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Rare 0C measured above 5000m in Swiss Alps

Glacier

Every day, Swiss meteorologists release weather balloons in the Swiss Alps to determine the altitude of the 0°C limit. Recently the weather balloons climbed to a height of 5,184m before finding 0°C, a troubling new record. The highest peak in the Alps, Mont Blanc, is 4,807m at its tallest point.

It is therefore extremely rare for 0°C to be found above 5000m in Europe. This heat not only lessens the chance of snow at high altitudes, but it also quickens the process of glacial melting. Glaciologist Matthias Huss says he is incredibly alarmed by the situation in the precious ice-covered areas of Europe, predicting that high-altitude areas of Switzerland could tragically be ice-free by 2100.

The heatwave has been soaring across the continent, with Portugal, Belgium and Germany among the countries seeing heatwave temperatures above 40°C. Many Met Office stations in the UK recorded their highest ever temperatures, and for the first time ever above 40°C was recorded in the UK (40.2°C at Heathrow).

Human-induced global warming is responsible for these unprecedented temperatures. Scientists have warned that the climate crisis is the greatest threat we face as a society, and they urge a rapid transition to forms of renewable energy for our fuel and electricity. Forms of green energy such as onshore wind, solar, and green hydrogen, deployed at large scales to satisfy global energy demand, will curb our skyrocketing emissions and slow the warming of our planet.

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