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Warming World Creates Hazard for Alpine Glaciers

A rescue helicopter hovers over the Punta Rocca glacier near Canazei, in the Italian Alps in northern Italy, July 4, 2022, a day after a huge chunk of the glacier broke loose, sending an avalanche of ice, snow, and rocks onto hikers. Italy was enduring a prolonged heat wave before a massive piece of the Alpine glacier broke off and killed hikers on Sunday and experts say climate change will make those hot, destabilizing conditions more common. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno, File)
A rescue helicopter hovers over the Punta Rocca glacier near Canazei, in the Italian Alps in northern Italy, July 4, 2022, a day after a huge chunk of the glacier broke loose, sending an avalanche of ice, snow, and rocks onto hikers. Italy was enduring a prolonged heat wave before a massive piece of the Alpine glacier broke off and killed hikers on Sunday and experts say climate change will make those hot, destabilizing conditions more common. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno, File)

(AP) -- Italy was enduring a prolonged heat wave before a massive piece of Alpine glacier broke off and killed hikers on Sunday and experts say climate change will make those hot, destabilizing conditions more common.

Seven hikers died and several others are unaccounted for after large chunks of ice and rock from the Marmolada glacier sped down the mountain in an avalanche. Higher temperatures coupled with below-average winter snowfall were among the factors that may have triggered the event, experts said.