Switzerland, the victim of an intense heat wave that has swept Europe, has seen freezing rise above its highest peaks, meteorologists reported on Monday, breaking a record set 27 years ago.
Scientists say human-caused climate change is amplifying the record heat waves seen in different parts of the planet in recent weeks.
Weather balloons soared 5,184 meters (17,008 feet) above the Alps overnight before hitting the freezing point (0°C, 32°F), MeteoSwiss reported in a tweet.
It was about 70 meters higher than the previous Swiss record of 5,117 meters, which was measured on July 20, 1995, and 375 meters above the summit of Europe’s highest peak, Mont Blanc in the French Alps.
It is very rare for the freezing point to be measured above 5,000 meters in Europe.
Swiss glaciologist Matthias Haas warned this month that rising temperatures are causing freshwater glaciers to melt faster than ever before.
“I’m really upset about the situation,” he wrote on Twitter on July 17. “Measurements collected today at Griesgletscher show that, even with respect to the previous record from 2003, we are a month ahead of melting.”
Global warming is also pushing wild species that live in colder climates higher up in mountains to survive. But when they reach the top, they no longer have anywhere to go.
Meteorologists have set the 0C limit over Switzerland using weather balloons launched twice daily from Payerne in the west of the country, public broadcaster RTS reported.
French meteorologists also measured 0°C above 5,000m on Sunday over Bordeaux (5,056m).
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