Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in Western Europe, has shrunk by two meters in the past two years, but scientists are unsure of the exact cause.
Mont Blanc, the iconic mountain located in the Alps, has experienced a decrease in height, measuring 4,805.59 meters in the latest survey conducted by French researchers. This is a decrease of two meters from its previous measurement in September 2021. The mountain’s height has been fluctuating over the years, with a measurement of 4,810.90 meters in 2007.
The team of researchers, equipped with advanced tools and a drone for the first time, conducted point-by-point measurements of Mont Blanc over several days. They attribute the mountain’s changing height to the influence of wind and weather conditions on the snow and ice covering its surface.
While the exact cause of the shrinking phenomenon remains uncertain, the researchers have collected valuable data that will be analyzed by climatologists, glaciologists, and other scientists. These experts will put forward theories to explain the decrease in height.
Jean des Garets, the chief surveyor for the Haute-Savoie department, suggests that the lower rainfall during the summer might be a contributing factor to the mountain’s reduced height. He emphasizes the need for caution when interpreting the measurement and warns against linking it directly to climate change. Des Garets points out that Mont Blanc’s summit constantly changes in altitude and position, with fluctuations of up to five meters.
Glaciologist Luc Moreau supports this perspective, stating that the climatic conditions at the summit of Mont Blanc are predominantly influenced by wind and snow, rather than global climate warming. The wind can remove or deposit snow, affecting the mountain’s altitude.
While Mont Blanc’s shrinking height may not be representative of global climate change, other parts of the Alps are experiencing notable impacts. Switzerland’s glaciers, for example, have suffered their second worst melt rate this year, resulting in a 10% reduction in overall volume over the past two years. Additionally, Scotland’s Sphinx ice patch melted entirely for the fifth time since 2017, highlighting the effects of climate change on the region.
As scientists continue to analyze the data collected from Mont Blanc, the mystery behind its shrinking height may soon be unraveled. This ongoing research contributes to our understanding of the complex relationship between weather patterns, environmental factors, and the changing landscape of our planet.