Sep 25, 2019

Mont Blanc glacier could collapse, experts warn

Mount Blanc. Photo: Pino Pacifico/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Italian authorities closed roads and evacuated mountain homes in northwestern Italy on Wednesday after experts warned that 250,000 cubic meters of ice could break away from a glacier on the Mont Blanc massif in the Alps at any moment, according to The Guardian.

Why it matters: A geologist who has monitored the glacier since 2013 told the New York Times that, although climate change was not directly connected to the creation of the crevasse, its melting rate has significantly increased as a result of rising temperatures.

What they're saying: Geologist Daniele Giordan said a chilly fall could close the crack and prevent a massive ice avalanche that would threaten anyone in the popular hiking location, per the NYT.

  • Stefano Miserocchi, the mayor of Courmayeur — a town in the region — said he issued a pre-emptive order to clear the resort community.

The big picture: Experts sent the warning a day after the United Nations published a report blaming climate change for rapidly melting glaciers and ice sheets, which cover nearly 10% of Earth's land area.

  • The report said the receding glaciers and ice sheets have altered the ecosystems of high mountain regions around the world and that some cold-adapted or snow-dependent species have declined in abundance, increasing their risk of extinction.
  • “...many glaciers are projected to disappear regardless of future emissions,” the report added.

Go deeper: In photos: Hundreds mourn Swiss glacier's loss to global warming

Go deeper

Coronavirus stay-at-home orders crater voter registration efforts

A volunteer looks for persons wanting to register to vote on July 4, 2019 in Santa Fe, N.M. Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic is scuppering usual "get out the vote" efforts, leading to fears that large swaths of Americans could miss out on this year's elections.

What’s happening: Advocacy groups typically target college campuses, churches, festivals, fairs and other gatherings to seek out people who have yet to register, but many of those places are now closed. Voter registration efforts have largely moved to the internet, but advocates question whether that will be as effective as the person-to-person pitch.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 5,471,768 — Total deaths: 344,911 — Total recoveries — 2,223,523Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 1,660,072 — Total deaths: 98,184 — Total recoveries: 379,157 — Total tested: 14,604,942Map.
  3. World: Italy reports lowest number of new cases since February — Ireland reports no new coronavirus deaths on Monday for the first time since March 21 — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: New York stock exchange to reopen its floor on Tuesday — White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 33 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Italy reports lowest number of new coronavirus cases since February

Italy’s aerobatic team Frecce Tricolori fly over Milan in Duomo Square on May 25. Photo: Francesco Prandoni/Getty Images

The Italian government reported 300 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, the lowest daily increase since Feb. 29.

Why it matters: Italy, the first country in Europe to implement a nationwide lockdown after emerging as a hotspot in March, appears to have finally weathered its coronavirus outbreak. Italy has reported nearly 33,000 total deaths, the third-highest total behind the U.S. and U.K.