The majestic Mont Blanc has become a bit smaller in recent times: within two years, the mountain in the French Alps has shrunk by more than two meters. According to current measurements, the highest mountain in Western Europe, located in southeastern France, is now only 4,805 meters and 59 centimeters high - that is two meters and 22 centimeters less than in 2021.
The decline could be due to lower rainfall in the summer, the chief surveyor in the Haute-Savoie department, Jean des Garets, told journalists in Chamonix on Thursday. When Mont Blanc is surveyed again in two years, it could be "much larger," he added.
The researchers collected the data “for future generations,” des Garets said. "We're not here to interpret them, we'll leave that to the scientists."
Equipped with the most modern measuring equipment and, for the first time, even a drone, the researchers climbed the mountain in September to measure it point by point over several days.
The mountain's rocky peak is 4,792 meters above sea level, while the height of its thick blanket of snow and ice varies from year to year depending on the weather. Since 2001, researchers have been determining the height of the mountain every two years. They hope to obtain information about the effects of climate change on the Alps.
So far they have learned that the summit is “constantly changing in height and position,” said Garets chief surveyor. Fluctuations of up to five meters are not unusual.
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