in the mountains also the tipping point is close

The summer of 2022 will have been marked by the scale of the fires, the episodes of heat waves and a pre-existing drought situation which has continued to worsen. Also in the mountains, the melting of the glaciers and the modification of the climate (high temperature and precipitation amplitudes in all or nothing mode, greater UV radiation) pose serious problems.

The call of 22 researchers in the magazine Science of The Total Environmentled by the Toulouse researchers Dirk Schmeller and Adeline Loyau, underlines the difficulties of a transformation which approaches a irreversible tipping point under the effect of natural constraints and human activity.

Particularly fragile ecosystems

The global warming manifests itself there more strongly and quickly than at lower altitudes and the mountain ecosystems, which are often very delicate, also suffer from the over-intensity of a human presence.

The latter is associated with local constraints, such as mass tourism and more global ones with hydroelectric dams involving excessive water abstraction and soil artificialization.


Other phenomena, linked to the evolution of the climate, add pressure on the local environment, impoverishing the pastures and making the water in the reservoirs unfit for consumption, when they do not disappear almost completely under the effect of the heat and low rainfall.

A global threat

The article takes stock of the numerous threats affecting this specific environment, which also involve the extinction of endemic species, the emergence of pathogens, chemical pollution, eutrophication, and the introduction of external species (for fishing , in particular) without knowing the local repercussions.

If scientists still want to “raise awareness”, the breaking point would not be far away and the shock absorber effects of the various systems are ready to give way, with no possibility of turning back and with consequences that will go far beyond the framework of the mountain alone.

If decisions are not made, nature will make it for us“, indicates Adeline Loyau to These observations are in line with the acceleration of climate change largely attributed to human activity and the emergence of large-scale natural phenomena with catastrophic consequences.

Source: GNT – actualités by

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