Lubrication by meltwater may have enabled massive slide
Although the world’s ice and snow is melting rapidly on a geologic time scale, it still seems to be a gradual process, at least for casual observers. But last summer, July 16, to be exact, 70 million tons of ice broke off the Aru Glacier in western Tibet and crashed far down into the valley, killing nine nomadic yak herders. NASA scientists reported on the avalanche here.
A team of scientists who analyzed the giant avalanche now say there’s a good chance that global warming was a key factor in the unusual slide. The researchers, who published their findings this week in the Journal of Glaciology, said that that the avalanche lasted about four or five minutes, burying 3.7 square miles of the valley floor in that time. Something — likely meltwater at the base of the glacier — must have lubricated the ice to speed its flow down the mountain, they said. Continue reading “Study eyes link between giant Tibet avalanche and global warming”→
‘The signal of future glacier change in the region is clear: continued mass loss from glaciers is likely’
FRISCO —In the worst-case global warming scenario, glaciers in the Mt. Everest region — the roof of the world — could shrink between 70 percent and 99 percent by 2100, scientists said this week, waring of dire downstream consequences for millions of people who rely on water from those ice fields.
New study documents pace of ice loss in world’s tallest mountain
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Melting Himalyan glaciers may not be causing a direct rise in sea level, but in some cases, the water is causing lakes overflow, flooding valuable agricultural land.
Glaciers are important indicators of climate change. Global warming causes mountain glaciers to melt, which, apart from the shrinking of the Greenlandic and Antarctic ice sheets, is regarded as one of the main causes of the present global sea-level rise.
Tibet’s glaciers have been losing mass at the rate of about 16 gigatons per year for the past decade. That loss is spread across about 80 percent of Tibet’s glaciers, according to Tobias Bolch, a glaciologist from the University of Zurich. That’s more than four times the volume of water in Lake Zurich and around six percent of the total loss in mass of all the glaciers on Earth. Continue reading “Climate: Melting Himalayan glaciers threaten farms”→
Temperatures up, precipitation down in key Asian watersheds
FRISCO — Even at the frozen roof of the world in the mighty Himalaya, global warming is evident.
The snow line in the Mt. Everest region has moved uphill by 180 meters (590 feet). Glaciers in the region are shrinking, some by as much as 13 percent in the past 50 years, and precipitation has declined, according to a team of scientists who will present their findings this week at the Meeting of the Americas in Cancún, Mexico.
Glaciers smaller than one square kilometer are disappearing the fastest and have experienced a 43 percent decrease in surface area since the 1960s, according to Sudeep Thakuri, who is leading the research as part of his PhD graduate studies at the University of Milan in Italy. Based on the detailed measurements of satellite images, the pace of melting speeding up, Thakuri said. Continue reading “Global warming: Mt. Everest’s glaciers melting away”→
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.
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 “Global warming: Bhutan’s glaciers at risk”→
Khardung La is one of the highest passes in the world
By Garrett Palm
Oxygen deprived, I mistake the older, leather-clad German couple’s “Sprechen sie Deutsch?” as asking if I speak Dutch. I sing a happy birthday song in the wrong language, learned from my mother, which they greet with polite, confused laughter. Continue reading “Roads: Crossing the Himalaya”→