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. A separate study, published in Geophysical Research Letters, found that snow cover in the Rocky Mountains has declined by about 20 percent in the last three decades as a result of warmer springs.
May 17, 2013
From Yale Environment 360: