|Autumn as it should be (Kurobe valley)|
Now NHK explains why. “Autumn has been shortened,” the announcer says. The average temperature in recent Octobers has been 1.9°C higher than the average temperature for the month during the 1980s. (I’m not sure whether he’s talking just about Fukui, or for the whole country.) Of course, recent Decembers have been warmer too, but by a lesser margin – only 0.9°C warmer than in the 1980s. The figures don’t look that alarming, until you consider that the world today is only a few degrees warmer, on average, than during the Ice Ages.
|Exploring the moulin in the Kuranosuke coire|
|The Kuranosuke snowfield|
(photo: Tateyama Caldera Sabo
“Moulin” usually refers to the deep blue pits that drain surface streams down into the icy depths of alpine glaciers. Several thousand years ago, there would have been a real glacier in the Kuranosuke corrie.
But a survey in the 1980s did discover hard-packed ice layers at the bottom of its permanent snowfield that were 1,700 years old. Let’s hope the moulin closes up again before that ancient ice is all washed away.