Thursday, April 16, 2009

A movable border (thanks to global warming)

(Image of Monta Rosa glacier courtesy of Wikipedia. This is a strange article - sounds like something you might read in the satire site, The Onion. Because of shrinking glaciers the border between Italy and Switzerland is moving, as much as 30 feet or more. They are actually considering the notion of a "movable border" between the 2 countries, as glaciers shrink and the watershed below shifts over time - bizarre!)

How global warming can shrink glaciers and alter frontiers

ONCE frontiers were changed by armies. Now the job is done by global warming. Italy and Switzerland are preparing to make—or rather to recognise—alterations to the border that runs through the Monte Rosa massif of the Alps. Despite what romantically minded locals may say, the name of the massif has nothing to with the pink blush its peaks acquire at sunset. It comes from a dialect word meaning glacier. The massif has nine glaciers. In several places the line between the two countries is set at the watershed. Because of global warming, the glaciers have shrunk, so the watershed has shifted, “in some places by as much as ten metres”, says General Carlo Colella of Italy’s Military Geographic Institute in Florence. In January, after four years of work by the general and his staff, Silvio Berlusconi’s cabinet approved a change in the frontier.

Here is the entire article in the Economist.

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