Everest's highest glacier could disappear this century

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Everest's highest glacier could disappear this century

  • Researchers in Nepal warned that the highest glacier on the top of Mount Everest could disappear by the middle of this century as the 2,000-year-old ice cap on the world’s tallest mountain is thinning at an alarming rate.


  • The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) here said that Everest has been losing ice significantly since the late 1990s, citing the latest research report issued here.
  • It has been estimated that the ice in the South Col glacier located at an elevation of 8,020 metres is thinning at a rate of nearly two-metre per year, the report said.
  • The findings were based on data from a 10-metre-long ice core obtained from South col Glacier.

Findings of the report

  • The researchers, on the basis of radiocarbon dating, estimated the age of ice in the glacier to be 2,000-year-old.
  • They warned that the highest glacier could disappear by the middle of this century.
  • The rate of ice loss measured is more than 80 times faster than the 2,000 years it took to form this thickness of the ice.

Impact of Melting Glaciers

  • Increased flooding: Melting Glaciers will increase riverflows through years 2050 to 2060, pushing up the risk of high altitude lakes busting their banks and engulfing communities.
  • Extreme weather events: It has ramifications for the global climate. This region is a heat source in summer and a heat sink in winter
  • Change in energy production: From the 2060s, river flows will go into decline. Lower flows will cut the power from Hydro dams that generate much of the Region’s electricity.
  • Water shortage: There will be a most serious impact of water shortage on farmers in the foothills and downstream.
  • Lower agricultural yields: Farmers rely on predictable water supplies to grow crops that feed nations in the mountainous chateaus.
  • Rise in sea level: Glacial Melting will also likely cause global sea levels to rise, threatening already endangered species like the Snow Leopard and Tiger and dramatically changing the roof of the world.

Way Forward

  • The Himalayan glaciers are crucial not only to the surrounding regions but also to the billions of people whose lives are affected by them.
  • Recent global warming and climate change have seen these glaciers melting at an unprecedented rate, and the effects are devastating.
  • Although individuals can take steps to reduce emissions, governments and corporations need to make far-reaching changes to policies and practices.
  • As we stand on the edge of a climate crisis, there is much work to be done to improve the situation.