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.
- 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.