Luca Zaia, president of the Veneto Region, spoke of “inevitable tragedy, one of a kind“. The tragedy is evidently that of Marmolada, with 10 confirmed deaths, one person still missing and 8 injured. “A 70-story skyscraper came down. Thinking about an avalanche model is difficult and there are still no adequate tools. Even radars cannot work miracles. Flags to warn of dangers in the mountains? It is a possibility but it is not the solution ».
According to Zaia, it could not be avoided and it was not foreseeable in these ways according to the researchers of the glaciological-geophysical working group for research on the Marmolada, which have been studying the glacier for twenty years, coordinated by Aldino Bondesan, of the University of Padua. “There were no obvious signs of an impending collapse. Except in very rare cases, in glaciers, unlike landslides, there are no warning systems that measure movements and deformations in real time“. The collapse of a block like that of the Marmolada is rare, while the detachments of seracs are frequent in the glaciers.
For scholars, however, «the withdrawal and warming determine an increase in the frequency of events, and in general a increase in the danger of the glacial fronts“. The annual observation of many glaciers has recently been abandoned precisely due to the increase in risk conditions on the glacial fronts.
According to WWF that on the Marmolada glacier is a tragedy more than announced and therefore even more serious and painful. “What happened corresponds to the scenarios and warnings that climatologists and glaciologists have been spreading for years”. The latest land register of Italian glaciers shows that the surface of Italian glaciers has gone from 519 km2 in 1962 (Cadastre Cgi-Cnr), to 609 km2 in 1989 (World Glacier Inventory, with data collected in the 70s-80s), to the current 368 km2, equal to 40% less than the last cadastre. In the last 150 years some glaciers have lost more than two kilometers in length, but their thickness is also reduced, which in a single summer can thin up by up to 6 meters. With the average temperatures of recent years, glaciers below 3,500 meters are destined to disappear within 20-30 years.
Data and news have been announced for the Marmolada and for many other glaciers. For some in the past years a funeral has even been held. The Marmolada in particular, according to data from Legambiente, between 1905 and 2010 lost more than 85% of its volume. Caravan of glaciers, the Legambiente campaign which together with the Italian Glaciological Committee has been monitoring the state of health of alpine glaciers since 2020, has highlighted an acceleration of the phenomena of glacial melting. The Adamello glaciers have lost over 50% of the total surface, those of the Gran Paradiso about 65%. In South Tyrol 168 glaciers have fragmented into 540 distinct units.
Glaciers tell about our past and our future. The exhibition Earth’s Memory at the Forte di Bard presents in world preview the results of the project On the trail of the glaciers, the photographic-scientific journey conceived and directed by the photographer Fabiano Ventura. Promoted and organized by the Bard Fort, the exhibition will be open until November 18, 2022. It gathers a 13-year-long journey, created to document and show the shocking effects of climate change on the planet.
From 2009 to 2021 Ventura, together with a team of directors and researchers, led 8 expeditions to the largest mountain glaciers on Earth: Karakorum (2009), Caucasus (2011), Alaska (2013), Andes (2016), Himalaya (2018) and Alps (2019-2020-2021). The 90 photographic comparisons go hand in hand with the restitution of the scientific data collected during the expeditions and disclosed in the exhibition. «Glaciers are not dead bodies, but organisms in perennial transformation», writes Enrico Camanni in the introduction to the exhibition, «Glaciers are born, grow, transform, melt and sometimes die. In a word: they live. The only losing characters in this fantastic film are ourselves, spectators of our work. We human species are the only castaways to be saved in this epochal sinking, because the disappearance of the glaciers is the sign of our doing and our destroying.“.
In the gallery the images of the exhibition.
Source: Vanity Fair