Scotland’s Iconic ‘Sphinx’ Snow Patch Melts for the 10th Time in 300 Years, Signaling Climate Change Impact.

In a rare and alarming occurrence, the iconic ‘Sphinx’ snow patch, nestled on the slopes of Braeriach, the third-highest mountain in the UK, has melted away for only the 10th time in over three centuries of recorded history. This momentous event, marking a poignant indicator of climate change, underscores the profound impact of warming temperatures on Scotland’s majestic mountains.

This enduring snow patch, known for its resemblance to the Sphinx monument in Egypt, has graced the Cairngorms, a sheltered area, and has been a subject of fascination for enthusiasts since the 1700s. Typically, it survives the summer months and rejuvenates during the winter, but this year, it dwindled to a thin strip of ice before disappearing entirely on September 7.

Historical records reveal that the last time the Sphinx snow patch succumbed to melting was in 2019, adding to a list that includes 2017, 2006, 2003, 1996, 1933, 1893, and as far back as 1786. Each of these instances serves as a stark reminder of the unprecedented changes occurring in Scotland’s mountainous landscapes.

Climate experts attribute the vanishing of this long-lasting snow patch to a combination of factors driven by climate change. Rising temperatures, diminishing snowfall, and increased rainfall are collectively contributing to the gradual loss of snow cover on Braeriach and other Scottish peaks.

The Sphinx snow patch, also recognized as Garbh Choire Mor or An Garbh Choire, has not only been a geological wonder but also a symbol of Scotland’s environmental heritage. Its disappearance underscores the urgent need for measures to combat climate change and protect these fragile ecosystems.

As Scotland grapples with the visible consequences of a changing climate, the vanishing Sphinx snow patch serves as a poignant reminder of the broader challenges the world faces in preserving its natural wonders for generations to come.





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