The Alps green at high altitude

DECRYPTION – Vegetation has increased on 80% of the surface of the alpine peaks, while snow cover at very high altitudes is decreasing.

In the Alps, climate change is measured from space. Swiss researchers, who have analyzed satellite data with very fine resolution since 1984, reveal this Thursday in the journal Science that plant productivity has increased at high altitude over nearly 80% of the surface of the mountain range. In other words, the Alps are greening, and this change has come “on an absolutely massive scale”comments Sabine Rumpf, professor at the University of Basel and first author of the study.

“This greening is explained by an extension of the forest towards the heights and by a densification of the existing vegetation, which becomes bushier, higher”, indicates the researcher, specifying that the methodology used – a satellite measurement of the quantity of chlorophyll in the light spectrum – does not make it possible to know precisely how these changes are reflected in the field. The phenomenon is a consequence of global warming, which is twice as…

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