It might not come as a surprise that the retreat of glaciers in the Alps has hurt the region’s famous ski industry. But did you know that glacial melt is also increasing the risk of certain mountain hazards? As glaciers shrink because of climate change, glacial lakes, which can burst and release powerful torrents of water, are forming more often. Avalanches, too, become more likely, as melting glaciers destabilize the slopes on which they sit.
We set out to talk with scientists who study glacial hazards in the Alps — one of the most densely populated mountain areas of the world, with villages perched at high elevations on steep slopes.