Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists find extensive glacial retreat in Mount Everest region

14.05.2013
Researchers taking a new look at the snow and ice covering Mount Everest and the national park that surrounds it are finding abundant evidence that the world’s tallest peak is shedding its frozen cloak. The scientists have also been studying temperature and precipitation trends in the area and found that the Everest region has been warming while snowfall has been declining since the early 1990s.
Members of the team conducting these studies will present their findings on May 14 at the Meeting of the Americas in Cancun, Mexico – a scientific conference organized and co-sponsored by the American Geophysical Union.

Glaciers in the Mount Everest region have shrunk by 13 percent in the last 50 years and the snowline has shifted upward by 180 meters (590 feet), according to Sudeep Thakuri, who is leading the research as part of his PhD graduate studies at the University of Milan in Italy.

Glaciers smaller than one square kilometer are disappearing the fastest and have experienced a 43 percent decrease in surface area since the 1960s. Because the glaciers are melting faster than they are replenished by ice and snow, they are revealing rocks and debris that were previously hidden deep under the ice. These debris-covered sections of the glaciers have increased by about 17 percent since the 1960s, according to Thakuri. The ends of the glaciers have also retreated by an average of 400 meters since 1962, his team found.

The researchers suspect that the decline of snow and ice in the Everest region is from human-generated greenhouse gases altering global climate. However, they have not yet established a firm connection between the mountains’ changes and climate change, Thakuri said.

He and his team determined the extent of glacial change on Everest and the surrounding 1,148 square kilometer (713 square mile) Sagarmatha National Park by compiling satellite imagery and topographic maps and reconstructing the glacial history. Their statistical analysis shows that the majority of the glaciers in the national park are retreating at an increasing rate, Thakuri said.

To evaluate the temperature and precipitation patterns in the area, Thakuri and his colleagues have been analyzing hydro-meteorological data from the Nepal Climate Observatory stations and Nepal’s Department of Hydrology and Meteorology. The researchers found that the Everest region has undergone a 0.6 degree Celsius (1.08 degrees Fahrenheit) increase in temperature and 100 millimeter (3.9 inches) decrease in precipitation during the pre-monsoon and winter months since 1992.

In subsequent research, Thakuri plans on exploring the climate-glacier relationship further with the aim of integrating the glaciological, hydrological and climatic data to understand the behavior of the hydrological cycle and future water availability.

“The Himalayan glaciers and ice caps are considered a water tower for Asia since they store and supply water downstream during the dry season,” said Thakuri. “Downstream populations are dependent on the melt water for agriculture, drinking, and power production.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Water Research Institute-Italian National Research Council are funding this research.

Notes for Journalists

The researchers on this study of the Mount Everest region will present a poster about their work on Tuesday morning, 14 May 2013, at the Meeting of the Americas. The meeting is taking place from 14-17 May at the Cancún Center, located at Blvd. Kukulkan Km 9, Zona Hotelera, in Cancún, Mexico. For more information for members of the news media about the meeting, please go to http://moa.agu.org/2013/media-center/ or contact Sarah Charley, scharley@agu.org, +1 (202) 777-7516.

Below is the abstract of the poster, which is being presented from 8:00 AM – 12:20 PM local Cancún time (Central Daylight Time, UTC/GMT – 5 hours), in the Gran Cancún Poster Hall (Cancún Center) as part of session C21B. “Cryosphere in a Warming Climate: Changes, Impacts, and Adaptation / Posters”
(Convener(s): Ninglian Wang (Chinese Academy of Sciences) and Mark Serreze (NSIDC)):

TITLE: Glacier response to climate trend and climate variability in Mt. Everest region (Nepal)

PRESENTATION TYPE: Assigned by Committee

CURRENT SECTION: Cryosphere (C)

CURRENT SESSION: C02. Cryosphere in a warming climate: Changes, Impacts and Adaptation

AUTHORS (FIRST NAME, LAST NAME): Sudeep Thakuri1, 2, Franco Salerno2, 3, Nicolas Guyennon2, Gaetano Viviano2, 3, Claudio Smiraglia1, 3, Carlo D’Agata1, Gianni Tartari2, 3

INSTITUTIONS (ALL): 1. Graduate School of Earth, Environment and Biodiversity, University of Milan, Milan, MB, Italy.

2. Water Research Institute, National Research Council , Brugherio, MB, Italy.

3. Ev-K2-CNR Committee, Bergamo, BG, Italy.

ABSTRACT BODY: This study is conducted with the aim of coupling the climatic dynamics with glaciers variations. The glaciers in the Mt. Everest region in Nepal Himalaya are characterized by the debris-mantle in most of their ablation zone and are controlled by the south-Asian summer monsoon and precipitation due to mid-latitude westerly. We analyzed variations in glacier surface and snowline altitude for the glaciers/ice mass in the Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) National Park (area: 1148 km2), using cartography and remote imaging since 1950s to 2011 and uncertainties associated, providing a longest time series of glacier variations in this region. The glacier surface area had loss of 14.3±5.9 % (0.27 % yr-1) from 396.2 km2 to 339.5 km2 in 1958 to 2011 with the loss by 0.12 % yr-1 in 1958-75 and 0.70 % yr-1 in recent years. The smaller glaciers with

Contact information for the researchers:
Sudeep Thakuri: Email, thakuri@irsa.cnr.it

Sarah Charley | American Geophysical Union
Further information:
http://www.agu.org

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht In times of climate change: What a lake’s colour can tell about its condition
21.09.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

nachricht Did marine sponges trigger the ‘Cambrian explosion’ through ‘ecosystem engineering’?
21.09.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam - Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>