Global warming increases the risk of avalanches

J. A. Ballesteros-Cánovas, D. Trappmann, J. Madrigal-González, N. Eckert, and M. Stoffel

Climate warming is impacting high mountain ranges, thereby enhancing the probability for more and larger mass wasting processes to occur. A tree-ring based snow avalanche reconstruction in the Indian Himalayas shows an increase in avalanche occurrence and runout distances in recent decades. These findings, published in PNAS, contradict the intuitive assumption that warming results in less snow and thus in fewer snow avalanches in the region, with major implications for disaster risk management and risk mitigation in a region with steadily increasing human occupation.

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March 14, 2018