Italy covers glacier with sheets to slow melting

Posted by Anita Froneman on 23 June 2020

The Presena glacier in Northern Italy has lost more than one third of its volume since 1993 and scientists are pulling out all the stops to prevent it from disappearing completely.

Every summer, once ski season is over, conservationists cover the glacier with geotextile tarpaulins. These resemble large white sheets. The tarpaulins reflect sunlight, maintaining a temperature lower than the external one. This preserves as much snow as possible, according to The Guardian.

Every year, a team covers the glacier with sheets for the summer.

‘This area is continuously shrinking, so we cover as much of it as possible,’ Davide Panizza, head of Carosello-Tonale, the company that coordinates the project, told The Guardian.

The rate at which the glacier shrinks is alarming. The tarpaulin project began in 2008 and the glacier consisted of 30,000 square metres. This year, they covered over 100,000 square metres, showing that the snow is melting, according to WIO News.

The sheets are placed across the mountain and sewed shut to prevent hot air from entering underneath. Bags of sand are placed over them to restrict movement.

‘When we remove them in September and we see that they did their job, we feel proud,’ said Franco Del Pero who leads the operation.


Image credit: Twitter/NamanGo78454541




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