Jump to content
Your browser is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this websites. Learn how to update your browser[Close]

High temperatures

Warming of Swiss permafrost continues unabated

Unremittingly high temperatures are continuing to take their toll on Swiss permafrost and glaciers, according to the latest scientific research. The permanent ice covering on Swiss mountains is melting while rock glaciers are moving several metres a year.

The latest findings from the Swiss Permafrost Monitoring Network (PERMOS) reveal that the warming trend of the last seven years continues unabated. This has been ascertained by measuring the temperatures of permafrost at 30 borehole sites.

The permafrost in Corvatsch, near to St Moritz, has increased in temperature from -1.5 degrees Celsius to -1 degrees since 2009. The permanent ice covering on the Stockhorn, in the Bernese Oberland, has now been measured at -2 degrees, compared to -2.5 degrees in 2009.

PERMOS said that the increased ice temperatures were the result of several years of warmer conditions than normal, not just the unusually hot summer of 2015. Researchers also observed higher quantities of pooled ground water, hinting at the permafrost melting.

The speed of movement of rock glaciers increased 20% in 2014-2015 compared to the previous recordings. Such glaciers are now moving at a faster rate than at any time since recordings began in 2000.

The only unlikely silver lining comes in the shape of the late snowfall in Switzerland this winter. This allowed the ground to cool off faster because it did not have such a thick covering of insulating snow, PERMOS said.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


All rights reserved. The content of the website by swissinfo.ch is copyrighted. It is intended for private use only. Any other use of the website content beyond the use stipulated above, particularly the distribution, modification, transmission, storage and copying requires prior written consent of swissinfo.ch. Should you be interested in any such use of the website content, please contact us via contact@swissinfo.ch.

As regards the use for private purposes, it is only permitted to use a hyperlink to specific content, and to place it on your own website or a website of third parties. The swissinfo.ch website content may only be embedded in an ad-free environment without any modifications. Specifically applying to all software, folders, data and their content provided for download by the swissinfo.ch website, a basic, non-exclusive and non-transferable license is granted that is restricted to the one-time downloading and saving of said data on private devices. All other rights remain the property of swissinfo.ch. In particular, any sale or commercial use of these data is prohibited.