Snow on melting mountain is vanishing at a rapid rate
Experts say that tourism in the region of Mount Kebnekaise, where the highest point in Sweden is located, may be badly damaged if a decision is taken to replace it with another peak on the same mountain that is far less accessible to climbers.
The reason for the change? Snow melting at an unprecedented rate on the higher southern peak is making it lower than the less reachable northern peak, which is not snow-capped. The southern peak has shrunk at a rate of one metre per year, on average, over the 15 years.
It was measured last week at 2,097.5 metres above sea level. It is on schedule to lose its title as Sweden’s highest peak next year, when it melts by another 70 centimetres.
“The northern peak isn’t accessible at all, at least not for the typical climber,” Professor Gunhild Rosqvist, director of Tarfala Research Station, told The Local. “And it’s going to be a real challenge for the people working in tourism up there to continue attracting people. That mountain climb is a crucial earner for the region. They’re going to need a major rethinking here, and I hope they come up with something good.”
She added: “No one can remember it ever being this warm,” explaining that the mountain’s delicate ecosystem, its vegetation and reindeer population, are finding hard to adapt to global warming.
[pictured: Mount Kebnekaise base camp; photo by Fredrik Broman/imagebank.sweden.se]