With glaciers melting and water lines receding, bodies that were missing for years are finally being discovered.
For any television executive who is looking for a new procedural crime show, here’s a free idea (well, maybe not free; let’s talk royalties at least) based on true events: a team of detectives that investigates long-forgotten disappearances, because the bodies of victims keep getting revealed by climate change.
Detectives or not, bodies really are showing up regularly because of melting snow and receding shorelines. The most recent case comes from Switzerland, where thawing glaciers in the Swiss Alps have revealed human remains believed to be hidden since the 1960s. According to The Guardian, two French explorers spotted bones while climbing the Chessjen glacier. They reported the findings to the police, who gathered the skeletons and sent them in for testing.
The preliminary theory is that the bodies are the victims of a plane crash that happened in June 1968. The wreckage from that incident was first discovered in August of that year, but no bodies were found at the time. The victims were believed to be a teacher, a chief medical officer, and his son, per The Guardian.
Things like this are starting to happen with alarming regularity, thanks to climate change. In the case of the discovery in the Alps, it comes at a time when that region is experiencing record high temperatures. But it is far from the only place that is turning up bodies that were thought to be lost long ago. Earlier this year, a decomposed body was discovered in a barrel that was found in Lake Mead. The victim had suffered a gunshot wound and was believed to have been tossed in the massive reservoir back in the 1970s or 1980s. Days later, more human remains were spotted — this time on the shore of Callville Bay. And this week, even more bones came to the surface.
All of these discoveries are occurring as Lake Mead is experiencing its lowest water levels in nearly a century. While the water loss has stopped for the time being, the lake has been at just 27% of its total capacity this summer, according to data from NASA. Heat waves plus a seemingly endless drought that is the worst the West has experienced in 1,200 years keeps draining the reserve of its precious resource — and is revealing some of the secrets that the lake hides.
These types of discoveries have been happening for a while now. In 2017, glacial melting resulted in the discovery of two bodies that went missing in the 1940s. There is a somewhat troubling irony to the fact that all these cold cases are getting solved because of how much the planet has warmed.