Italian team covers glacier with giant white sheets to slow melting

A limiteless tarpaulin unravels, collecting pace because it bounces down the glacier over glinting snow. Summer season is right here and the alpine ice is being secure from world warming.

In northern Italy, the Presena glacier has misplaced a couple of 3rd of its quantity since 1993.

As soon as the ski season is over and cable automobiles are berthed, conservationists race to check out and prevent it melting via the usage of white tarps that block the solar’s rays.

“This house is often shrinking, so we quilt as a lot of it as imaginable,” explains Davide Panizza, 34, who heads the Carosello-Tonale corporate that does the paintings.

From masking round 30,000 squaremetres in 2008 when the challenge started, his staff now puts 100,000 squaremetres beneath wraps.

Workers drag one of the sheets into position



Employees drag one of the vital sheets into place. Photograph: Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Photographs

The coverings are “geotextile tarpaulins that replicate daylight, keeping up a temperature not up to the exterior one, and thus protecting as a lot snow as imaginable,” he advised AFP.

At the border between the Lombardy and Trentino Alto Adige areas, employees unroll the sheets in lengthy strips, masking a space at an altitude of 2700-3000m.

They transfer methodically down the mountain beneath transparent blue skies to drag the coverings taut, and stitch them in combination to make sure heat drafts don’t slip beneath. Baggage of sand then act as anchors in opposition to the wind.

As soon as in position, the sheets, which measure 70m via 5m, are hardly ever distinguishable from the packed white snow underneath.

“There are glacier quilt methods very similar to ours on a couple of Austrian glaciers, however the floor coated via the tarpaulins is far smaller,” Panizza stated.

The Austrian-made tarps value as much as €400 ($450) each and every and it takes the staff six weeks to put in them – and any other six weeks to take away them sooner than iciness units in once more.

Franco Del Pero, 48, leads the operation and says technological enhancements imply recent tarps give protection to higher than previous variations.

“After we take away them in September and we see that they did their process, we really feel proud,” he says.

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