Glaciers On Mount Everest Shrink By 28% In Last 40 Years Due To Climate Change

08/12/2015 5:20 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
Ed Giles via Getty Images
MOUNT EVEREST, NEPAL, FEBRUARY 13, 2015: THe Khumbu Glacier is seen after fresh snowfall near the base of Mount Everest (C, 8848m) and Nuptse (R, 7861m) in the Solu-Khumbu region of Nepal, February 13, 2015. The Solu-Khumbu region is home to the world's highest mountain, Mount Everest (8848m). According to leading researchers, in recent years the landscape and people of the Solu-Khumbu region have come under increasing pressure from raising temperatures and shifting climactic conditions. As well as being home to many of the world's highest mountains, the region holds some of the world's largest and highest glaciers, some of which have begun to show signs of increased and rapid melt. The Khumbu glacier, which lies at the foot of Mount Everest, has in the last decade begun to develop ponds of water on its surface, which scientists say could develop into a much larger lake on the glacierâs surface if warming trends continue. Recent research indicates that annual mean surface temperature in the Himalaya has increased by 1.5 degrees celsius over pre-industrial temperatures. (Photo by Ed Giles/Getty Images).

BEIJING -- Glaciers on Mount Everest, source of major Asian rivers like Brahmaputra, have shrunk by 28 per cent over the past 40 years due to climate change, according to a report.

The glacial shrinkage area is compared to the measurements taken in the 1970s in the report released by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Hunan University of Science and Technology, and Mount Qomolangma Snow Leopard Conservation Centre.

The glacier area on the south slope of the world's highest mountain, in Nepal, has decreased 26 per cent since the 1980s, the report said.

Part of the report, which was released yesterday, also said Mt Everest, known as Mount Qomolangma in Tibet, has been getting warmer for the past 50 years.

Kang Shichang, a researcher with the State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences under the CAS, said the data was based on long-term remote sensing and on-site monitoring.

At present, there are 1,476 glaciers in China's Mt Qomolangma national nature reserve, covering 2,030 square kilometres, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The shrinking glaciers have resulted in swelling glacial lakes and higher river levels downstream, Kang, who has led several glacier inspection teams said.

Remote sensing data showed that the area of a glacial lake in Mt Everest nature reserve increased from about 100 square kilometres in 1990 to 114 square kilometres in 2013, Kang said.

Mt Everest is the source of a number of major Asian rivers including Brahmaputra and Ganges.

Earlier in May, a group of international researchers had warned that the estimated 5,500 glaciers in the Hindu Kush- Himalayan (HKH) region - site of many of the world's tallest peaks including Mount Everest - could reduce their volume by 70-99 per cent by 2100, with dire consequences for farming and hydropower generation downstream.

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