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Aerospace technology comes down to earth to study Italy’s melting glaciers

The new Levissima project has begun in the Alta Valtellina valley, in collaboration with the University of Milan

MILAN – The new scientific research programme “Levissima Glacier Expedition” has officially begun, mounted by the bottled water that stands for purity, in collaboration with the University of Milan and supported by the EvK2CNR association. The new project will focus on studying the changes in Italian glaciers starting in the  Alta Valtellina valley, making use of the best aerial surveying equipment and the NASA satellite.

THE COMPANY’S COMMITMENT – “Levissima, a mineral water brand that belongs to the Sanpellegrino Group, has always been an expression of the purest, uncontaminated nature and love for the mountain heights that give the water its purity”, states Daniela Murelli, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at the Sanpellegrino Group. “The “Levissima Glacier Expedition” that we are conducting with the valuable input of the University of Milan – a partner since 2007 – aims to preserve the frozen heritage of the Italian mountains and raise awareness about the importance of the ice system”.

MELTING GLACIERS – Glaciers are a priceless and sensitive resource, as highlighted by the “New Survey of Italian Glaciers” recently concluded by researchers from the Università degli Studi di Milano, under the guidance of Professor Claudio Smiraglia. This research found that the number of Italian glaciers has increased over the past 50 years, going from 824 to 869, but that the overall surface area of them has reduced.

THE PROJECT – The first experiments, conducted during summer 2014 with the help of the NASA satellite passing over, gave very encouraging results. To better analyse the satellite images, and those taken from above, the researchers temporarily laid a special sheet made from a non-toxic material which, when placed on an area of a few hundred square metres, makes the image easier to identify and helps place the elements in the image. These pioneering technological experiments are the first phase of the wider Levissima project which aims to create innovative work protocols that can be rolled out from Valtellina across the entire Alps and find the scientific answer to the melting of Italian glaciers.