IMAGE: Ice tree
Stringer/Austria  /  Reuters
A Christmas tree carved from 30 tons of ice stands in the city center of Klagenfurt, Austria, on Tuesday.
updated 12/6/2006 11:43:47 AM ET 2006-12-06T16:43:47

A Christmas tree carved from 30 tons of ice has been erected in Austria and officials hope it won’t melt away during a record run of mild weather at the start of winter.

Gert Hoedl, an internationally known ice sculptor, fashioned the 18-foot tree out of a huge block of ice imported from Belgium. It went on display in the provincial city of Klagenfurt on Tuesday, officials said.

“It won’t melt. At most it will drip, and some contours may blur, but it will remain standing through Christmas. It is 30 tons of ice, after all,” said Helmut Ellensohn of Klagenfurt Marketing, the city promotional arm.

“We will set up a Web cam, so that everyone can check up on how the tree is faring. If it eventually gets cold, the tree will stand into next March,” he told Reuters.

A climate survey published on Tuesday said Europe’s Alpine region, from France in the west to Austria in the east, was balmier now than at any time in the past 1,300 years.

Temperatures have stayed well above freezing into the onset of winter, with flowers blooming on snow-starved slopes of Alpine ski resorts and bears struggling to hibernate.

Copyright 2012 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.

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