Italian glacier covered up to prevent melting

Experts say that approximately 70% of the snow can be saved over the summer season with the protective covering which basically works in the same way as a reflective window guard similar to those we would put on our dashboard to stop our cars overheating in the hot months.

The reflective strips are 5-metres-wide and 70-metres-long and are laid across the glacier. They reflect the solar radiation away from the glacier so the snow does not melt as much.

"... we go to the glacier throughout the year to follow what is called 'mass balance,' i.e. the changes in mass that the glacier undergoes as a result of the winter gain in the form of snow and the loss during the summer under the force of solar radiation. The difference between the winter snow accumulation and the summer snow melt gives us the net balance, i.e. how much the glacier has gained if the snow accumulations have been higher, or how much the glacier has lost if the losses have been higher. That's what we've been experiencing now for the last fifteen to twenty years, a continuous downward trend and therefore a reduction in mass of our glaciers," explained Glaciologist from the Trento science museum Christian Casarotto.

"Glaciers and their retreat are perhaps the most striking manifestation of ongoing global warming," Casarotto explained.

"It is therefore important to follow their course in order to understand where we are going, i.e. our behaviour, our political decisions, everything put together must succeed in creating an awareness of what is happening, i.e. the need to give back to future generations a world worthy of the name," he said.

"Studying glaciers therefore becomes important in order to understand the direction in which we are heading and to be able to correct it in order to make the lives of the generations that will follow us as suitable as possible, responsible and aware of the actions that we are all putting into practice" Casarotto said.