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The 20,000-year-old story is coming to an end! The glaciers in the Cilo Mountains have started to melt.

The 20,000-year-old story is coming to an end! The glaciers in the Cilo Mountains have started to melt.

10.07.2024 11:01

The glaciers located in the Cilo Mountains in Hakkari, which were declared a 'national park' four years ago by a presidential decree, are melting every year due to global warming. Vertical glacier layers that used to exceed 200 meters in some places have now decreased to 50 meters.

The melting of glaciers in the Cilo-Sat Mountains, which are located at an altitude of 4,135 meters in Hakkari, is causing concern among the local people and environmentalists due to global warming. The mountains, which were declared a 'national park' in 2020 by a presidential decree, are visited by hundreds of nature lovers and mountaineers from various cities in Turkey every year.

Cilo Mountains hosted the 5th festival organized by the governorship last year on July 1-2, and 20,000 people attended the festival. Experts say that if precautions are not taken, the glaciers will disappear in a short time as they have started melting in recent years.

20 thousand years old story is ending! Glaciers in Cilo Mountains are starting to melt


Prof. Dr. Faruk Alaeddinoğlu, a faculty member at Van Yüzüncü Yıl University's Department of Geography, said that the glaciers have experienced loss of area and that vertical layers of 100-200 meters have decreased to 50 meters in the past years. Prof. Dr. Alaeddinoğlu stated that, like in Italy, the glaciers should be covered to protect the natural heritage and said, "There is a similar situation in Turkey as in the world due to global warming. The best example of this is the glaciers in Cilo. The height of the mountain where Cilo glaciers are located is 4,135 meters. Cilo is the second highest mountain in Turkey. What makes it special is not that it is the second largest mountain in Turkey, but the glaciers on it. There are glaciers that are tens of thousands of years old. There are also glaciers under the region that are over a million years old. The glacier mass makes that region or that mountain special, turning it into a natural wonder in ecological terms. However, the glaciers have entered a very serious melting period in the last 30 years. The melting process in the last 10 years is accelerating. This melting has accelerated even more in the last 5 years."

20 thousand years old story is ending! Glaciers in Cilo Mountains are starting to melt


Alaeddinoğlu stated that there has been a loss of more than 50% in the last 30 years and said, "So, the total increase in temperature that the world has experienced due to global warming is also evident in Cilo, and the glaciers are losing more and more area every day. Unfortunately, this loss of area is continuing to accelerate. It has lost more than 50% in the last 30 years. The current area has fallen below 500 hectares. The areas that lose area are the ones directly exposed to the sun. The melting in these areas is much faster. In the relatively northern slopes, which are not directly exposed to sunlight, the glaciers can hold on relatively. However, this attachment is not very resistant because not only the area of the glaciers is shrinking. There are also melting inside the glaciers. There are serious cracks and crevices. There are voids beneath those seemingly solid layers on the surface. With the emergence of these cracks and voids over time, the intensity of this melting increases."

20 thousand years old story is ending! Glaciers in Cilo Mountains are starting to melt


Prof. Dr. Alaeddinoğlu stated that another reason for glacier melting is human-induced and said that people harm the glaciers by experiencing them, walking on their surface, and stepping on them. Prof. Dr. Alaeddinoğlu said, "The whole area really needs to be protected. In the past, those glacier masses, which were hundreds of meters deep, have now fallen well below a few meters. Glaciers are the oldest witnesses of this geography, this Anatolia. Glaciers have witnessed everything that has happened in this geography. They are not just a natural part, just a glacier, they are our past. We need to take care of them. They were prioritized and declared a national park in 2020. This is an important development. However, different steps should also be taken to protect that area. One of them is to protect the glaciers in that region. The people of the next 20-30 years have the right to see these glaciers. They should also experience the glaciers. We can protect those glaciers with surface covers and ensure that they remain as natural wonders for future generations. By developing certain limitations and control mechanisms in that region, we can ensure the effective use of that area by people. We can observe this, not the glaciers. These are our responsibilities. When we look at it today, we see that the glacier area, which was over a thousand hectares in the past, has fallen below 500 hectares."

20 thousand years old story is ending! Glaciers in Cilo Mountains are starting to melt


Prof. Dr. Alaeddinoğlu stated that if glacier melting continues in this way, even worse situations can be encountered and said, "All scenarios for the future show an increase in temperatures. Therefore, Cilo glaciers will also be affected by this. If you have lost more than 50% of an area in 30 years, if the temperature increase continues in this way, we can lose another 50% of it. We should develop protective measures without giving it a chance. While glacier melting destroys a natural wonder on one hand, on the other hand, some negative consequences that may occur with the melting of this natural wonder can also be experienced. The intensity of glacier melting can affect agricultural activities, animal husbandry, and human activities in the Hakkari region. We should think of it as part of an ecological balance. We should think of it as a natural event that can affect a life there. It is a treasure and a heritage that has witnessed all civilizations."

20 thousand years old story is ending! Glaciers in Cilo Mountains are starting to melt
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