Aerial photographs reveal 100 years of ice loss on Mont Blanc after scientists recreate images taken by a Swiss pilot in 1919
- The coordinates of the original photo were worked out and the scientists flew by helicopter to take pictures
- They took the same pictures, showing that white ice covered less land as it decreased with increasing temperature.
- Someone warned that climate change means a photo in 2119 may not show ice if climate change is not stopped
Aerial photographs have revealed how much ice Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps, has lost in the last 100 years.
A photograph taken in 1919 was recreated this year exactly showing the mountaintop and highlighting the toll that climate change has caused on it.
Stains of white ice have visibly shrunk and now look like arid land.
A scientist using various GPS devices to find the exact location and hanging on a helicopter with his camera took the picture in August and unveiled it this week.
And the team behind the picture said that unless action is taken to slow climate change, the 2119 photograph could show almost no ice.
Researchers at Dundee University took a photo of a helicopter (right) after finding the exact location of a shot by Swiss pilot Walter Mittelholzer in 1919 (left) and noted the amount of ice on the missing glacier.
Dr. Kieran Baxter of Dundee University said: “The scale of the ice loss was immediately evident when we reached altitude, but it was only by comparing the images side by side that the last 100 years of change became visible. .
"It was a breathtaking and heartbreaking experience, especially knowing that the melt has accelerated enormously in recent decades."
His photograph recreates – exactly the same coordinates – one taken by Swizz pilot and photographer Walter Mittelholzer from a biplane of the last century.
Although this one was in black and white, the difference is clear to see.
Dr. Baxter and his colleague, Alice Watterson, used computer maps and mountain layouts to find out where Mittelholzer took his picture.
Dr. Kieran Baxter took a helicopter flight to take the picture. He said he was concerned that there might be even less ice the next time someone tries the comparison as global warming continues to melt the glaciers.
Swiss pilot and photographer Walter Mittelholzer took his own picture of a biplane 100 years ago
Then they took a helicopter to revisit the site and recreate the photo.
The resulting photograph shows glaciers named Argentiere, Mont Blanc Bossons and Mer de Glace.
And the change in shading on their surfaces shows how much ice has been lost since the end of World War I.
Baxter added: “Mittelholzer played a key role in popularizing commercial air travel in Switzerland, an industry that ironically contributed to the warming of the climate and the detriment of alpine landscapes that the pioneer pilot knew and loved.
Recent photographs showed the glaciers Argentiere, Mont Blanc Bossons and Mer de Glace and clearly showed how the ice was receding on the lower slopes of the mountain.
Dr. Kieran Baxter (pictured) said: “The scale of ice loss was immediately evident when we reached altitude, but it was only by comparing the side-by-side images that the last 100 years of change were made visible. .
In older photos, of course, there is more ice on the glaciers, while in modern photos the earth looks green and brown, as the foliage and rocks below show.
“When working at these times, there is currently no viable, emission-free alternative, so airtime is kept as short as possible and careful planning is made to make the most of a photographic flight like this.
Fortunately, the clear weather allowed these repeated aerial photographs to be taken on the centenary of the originals.
"Unless we drastically reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, there will be little ice left to photograph in another hundred years."
MONT BLANC GLACIER'S PART IS AT RISK OF SLIDING
A piece of glacier near Mont Blanc risks slipping off the mountain and into the valley below, scientists warned last month.
Researchers say 250,000 cubic meters of ice on the Planpincieux glacier in the Italian Alps is in danger of falling into the Ferret Valley after they measured their trip at more than 40 cm per day.
Stefano Miserocchi, mayor of the neighboring town of Courmayeur, ordered the evacuation of several mountain huts and closed two roads Tuesday as a precaution.
But he insisted that there was no danger to residential areas or tourist facilities.
Researchers say a section of the Planpincieux glacier in the Italian Alps risks slipping off the mountain and into the Ferret valley below, causing evacuations.
Val Ferret contains some cross-country ski runs, but the nearest alpine ski runs are located in the neighboring valleys – Val Vény and Plan Chécrouit.
Miserocchi told Italian media: "These phenomena once again show how the mountain is undergoing a period of major change due to climate factors and is therefore particularly vulnerable."
The glacier is located on the Grande Jorasses peak of the Mont Blanc massif in the Alps, which crosses the borders of Italy, France and Switzerland.
The researchers told the BBC It is impossible to predict exactly when or if the glacier might collapse, but warned that there is no warning system.
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