Austria’s snow is getting cleaner

The snowpack in Austria is getting cleaner. @bberwyn photo.

A long-term study of the snowpack in Austria shows that global pollution-reduction efforts have paid off with big reductions in sulfate and nitrate concentrations. The pollutants are primarily from industrial sources and from cars and trucks and are carried to the Alps by prevailing winds. As snow and glacier ice melt, the pollutants run off into rivers and streams.

The study sites have been monitored since the 1980s and the results how that sulfate pollution has been reduced by 70 percent, while nitrate levels are down about 30 percent.

Read the entire report here:

Alpine plants and animals sprinting uphill in response to global warming

Research documents rapid ecosystem shifts

Swiss researchers document global warming impacts to alpine ecosystems. bberwyn photo.

By Bob Berwyn

Swiss researchers taking a close look at the effect of global warming say that plants, birds and butterflies sprinted uphill by anywhere from eight to 42 meters between 2003 and 2010 — a significant shift in a very short time, according to the study published in the online journal Plos One. Other research has shown that, in general, European bird and butterfly communities have moved on average 37 and 114 kilometers to the north, respectively. Continue reading “Alpine plants and animals sprinting uphill in response to global warming”

The world’s mountain regions are warming swiftly

North Tenmile Creek trail, Frisco Colorado
Global warming will have profound impacts on mountain ecosystems, @bberwyn photo.

Scientists say there’s an urgent need for more widespread data collection and observations from high elevations

By Bob Berwyn

A new scientific report from climate scientists says the world’s highest mountains may be warming much faster than than the global average — and faster than previously thought.

Most of all, the researchers said more monitoring and observations of mountain temperature patterns are needed to assess the high-elevation changes. Continue reading “The world’s mountain regions are warming swiftly”