Mont Blanc, the Alps' highest peak and the highest mountain in Europe outside of the Caucasus range, has lost more than two meters in height over the past two years, according to French researchers.
Mont Blanc stood at 4,805.59 meters, a team of geographical experts told a news conference in Chamonix in the French Alps, however, researchers urged against forming premature conclusions based on limited data.
Researchers have been measuring Mont Blanc every two years since 2001 in order to analyze the impact of climate change with some twenty people climbing the mountain in mid-September to carry out measurements over several days.
Mont Blanc's rocky peak measures 4,792 meters above sea level, but its overall height varies from year to year depending on the amount of ice and snow.
Jean des Garets, chief geometer in France's southeastern Haute-Savoie region, said that lower precipitation could be the cause of the change.
Mont Blanc could well be much taller in two years, he said, adding that this was not the first time such a large change was registered. He said changes of up to five meters had been regularly observed.
The geometer called for further analysis to be done using the figure, saying, It's now up to the climatologists, glaciologists and other scientists to make use of all the data we've collected and come up with theories to explain the shrinkage.
Another member of the research team, Denis Borel, urged people to stay humble and not to draw hasty conclusions about measurements that have only been made precisely since 2011.
Nonetheless, fast melting has been observed in Alps glaciers as a result of climate change, with data showing they lost around one-third of their volume between 2000 and 2020.