MILAN– 903 glacial bodies, with a total area of 369 km² equal to that of Lake Garda, a majority of small and fragmented glaciers, 6 Italian regions involved among which only one, Abruzzo, is not in the Alps. This is the interesting picture provided by the New Italian Glacier Inventory, a publication recently presented in Milan during the 19th Alpine Glaciology Meeting.
The New Glacier Inventory
Compiled after years of field studies, analysing aerial photographs and satellite imagery, the publication makes it possible to assess the evolution of glaciers over recent decades and to quantify surface and morphology changes consequent to climatic changes under way. In fact, the monitoring operations performed every year, although important, only allow for making considerations relating to the impact of the individual weather seasons on glaciers. By contrast, studies performed over many decades, such as those carried out by comparing glacial inventories, permit obtaining data on the long-term evolution of glacial masses, which depends on climate dynamics.
From the “New Italian Glacier Inventory” the evident importance of glaciers as water, energy, tourism and landscape resources also emerges, and not only as a tangible sign of the climate change under way. Levissima is well aware of this, and since 2007 has been working alongside Milan University, studying and monitoring Italian glaciers, starting with the Eastern Dosdè-Cima Piazzi glacier, where its mineral water originates: “Levissima, a mineral water brand of the San Pellegrino group, owes its exceptional purity to the place from which it springs and that is why, for many years now, the brand has been strongly committed towards supporting the research work of Milan University glaciologists – said Stefano Agostini, Group President and Managing Director –. Today we can finally say that we have in our hands the complete Atlas of Italian glaciers, available with open access to all Italian and international fans, students and experts”.
“The Inventory is an indispensable tool for understanding the ‘state of health’ of the cold heart of our Alps, the evolution of which is the main indicator of the climatic changes under way – said Claudio Smiraglia, project leader and Professor of Physical Geography and Geomorphology at Milan University”. Research work started in 2012 on the basis of a set of data collected in at least a decade, coordinated by Claudio Smiraglia, together with Levissima, and with the collaboration of the Ev-K2-CNR Recognized Association and with the scientific support of the Italian Glaciology Committee. It constitutes an atlas, updated to the current period, of all the Italian glaciers after the last national census of 1962.