UK’s longest-lasting snow patch melts for only eighth time in 300 years

3 weeks ago 16

The UK’s longest-lasting snowfall patch, which has survived done countless summers connected a distant mountainside successful the Cairngorms, has melted distant for lone the eighth clip successful 300 years arsenic the Cop26 clime talks instrumentality spot successful Glasgow.

Nicknamed “the Sphinx”, the hardy spot of snowfall is recovered connected Braeriach, Scotland’s third-highest upland astatine 1,296 metres (4,252ft), adjacent Aviemore. It had shrunk to the size of an A4 portion of insubstantial successful caller weeks earlier yet disappearing successful mild weather.

Iain Cameron, an adept successful snowfall screen who has been studying snowfall patches successful Scotland for 25 years, said planetary heating was a important factor. “How ironic and prescient it is that our longest-lasting spot of snowfall melted for the 3rd clip successful 5 years, close connected the eve of Cop26. Before 2000 it had melted lone 3 times successful the past 150 years.”

According to records, the Sphinx antecedently melted afloat successful 1933, 1959, 1996, 2003, 2006, 2017 and 2018. Before 1933, it is thought to person past melted wholly successful the 1700s.

Cameron, writer of the publication The Vanishing Ice, said warmer upwind caused by the clime situation “seemed to beryllium the logical” mentation for the accrued complaint of melting. “What we are seeing from probe are smaller and less patches of snow. Less snowfall is falling present successful wintertime than successful the 1980s and adjacent the 1990s.”

The Sphinx lies successful Garbh Choire Mor, a hollow known arsenic a corrie that was formed by crystal oregon a glacier during the past crystal age.

A study commissioned by Cairngorms National Park Authority and published past twelvemonth said declining snowfall screen had been observed connected Cairngorm upland since the wintertime of 1983-84. Researchers besides noted a inclination for progressively warmer upwind since the 1960s, and suggested that by the 2080s determination would beryllium immoderate years with precise small oregon nary snowfall astatine each connected Cairngorm.

Before they were deed by coronavirus closures, Scotland’s skis resorts faced 1 of their astir hard seasons successful 2019, with a deficiency of snowfall forcing them to close galore of their slopes.

Lauren McCallum, of the planetary clime situation run radical Protect Our Winters, said the Cairngorms – and wider satellite – needed to beryllium protected from further rises successful temperature. She said: “We person to support a steadfast somesthesia for our ecosystems and communities to survive.”