Start Austria Southern Alps particularly affected by climate change

Southern Alps particularly affected by climate change

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The past summer was extremely dry and hot, followed by storms and floods, as they occur only every 100 years. The Alpine region is particularly affected, it warms more. Weather extremes will pile up.

According to Peter Hoffmann from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, the continents of the northern hemisphere warm to 1.4 degrees much more than the global average of 1.2 degrees. The Alpine region, the high mountain areas with glaciers, warms even more strongly. How long there will be larger glaciers depends on climate protection measures on a global scale. Arctic sea ice and alpine glaciers belong to global tilting elements of the climate system.

Also, the glacier tongue Pasterze on the Grossglockner is getting smaller

Even with two degrees of warming both are difficult to hold. The two degrees are already reached locally. If the earth warms globally by two degrees, one must count on three or four degrees for the Alps, said Hoffmann. Nevertheless, there will continue to be cold spells in certain regions. In the long term, winter tourism will also have to change, because snow security is shifting upwards and becoming shorter. The industry would then have to think of alternative concepts.

Especially warm in the Mediterranean

The last storms broke extreme rains in Carinthia and the Mediterranean: „Many changes have led to climate change being a cause. These are the rising temperatures of more than 1.4 degrees since records began. Ocean temperatures are also rising, especially in the Mediterranean, where it has been possible to measure an increase of about one degree in recent decades. The temperature contrasts in the atmosphere are also changing. On the one hand, the northern latitudes are warming up more in comparison to the equator, on the other hand, the continents are warming up more in comparison to the ocean. „

Thunderstorms with heavy rainfall become more frequent

This changes air currents, wind systems and major weather conditions over Europe. You can already see that certain types of weather patterns occur more frequently and stay longer on site, says Hoffmann. These are on the one hand blocking weather conditions over Central Europe, north Atlantic lows can not shift from west to east. Its railway line runs over the Mediterranean, and if they encounter still warm Mediterranean waters at this time of year, this leads to a stabilization of the atmosphere, and hot, thunderous precipitation is favored. In conjunction with mountains it could come to torrential rainfall locally. Due to the warming, more water is available in the atmosphere.

On the southern side of the Alps, the number of days of heavy rain has increased as well as their intensity. „Not only can this be attributed to the fact that the atmosphere has warmed up and more water vapor is available, it must also be a dynamic component responsible for this accumulation in the Southern Alps.“ The summer was dry, now it rains a lot, Hoffmann said in addition, both are the reverse sides of the same coin. The extremes of summer will intensify in the future. The long heat and dry periods in central and southern Europe will intensify. In the future, these extremes could become the norm.

According to Hoffmann, one can see that the annuality of every 100 years of floods can be reduced to 30 years with two degrees of warming. One must adjust to dryness and flood events alike. This is dependent on regional conditions, the sealing of the soil plays an important role. Conurbations must be unsealed to allow water to evaporate more. It would also be necessary to give more space to the water in the case of rainfall, Hoffmann said.

As an outlook, Hoffmann said that it is up to the people, to political decisions and to a sustainable economy worldwide. „It is up to us to do our part to avoid a warmer world over two degrees. It depends on holiday choices, nutritional choices, how to eat less meat and also mobility. She is very focused on the car, and there are strong potentials for saving. „