Glaciers on Everest Disappearing as Temperatures Rise, Snowfall Declines

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The glaciers on Mount Everest and the surrounding region have shrunk by 13 percent in the last five decades as temperatures have risen and snowfall has declined in that section of the Himalaya, according to a new study.

Using satellite imagery and topographic maps, a team of scientists found that the majority of glaciers on Everest, the world’s tallest mountain, and in the surrounding Sagarmatha National Park are retreating at an accelerating rate.

In the last 50 years, the snowline in the Everest region has shifted up by an average of 590 feet (180 meters), said Sudeep Thakuri, a Ph. D. student at the University of Milan and leader of the research team, which presented its findings at a conference in Cancún, Mexico.

Because glaciers are melting faster than they are being replenished, researchers say, rock and debris that were previously hidden under snow are now exposed and absorbing heat.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.

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