Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Climate change increases hazard risk in alpine regions, study shows

Date:
June 15, 2010
Source:
University of Exeter
Summary:
Climate change could cause increasing and unpredictable hazard risks in mountainous regions, according to a new study. The study analyzes the effects of two extreme weather events -- the 2003 heatwave and the 2005 flood -- on the Eastern European Alps.

Traditional Austrian home near a ski area high in the Alps.
Credit: iStockphoto/Dave Long

Climate change could cause increasing and unpredictable hazard risks in mountainous regions, according to a new study from the University of Exeter and Austrian researchers. The study analyzes the effects of two extreme weather events -- the 2003 heatwave and the 2005 flood -- on the Eastern European Alps. It demonstrates what impact events like these, predicted to become more frequent under a changing climate, could have on alpine regions and what implications these changes might have for local communities.

The mean summer temperatures during the 2003 heat wave in a large area of the European Alps exceeded the 1961-1990 mean by 3-5˚C. This triggered a record Alpine glacier loss that was three times above the 1980-2000 average. Furthermore, melting permafrost caused increased rock-fall activity.

The severe floods that occurred as a result of heavy rainfall in August 2005 were the most damaging for 100 years and led to high volumes of water and sediment being deposited downstream, causing an estimated €555 million worth of damage in Austria to buildings, railways, roads and industrial areas. In Switzerland, this has been estimated to have caused one quarter of all damage by floods, debris flows, landslides and rock falls recorded since 1972.

Temperatures in the European Alps have increased twice as much as the global average temperature since the late nineteenth century and are predicted to rise by an average of 0.3-0.5˚C per decade in the next century.

Global climate models currently fail to account for variations at a very local level. Therefore, the impact of climate change here is largely unknown. In some regions, this may be of greater concern because local environmental features, such as glaciers, pose a hazard. The biggest hazards tend to be concentrated in high altitude areas where there is mountaineering and skiing infrastructure. Worryingly, there is little public or local awareness of the issues. In addition, the impact of climate change is expected to be magnified in any snow or ice covered regions because melting snow drives further melting.

Jasper Knight from the University of Exeter commented: ''While human activity and land management are important factors, we expect that global warming will cause ongoing and accelerating ice loss in the European Alps over the next decades and centuries. This will have a significant impact on hazard type, location and frequency and a potentially negative effect on the region's economic engine -- tourism.''


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Exeter. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Keiler et al. Climate change and geomorphological hazards in the eastern European Alps. Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society A Mathematical Physical and Engineering Sciences, 2010; 368 (1919): 2461 DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2010.0047

Cite This Page:

University of Exeter. "Climate change increases hazard risk in alpine regions, study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100615105241.htm>.
University of Exeter. (2010, June 15). Climate change increases hazard risk in alpine regions, study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100615105241.htm
University of Exeter. "Climate change increases hazard risk in alpine regions, study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100615105241.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) Suni, a rare northern white rhino at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, died Friday. This, as many media have pointed out, leaves people fearing extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Organic Fertilizer Helps Reforestation of Monarch Butterflies’ Winter Retreat

New Organic Fertilizer Helps Reforestation of Monarch Butterflies’ Winter Retreat

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 20, 2014) Using an organic fertiliser, a conservationist from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), leads an award-winning project to reforest the sanctuary of monarch butterflies. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins