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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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