A cool way to save the glacier

Every summer, residents in the Swiss Alps have been covering a beloved glacier in blankets.

The white canvas sheets are to reflect sunlight off the Rhone Glacier to prevent it from melting too fast.

A popular tourist destination, the glacier has been shrinking rapidly. Of the 350m of ice thickness that has been lost since 1856, about 40m disappeared in the 10-year period between 2005 and 2015 alone.

Swiss glaciologist David Volken told Agence France-Presse that the blankets have helped reduce seasonal melting by as much as 70 per cent.

It is a rare approach but not unprecedented, noted environmental news site E&E News. In Italy and Germany, glaciers are swaddled in reflective material.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 07, 2018, with the headline 'A cool way to save the glacier'. Print Edition | Subscribe