Gone are the days when humans covered themselves with blankets to keep warm, it’s now the era of huddling glaciers under blankets to keep them cool because at the rate climate is changing, this seems like a very feasible idea to keep them from melting.
A ski resort in the Swiss Alps, Switzerland uses blankets to protect the glacier from melting under the summer sun. Gian Darms, who handles snow conditions for a cable car operator told about this unique procedure and said, “We lay the fleece over the glacier like a natural protective shield.” The blankets are being used to cover the top of the 10,623 foot Mount Titlis whose glacier has already melted in the last few decades and it is expected to disappear completely in the next 50 years thanks to global warming.
To reverse the intense effect of climate change, resort employees have taken it upon themselves to protect the glaciers from the heat and for this process, they spend about five to six weeks every summer covering parts of the glacier with protective polyester fleece. This helps to radiate the Sun’s energy back into the atmosphere and prevent the glaciers from melting, while also preserving the already fallen snow on the glacier in the previous winter season. After the season passes, the employees remove the coating and use the collected snow to fill in any gaps in the glacier’s surface. Now that’s some dedication for Mother Nature!
This practice has been going on for a while now and the amount of glacier-covered has increased to almost 100,000 square meters now. “[W]e’ve been covering more and more in the last few years. Almost 30,000 square meters [approximately 322,917 square feet] more this year alone,” said Darms.
The ski resort’s actions show how severe is the effect of climate change on glaciers which have been melting at unprecedented rates in the past few years. Many different resorts have also started covering their glaciers to try to prevent them from melting because if there are no more glaciers, then there is no more business for these ski resorts.