Scientists warn that we may not be able to recognize Mount Everest by the end of the century. As global warming continues to rises the core temperature of our planet, the Everest region of Nepal could lose somewhere between 70 percent (70%) and 99 percent (99%) of its glaciers by 2100.
Joseph Shea, lead author of the new report and glacier hydrologist at the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development in Nepal, gave a horrified statement saying that “We did not expect to see glaciers reduced at such a large scale. The numbers are quite frightening”.
Dr. Shea informs that we’ve gotten to a point where there is no good outcome. He explains that even if there were to be a moderate reduction in greenhouse gases, 70 percent (70%) of Everest’s glaciers would still melt. If there is no reduction in greenhouse gases, the results will be even worse – 99 percent (99%) of Everest’s glaciers would be lost.
For their study, Dr. Shea and his colleagues set out to calculate the level of glacier melt, accumulation and redistribution. In order to do this they generated computer models that included temperature and precipitation data, measurements from the field, as well as remote-sensing observations. They were all collected over the course of 50 years, from some of the world’s highest peaks, including Mount Everest.
The researchers found that 20 percent (20%) of the stored ice has disappeared since 1961, and that all signs point to the rest of it disappearing on the next 85 years. Dr. Shea said that the future of glaciers in the region is clear – they will most likely continue to melt at an accelerated pace.
He theorizes that the glaciers in the region might be highly sensitive to the changes in temperature that the planet is currently enduring. Not even an increase in precipitation would be enough to offset the melt.
The danger posed does not only affect the environment, but is also harmful to people living in the region. BinduLohani, ADB Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development, informs that millions of people in Asia depend on the glaciers in the Everest region for water supply, and on top of being left without a water source for themselves and their crops, they would also face destructive floods, landslides, lake overflows, and even droughts.
To make matters worse, the Everest region isn’t the only one affected. In recent years, researchers hare discovered that glaciers in the tropical Andes of South America and in the Canadian highlands have similar melting patterns.
In fact, some members of the scientific community have look at the phenomenon on a global level and agree that roughly 160,000 glaciers in Europe, Asia, and the Americas are loosing 260 billion tones of ice each year.
Presently, ice forms at 3.200 meters in the Everest region in the winter month of January, and at 5.500 meters in the summer month of August, but iy=t will probably get worse soon. Walter Immerzeel, assistant professor of physical geography at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, believes that the number will increase by 800 to 1.200 meters by 2100.
What this means is that snow accumulation over the glaciers will be reduced, and as a direct result 90 percent (90%) of the current glacier area will be exposed to higher temperatures and also melt during the warm months of the year.
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