How Climate Change Is Impacting Glaciers, And Our Planet


Glaciers on the roof of the world, Mount Everest,  are shrinking ‘due to manmade climate change’, according to a study.

It seems that even the highest points on the planet are not exempt from man man issues – with Mount Everest’s glaciers now disappearing 80 times more quickly than they formed according to a quote in Metro.

What this means in practical terms is that each year sees the loss of multiple decades of glacial growth, as protective snow layers vanish.


What The Study Said…

According to Professor Paul Mayewski, who led the study:


‘Everest’s highest glacier has served as a sentinel for this delicate balance and has demonstrated that even the roof of the Earth is impacted by anthropogenic source warming,’ 



The research is from a study by the 2019 National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Everest Expedition. This study has shed fresh light on how rising temperatures impact life on Earth.

This conclusion was reached by analysing an ice core which was gathered from a height of over 26,000 feet. What that ice core discovered is that even areas previously considered to be reasonably protected from manmade climate change are now seeing significant impact, especially since the late 1990s.

Even for us humans, the alleged makers of this crisis, the impact can be severe, with an increasing risk of avalanches, which could threaten the lives of the approximately 800 climbers on the mountain each year.

And, the impact is not limited solely to the area of the mountain. More than a billion people in the Asian continent rely on rivers created by the glaciers for their daily drinking and living needs.


Implications For Areas Further Beyond Mount Everest


These results, gathered from Mount Everest, have significant implications for other similar systems around the planet. If the tallest peak is being so badly affected, it is likely to indicate a trend that means that other glacial systems could also be experiencing a strong decline in glacial mass, together with the negative results that could bring.

Climate change affects snow cover, and when that level of cover drops it can affect areas far beyond the glacier. Professor Mayewski said:


There is ‘potential for loss throughout high mountain glacier systems as snow cover is depleted by changes in sublimation — passing from a solid to vapour state — and surface melt driven by climate trends,’ 


Therefore, the balance to the environment that snow covered surfaces provide is critical. This research also took in evidence relating to the cause and timing of loss of mass on South Col Glacier, which sits between Everest and Lhotse. The reason? To provide additional contextual evidence to support the findings of the study.

This additional research gathered information from sources such as a 33-foot long ice core, weather station observations, satellite imagery and other records.

The conclusion that the study reached is that glacial mass is now decreasing at over six and a half feet per year, as snow turns to ice. This causes it’s ability to reflect solar rays to diminish, which in turn causes increased melting rates and sublimation.

As this degenerative process has continued on South Col Glacier, the replacement of snow with ice has caused around 180 feet of glacial thinning in the last 25 years or so, a rate that is 80 times quicker that the rate at which the ice formed.


Mount Everest | Glacier | Climate Change





Seeing the effect of climate change on the higher points of the planet, as well as the lowest points, atolls just above water, shows that the entire planet is affected by the processes that man has caused.

The question is: How to deal with those conclusions? It is clear that whilst there is a desire internationally to address issues that threaten the future of the planet, actually implementing those changes, and implementing them quickly enough to reverse these processes, is a near impossible task for nations that continue to work independently of each other, and often at odds with each other.



Author: Londonlad

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