David Volken, were you surprised by such a massive glacier collapse, which claimed several lives in the Dolomites on Sunday?
- No, I was not surprised. In Switzerland we had the second warmest May since records began, in France it was the warmest May. And in June, too, the temperatures were extremely high. Maximum temperatures were measured at many measuring stations in the Swiss Alps - on the Jungfraujoch, for example, the temperatures did not even go below zero degrees for several days. On the Punta Rocca, where this glacier collapse occurred, the mercury did not drop below zero for many days.
So the cause of the glacier collapse is the heat?
- Yes, it is definitely due to the high temperatures.
For the extreme mountaineer Reinhold Messner, who knows the region, the break-off is a consequence of global warming. Do you share this assessment?
- Yes. Climate change is responsible for causing the demolition.
Do we now have to expect more occurrences in the Alps like those in the Dolomites?
- Definitely. The hotter it gets, the more the glaciers at high altitudes are affected. Such a glacier pocket outburst as in the Dolomites - where an underground lake in the glacier suddenly empties - also occurred in summer 2019 at the Trift glacier above Zermatt. This led to a Flooding in the village, and only by luck no people were harmed.
How an underground lake empties into the glacier