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CLIMATE CHANGE AND RAPID ICE MELT: SUGGESTIONS FROM ABRUPT PERMAFROST DEGRADATION AND ICE MELTING IN AN ALPINE ICE CAVE

May 17, 2019


We are very happy and proud to see our last paper published on-line first, today on Progress in Physical Geography
After 8 years of observations we add some knowledge to the study of ground ice and permafrost in alpine/mountain regions where carbonatic rocks and caves are dominant.

We were very lucky to intercept in 2014 an abrupt permafrost degradation induced by recent climate change in an ice cave of the Canin range.

Air circulation remains responsible for having a net cooling effect on this environment, except when the entrance is sealed by snow. In the recent past, when climatic permafrost thickness started to reduce, due to pure conduction induced by external warming, air circulation was responsible in keeping cryotic conditions “around” the cave environment, preserving the permanent ice deposit in it from abrupt melting. Therefore, relict permafrost can be solely or jointly responsible with air circulation, for ice formation and preservation within a cave. Ongoing climate change is now deeply affecting high-elevation caves in the Alps and several positive feedbacks are jointly acting in a rapid disappearance of permanent ice deposits within them, which represent important paleoclimatic archives of the Alps. For this reason, urgent scientific actions are needed to save as much information as possible, before the ice in caves completely melts.

 

The paper is available here, but if you do not have access to the journal we can send you the un-edited proofs of the manuscript

 

 

 

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