the Past" estimated that between 26,000 and 21,000 years ago, the climate of the Alps had experienced cooling values almost double the global scale, confirming the Alps as a hotspot of climate change.
    The equation used to reconstruct the paleoclimate also offers insights concerning the future. Led by Costanza Del Gobbo, the study took four years to complete, was funded by the International Center for Theoretical éhysics, and was supervised by Nobel laureate Filippo Giorgi (ICTP), among others.
    During the Last Glacial Maximum in the Alps between 26,000 and 21,000 years ago, glaciers pushed into the foothills plains.
    A regional climate model developed by the ICTP grafted onto the paleoclimatic model of the German Max Planck Institute was used in this work.
    In particular, the study reconstructed the glacial equilibrium line during the LGM, comparing it with pre-industrial levels in the early 1800s. The results - the university explains - were able, for the first time, to find excellent consistency with geomorphological and geological evidence on the ground and show that the climate of the Alps was, on average, 6.8°C colder than pre-industrial levels (about 9°C colder than today) and particularly in the eastern sectors.
    Annual precipitation was about 15% lower.
    The decrease was down 7.3°C in summer compared to pre-industrial levels (almost 10°C less than today's summers).
    These conditions allowed recurrent snowfall of around 1,000 meters in summer, while the plains of northern Italy were covered with snow from November to May.
    Summer was the wettest season, whereas winter was likely frigid and dry. Only in the southern sector of the Alps were precipitation events frequent in winter, mainly snowfall down to the plains.
   

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