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What is the New Italian Glacier Cadastre?

Glaciers are the sentinels of the changing climate, and as such are subject to repeated monitoring, which is catalogued within a very useful report: The Cadastre of Italian Glaciers.

Have you ever heard of it?

Well, this represents an important assessment tool, a "snapshot" of the state of health in which our glaciers pour, as well as an inventory that encapsulates all the characteristics and changes found, to be aware of the glacial heritage we possess. It is precisely through comparison with previous editions of the cadastre that it is possible to understand the acceleration of their reduction, keeping track of the changes involving them.

Studying the size of glacial apparatuses is also useful to properly manage water resources, predict environmental risks and better understand the evolution of the climate system.

Italy has a long history in the field of glacier census, over the years, in fact, there has been a series of cadastres, the result of continuous updates.

You should know that since the drafting of the first cadastre, the number of glaciers has changed abruptly, the first version of the list included 774 glaciers, the second included 835, until it passed to the 1381 units of the Word Glacier Inventory.

At present, the glacial apparatuses bearing witness to climate change, identified by the New Italian Glacier Cadastre, are exactly 903, 68 more than in the 1950s. You will probably find this statement a bit at odds with what has always been thought...

But actually, the increase of glacial units in numerical terms is not a joyous event, as the same thing does not happen in volumetric terms


This is because the paradoxical increase in glacial units is caused to a sudden fragmentation of them, due to their melting, which leads to separating the glacier into several portions.

Article written by: Ilaria Miotto

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