The glaciers on Everest are thinning at an alarming rate

The Everest region has indeed lost significant ice since the late 1990s, it was revealed in an article published in the journal Nature Portfolio ‘Climate and Atmospheric Research’.

This has important implications given the fact that previous studies have focused on lower-altitude glaciers and those from higher altitudes were made with the help of satellite images. The Himalayas are called the third pole because it is the repository of the highest volume of ice outside the poles.

The Everest Expedition, the most comprehensive scientific expedition to Everest, has conducted prior research into glaciers and alpine environments. The multidisciplinary research team includes scientists from 8 countries, including 17 Nepalese researchers. Three of the study’s co-authors are from the International Center for Integrated Mountainous Development (ICIMOD).

Headquartered in Kathmandu, Nepal, ICIMOD is a regional intergovernmental learning and knowledge sharing center for Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan.

The discovery is based on data from a 10-meter ice core obtained from the South Col Glacier at 8,020 meters above sea level (masl), as well as meteorological observations from the two highest automated weather stations in the world. the world lies on the southern slopes of Mount Everest at 7,945 masl and 8,430 masl.

South Col Glacier is located on the main climbing route of Mount Everest in its southern ridges. With an average elevation of 7,985 masl, this relatively small glacier is undoubtedly the tallest in the world. The glacier’s surface is mostly bare ice, apart from seasonal snow and a perennial ice sheet along either side of Mount Everest, including the upper part of this south-facing glacier.

“Using microradiocarbon dating, the researchers estimate that the age of the ice in the glacier is about 2000 years old. Over the past two thousand years, the amount of ice that has accumulated is equivalent to 27 millimeters. water per year and the total net thinness equivalent. of 55 m of water measured since the mid-1800s but is accelerating in recent decades,” the study said.

This is especially important for glaciers like these that get very little snowfall. “The measured ice loss rate was 80 times faster than the 2000 years it took to form this thick layer of ice,” it said.

At an estimated rate of thinning of nearly 2 meters per year, even glaciers like the South Col Glacier, located at the highest point in the world, will likely disappear by the middle of this century. What’s more, the study also shows how important snow cover is and how quickly things can change for alpine glaciers as it disappears.

“This warming will have a cumulative effect on the experience of climbing Everest. Some areas of the route’s surface will gradually change from ice to exposed bedrock and the avalanche will become dynamic. because the ice is more brittle Long-term effects It says the availability and stability of these water towers will impact downstream communities of great concern.

“The altitude sensitivity and increased mass loss of glaciers, especially at the world’s highest elevations, where temperatures never rise above zero degrees Celsius, are a wake-up call for all.” It also shows the importance of direct measurements on glaciers to increase Tenzing Chogyal Sherpa, Director of Geographic Information and Remote Sensing, ICIMOD, said of processes when forecasting landforms How will this respond to climate change?

Himalayan glaciers contribute significantly to the water supply for millions of people. Most previous studies have focused on lower-altitude, more accessible glaciers. These indicate a strong contractionary trend, which has accelerated in recent years. Previous work on high-altitude glaciers has relied on satellite measurements. However, with the information that we now have from weather stations and ice cores, it is clear that even the tallest glaciers are melting rapidly and at an accelerating rate. These changes will have great consequences for people’s livelihoods and lives.

Source: IANS

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