Lake Discovered 11,000ft High In Alps In ‘Truly Alarming’ Sign Of Climate Change

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Bryan Mestre/Instagram

A mountaineer has discovered a beautiful lake high up in the French Alps, but he warned that the lake’s existence is ‘truly alarming’. 

Bryan Mestre discovered the lake at an altitude of 11,100ft (3,400m) while climbing in the Mont Blanc mountain range.

It’s believed the lake formed from glacial snow that melted during the intense heatwave that affected Europe at the end of June, the problem is that just ten days before he discovered it, the lake wasn’t there.

In an Instagram post, Mr Mestre wrote: 

Time to sound the alarm… The problem here? These two pictures were taken only 10 days apart… It was taken earlier on June 28th, the second one was shared by Paul Todhunter.

Only 10 days of extreme heat were enough to collapse, melt and form a lake at the base of the Dent du Géant and the Aiguilles Marbrées That I know, this is the first time anything like that as ever happened.

Climate scientists have warned for years that Europe will experience more and more heatwaves as weather patterns shift, thanks to global climate change, but this is the first time Mestre, an experienced mountaineer, has seen anything like this.

In an interview with IFLScience Mestre said that finding the lake was a real surprise because it’s located in the 3,400- 3,500 metre area, well above the snow line (the boundary between a snow-covered and snow-free surface on mountains) in the Alps which is 2500–2800 metres up.

He explained: 

You’re supposed to find ice and snow at this altitude, not liquid water. Most of the time when we stay for a day at this altitude, the water in our water bottles starts freezing.

I have been up there a fair amount of times, in June, July and even August, and I have never seen liquid water up there, and I’m not only talking about Mt Blanc massif, I have been up dozens of [mountains] around the Alps.

During the hottest days, you may find snow melting, but that’s it.

A lake was last seen on the mountain by glaciologist Ludovic Ravanel, who observed a much smaller lake in 2015. He warned then that the lake’s formation was linked to climate change but the situation has only gotten worse since then.

Last June was the hottest June ever recorded on Earth, the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service claims with the average European ​temperature more than 2°C above normal. In France, Germany, and Spain things were even hotter with temperatures 6°C  to 10°C above normal.

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