May 4, 2009

Climbers Scale Glaciers To Show Effects Of Global Warming

Portuguese climbers will depart next month for a three-year expedition to scale five glaciers throughout the world that have been declared heritage sites by Paris-based UNESCO.  The team hopes the journey will demonstrate the impact of global warming, according to an AFP report quoting the leader of the Ice Care project.

The team, consisting of two climbers and an environmental engineer, will ascend Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Jungfrau in Switzerland, Huascaran in Peru, Ilulissat in Danish-ruled Greenland and Sagarmatha in Nepal. Researchers, environmental engineers, anthropologists and a doctor will join the team during each climb.

The project's goal is to "show, in a unquestionable way, that the problem of global warming already exists in several of the planet's sensitive spots with serious consequences on populations," said project leader Jose Abecasis Soares in an interview with AFP.

The team will employ non-polluting methods of transport, such as kayaks and bikes, and are set to depart UNESCO headquarters in Paris on June 19.  The first leg of the journey involves cycling to the 14.5-mile long Aletsch glacier, the largest in Europe.

"We will record the end of the ice's lower limit on a GPS. This position will then be marked on a satellite image available on the project's website and updated every year," said Soares.

This will demonstrate how quickly the glaciers are melting from one year to the next, he added.

The project also seeks to show how human activities are linked to global warming.  


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