Fabric sheet helps defend Swedish glacier from international warming

Crew members Erik Huss and Oskar Kihlborg verify for cracks on Helags glacier, in Sweden, June 23, 2021. Image taken June 23, 2021. Anders Klapp/Handout by way of REUTERS

STOCKHOLM: A fabric sheet used to protect a part of the Helags glacier in northern Sweden over the summer time saved at the very least 3.5 metres in top from melting, in response to organisers of the non-public initiative, the primary of its form in Scandinavia.

World warming is inflicting glaciers to shrink everywhere in the world. For instance, the glacier on Sweden’s highest mountain, Kebnekaise, has misplaced two metres in top over the previous yr alone.

The fabric experiment was carried out on the Helags glacier, on Sweden’s highest mountain south of the Arctic Circle.

“We lined a small a part of the glacier with a wool and corn starch sheet simply to see if we may get the snow and ice to soften rather less than regular,” co-instigator Erik Huss mentioned.

“This sheet truly protected 3.5-4 metres from melting.”

Huss, a communications guide with a level in glaciology who had the thought together with Swedish adventurer Oskar Kihlborg, mentioned glaciers had been the very best gauge of local weather change.

“They present precisely how the local weather is altering, and likewise what you are able to do to guard the surroundings,” he instructed Reuters.

Huss and his associates hope to breed their take a look at on a bigger scale than the 40 sq. metres lined on Helags, and to contain glaciology researchers for a extra scientific method.

They’re additionally in talks with the fabric producer about making an attempt to make the fabric thinner, and so much less heavy.

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That’s key to scaling up, Huss mentioned, as a result of, as a part of efforts to minimise carbon emissions from the venture, the biodegradable fabric sheet is dragged up the mountain by hand.

‘It is about doing one thing’

Via the venture, the initiators hope to lift consciousness in regards to the risks many societies will face if the glaciers disappear.

“There’d then be no entry to water for farming, for business, for billions of individuals. The place do they go? From the place do they get their water?

“There are billions across the globe who stay alongside mountain ranges such because the Rocky Mountains, the Andes, the Alps and Himalaya… who depend on the glaciers for water provide.”

One other goal is to point out that hands-on motion to mitigate the affect of worldwide warming can have outcomes. “It is also about doing one thing,” Huss mentioned.

Protecting glaciers to save lots of them from additional shrinking has been examined elsewhere, akin to in Italy’s Presena, however by no means earlier than in a Nordic nation.