Climate change and human increase risk of natural disasters in the Alps

08:33, June 18, 2010      

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Climate changes together with human activities increase the risk of natural disasters in the Alps, according to a study conducted by scientists from the universities of Vienna and Exeter (United Kingdom).

The result of the study was published in the latest issue of the scientific journal "The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society," in which two extreme periods of the past few years have been investigated, including the heat wave in 2003 and the flood in 2005 in the Eastern Alps. Scientists believed that such phenomena will occur quite frequently in the future.

The temperature in the Alps has risen one time faster than the average global warming since the late 19th century. This warming defrosts the permafrost in higher regions which leads to rock-fall activities as well as to melting glaciers, releasing more loose sediment that will then be transported in the valleys by a flood as in 2005, which has resulted in 555 million euros damage to Austria.

Climate change directly lead to rising temperature and glacier retreat in the Alps, however, there are still many interactions with human activities. "Where we settle, how we change the land use, such as building ski resorts and thus the emission is increased", said the author of the study Margerth Keiler.

In any case, scientists expected that sediments caused by glacier retreat in the coming decades will have "significant impact" on the nature of natural hazards, their frequency and locations.

Source: Xinhua


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