08:06 GMT +315 December 2018
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    A tourist takes a picture of a Swiss flag on the Rhone Glacier covered with insulating foam to be protected from the sun on July 14, 2015, near Gletsch

    Sleep Tight: Swiss Residents Cover Glaciers With Blankets to Stop Melting

    © AFP 2018 / FABRICE COFFRINI
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    Locals in Switzerland have found an unusual way to save their glaciers from the hazardous impact of global warming. However, the new measure is unlikely to completely stop the ice melting in the long run.

    Swiss residents are struggling to save their beautiful Rhône Glacier in the Swiss Alps by covering it with blankets.

    Although the method might seem strange at the first sight, as we use blankets to make us feel warmer, the method has an opposite impact on the glaciers. Not only does it efficiently reflect sunlight, it also protects the glaciers from the external environment and helps them remain in their pristine state.

    The measure was taken by locals due to drastic changes that took place in recent years: the glacier has retreated by as much as 350 meters over the last decade.

    READ MORE: Once in a Lifetime: Ecosystems at Bottom of Iceberg 'Brand New Discovery' — Prof

    Although blankets are a rather low-tech solution to the existing crisis, some tangible benefits can still be observed. In 2015, David Folken, an expert working with the Swiss Ministry of Environmental Protection, said that blankets reduce melting by as much as 70%.

    Currently, various initiative groups are looking for ways to slow down melting by other means as well: for example, a group from the University of Utrecht hopes to save the Morteraca glacier in Switzerland by covering it with artificial snow with a high level of light reflectance.

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    Tags:
    melting, blanket, global warming, glacier, Switzerland
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