site.btaSmall Glaciers in Pirin Mountain Expected to Disappear Completely by 2045

Small Glaciers in Pirin Mountain Expected to Disappear Completely by 2045
Small Glaciers in Pirin Mountain Expected to Disappear Completely by 2045
Micro-glacier Snezhnika (Emil Gachev Photo)

The small glaciers in Pirin Mountain are expected to disappear completely by 2045, said Assoc. Prof. Emil Gachev, research fellow at National Institute of Geophysics, Geodesy and Geography - Bulgarian Academy of Science, at a Tuesday presentation of the results of a field study in Pirin Mountain.

There are two micro-glaciers in Pirin, which are located in the highest marble part of the mountain. One is called Snezhnika and is located in the circus Golemiya Kazan below Vihren Peak. The other is called Banski Suhodol, located below the northern wall of the karst rim Koncheto. Research shows that these glaciers have existed without interruption for at least 500 years, pointed out Gachev. The greatest value of Bulgaria's small glaciers is that they are unbiased and accurate recorders of climate change, he stressed.

There has been a trend towards snowless winters over the past 7-8 years, the scientist noted. He added that the deficit of snow in December and January is partly compensated by significant snowfall in March and April. These are isolated events of intense snowfall that lead to avalanche snow accumulation, he explained. This affects the condition of the micro-glaciers, Gachev underlined. "There is degradation of small glaciers into snow banks and ice drifts. In the Pirin Mountain, this degradation in the period after 2018 affects more strongly the Banski Suhodol micro-glacier. It shows no activity and turns into an ice drift," he explained.

"The last 150 years have been a period of constant climatic warming. The reason is an increase in solar activity after the Little Ice Age, which coincides with the Industrial Revolution," the specialist said.

The Banski Suhodol micro-glacier is located at an altitude of almost 2,700 m. Thanks to lower temperatures, it has managed to preserve itself. Its avalanche rate is up to 4 times lower than that of Snezhnik and that is why the intense rainfall in May-June melts the snow cover and exposes it in July, the scientist explained.

Avalanche activity is more significant on Snezhnik because of the funnel-shaped slope, concentrating snow 20 times the area of the micro-glacier. This protects the micro-glacier from the effects of high temperatures during the first half of summer, Gachev noted.

Currently, micro-glaciers are found in three of the high mountains on the Balkan Peninsula - Durmitor (in Montenegro), Prokletia (in Albania) and Pirin (in Bulgaria).

/RY/

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By 05:35 on 28.02.2024 Today`s news

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