Nepal: Global Warming Means Bad News for Mount Everest Glaciers

In another bleak report on the state of the world’s glaciers, a recent study published in The Cryosphere estimates that the Mount Everest glaciers could diminish by as much as 99% by the year 2100.

New Simulation Report Doesn’t Bode Well

A new report put out yesterday in The Cryosphere journal reported on the results of a computer simulation created to determine how Mount Everest glaciers might respond to climate changes in the area. The computer model showed that glacier loss in the Dudh Koshi basin would range from 70% – 90% by 2100 as the area warms up due to global warming.

Nepal: Global Warming Means Bad News for Mount Everest Glaciers - Clapway

Data Available for the Area Because of Everest

Dudh Koshi basin is the area of the Himalayas that covers more than 1 million acres and holds many of the Earth’s tallest mountains, including the tallest, Mount Everest. Information on glaciers is hard to come by because of the extreme conditions most of them are found in and the difficulty of travelling to them. However, because of the accessibility of Mount Everest glaciers, a lot of information is available and this made the computer model feasible.
The study was conducted by a team of worldwide scientists. The group included lead author Joseph Shea of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development in Kathmandu, Nepal, University of France Joseph Fourier, and researchers from Utrecht University in the Netherlands. The group modeled Dudh Koshi glacier field changes that occurred from 1961 to 2007 and used available data to test it against.

Nepal: Global Warming Means Bad News for Mount Everest Glaciers - Clapway

Best Case Scenario

The scientists used a program called Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 that is a project provided to scientists who model climate change so that all involved work with coordinated information. The project offers information for four scenarios related to greenhouse gas through the year 2100.

As was expected, the Mount Everest glaciers fared well in wet and cool conditions. However, even under those conditions, the area still experienced a loss of 70% of the glacier mass. Study information showed that the area will experience less precipitation, but what does fall will come in larger amounts.

The information offers insight into the effects the Mount Everest glaciers melting will have on the area of the Dudh Koshi basin because the glaciers are such a large part of the ecosystem there. While glacier-melting will at first, provide ample fresh water, it will eventually dry up as the glaciers recede and the water travels into the atmosphere.