By Jupiter Kalambakal

Canberra, Australia

A report commissioned by the Australian government has revealed the pristine natural winter snow of the Australian Alps could disappear by 2050.

The "Caring For Our Australian Alps Catchments" report said the Alps are endangered by climate change. Research showed that rising temperatures are slowly melting away the natural snow, and it will bare of natural winter snow by 2050.

The report revealed that a majority of the Alps' 235 catchments that cover Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory are declining, with the region's average temperature growing up to 2.9 degrees. A 24 percent reduction in precipitation by 2050 could prompt bushfires, droughts, severe storms and more rapid run-off that would in turn create heavy erosion.

Higher temperatures would mean any precipitation falling in the Alps will fall increasingly as rain rather than snow.

''Priority actions'' listed by the report's authors include stopping catchment degradation caused by weeds and feral animals, forming a resilient ecosystem with better erosion control, exploring better catchments and involving the active participation of local communities and volunteers.

The recommendations are expected to cost Australia $105 million over 15 years, which the study calls ''a small percentage of the annual economic benefits provided by the water yields flowing from the Alps catchment.''

"The effects of climate change are predicted to be the single greatest threat to the natural condition values of the Australian Alps catchments,'' the report says.

Water in the Alps helps create $15 billion worth of agricultural produce. It accounts for 29 percent of average inflows into the Murray-Darling Basin. It also contributes to electrify the Snowy and Kiewa hydro-electric scheme, generating power worth about $300 million per year.


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World - Australian Alps Could Be Bare of Snow by 2050 | Global Viewpoint