Sunday, October 4, 2009

Climate Change Affecting the Alps

Climate change is dividing the snow covered Alps into two climate zones. The northern mountain range is suffering serious flooding and the southern mountain range has parched with less snow. Approximately 40% of fresh water in Europe is provided by the Alps and it also plays a vital role in balancing of the ecosystem within and beyond the region. But with climate change increasing temperature more than the global average, it won’t be long that the scenic Alps will only be present in picture books.

According to climate experts, this regional effect of global warming has led to changes in the water resources. This is causing problems for the alpine climate as well as for Europe that relies on these mountains for water. Due to the rise in temperature, glaciers are shrinking and the Alpine villages in the northern mountain range are facing problems of floods. The southern areas are also suffering from water shortage and threat to tourism.

Did you know that the Alpine plants are migrating upwards at the rate of 0.5 to 4m due to global warming? If the present condition persists, the Alpine species will be forced to extinction as the lowland plants will displace them on higher altitudes. The composition of different species of flora fauna is changing in the Alps due to the attack of southern pathogens. In the last few decades, global warming has led to changes in the pattern of snowfall and rain in the Alps. High temperature has not only increased the frequency of avalanches and floods but also caused landslides and rock falls.

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