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Global warming: Bhutan’s glaciers at risk

Graduate student Josh Maurer and professor Summer Rupper on a glacier  near Rinchen Zoe La, Bhutan. Photo courtesy Brigham Young University.

Snowfall rates would need to double to slow glacial retreat

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After significant warming during half century, about 10 percent of Bhutan’s glaciers are likely to disappear within the next few decades — even if regional and global temperatures were to stabilize at current levels.

“These particular glaciers have seen so much warming in the past few decades that they’re currently playing lots of catch up,” Brigham Young University geology professor Summer Rupper said after studying climate and glaciers in the Himalaya.

Rupper’s most conservative findings the amount of melt water coming off these glaciers could drop by 30 percent. Increasing temperatures are just one culprit behind glacier retreat. A number of climate factors such as wind, humidity, precipitation and evaporation can affect how glaciers behave. With some Bhutanese glaciers as long as 13 miles, an imbalance in any of these areas can take them decades to completely respond. Continue reading

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New report documents melting Asian glaciers

Glaciers in the Himalaya appear to be in a downward spiral, melting under the onslaught of global warming.

Water supplies threatened, flooding risks also growing

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — U.S. Geological Survey scientists recently teamed up with colleagues from around the world to thoroughly survey the glaciers of Asia, and the news is not good for millions of people who rely on runoff from those high mountain zones.

Many of Asia’s glaciers are retreating as a result of climate change, the study concluded. The rapid melting of the glaciers will impact water supplies across huge areas, increase the rate of sea level rise and heighten the likelihood of sudden floods.
In Bhutan, 66 glaciers have receded by 8.1 percent over the last 30 years.  Continue reading

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