The concomitance of an extraordinary winter-spring drought, which began in November 2021 and is still ongoing, and an early summer May resulted in an exceptional lack of snow on the glaciers of the Gran Paradiso National Park. This was reported by the Park Authority after the surveys on the Grand Etrét glacier, in the Aosta Valley, and the Ciardoney (supervised by the Italian Meteorological Society) in Piedmont.
On the Grand Etrét, the average accumulation of snow on the glacier was 127 centimeters, the lowest value in the historical series and about 62% lower than the average for the 2000-2021 period (331 centimeters). “Given the spring conditions – the Gran Paradiso Park Authority report – the glacier runs the risk of rapidly losing its meager snow reserves and seeing its capital of ice heavily affected by melting”. Similar situation on Ciardoney, where part of the glacier could begin to lose snow by mid-June with massive losses of glacial mass during the summer.
“The marked anomaly” found through surveys on two glaciers poses “the conditions for heavy losses of glacial mass in the summer of 2022” is reported. The measurements of the Grand Etrét glacier are on 26 May and those of the Ciardoney glacier on 1 June. On the Grand Etrét glacier, the park rangers of the Surveillance Corps specialized in glacier monitoring were forced to “a long approach on foot with ski-mountaineering equipment on their backs, unprecedented since the year 2000, and were able to put on skiing with continuity only above 2,500 meters of altitude “.
It has been ascertained, according to the Gran Paradiso National Park, that “the average accumulation of snow was 127 centimeters, the lowest value in the historical series and about 62% lower than the average for the 2000- period. 2021 (331 cm), while the average snow density is 416 kilos per cubic meter, about 11% lower than the average (468 kg / m3) “. Furthermore, the water equivalent of the snowpack, 606 mm across the glacier as a whole, represents a negative record, equal to -62% of the 2000-2021 average (1,587 mm) “.
On the Ciardoney glacier “at the meteorological station on the plateau in front of the glacier, at an altitude of 2,850 meters, the snow cover already disappeared on May 24, 2022, a month and a half earlier than the average of the last decade (July 9). Accumulation measurements of 1 June on the glacier confirmed the situation of extreme scarcity with snow depths decreasing from 165 centimeters at the highest point (Colle Ciardoney, 3,120 meters) to just 25 centimeters in the median sector, equivalent overall to a blade of ‘water of 390 millimeters – or about 202 thousand cubic meters – a quarter of the normal (1,579 mm) and minimum of the series begun in 1992, but reasonably also over a much longer time “.
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