Italy covers shrinking glacier to save it from summer heat

PRESENA GLACIER, Italy, July 1 (Reuters) - Battling to save northern Italy's Presena glacier from further shrinking, climate experts are covering it with long strips of cloth which will reflect the sun's rays and prevent the snow beneath from melting.

They say about 70% of the snow can be saved over the summer with the protective covering which works in the same way as a silver reflective guard placed in a car window to stop overheating.

Atop the glacier and surrounded by stunning wide peaks, a team unfurls 5-metre-wide and 70-metre-long strips to cover some 120,000 square metres of the glacier. The task takes a month to complete.

The process has been carried out every year since 2008.

"Glaciers and their retreat are perhaps the most striking manifestation of ongoing global warming," said glaciologist Christian Casarotto of Trento science museum, adding glacier mass had been falling continuously for the last 15 to 20 years.

"Studying glaciers therefore becomes important in order to understand the direction in which we are heading and to be able to correct it," he added.

Production by Gabriele Pileri and Eleanor Biles, Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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