Khumbu glaciers warmer than expected: Study
By Ajita Rijal
Kathmandu, June 12: Researchers have found that temperature in the glacier of the Everest region is much higher than was expected.
An ice drill research conducted in the Khumbu Glaciers revealed that near the glacier terminus, the ice is warm, close to the melting point.
This report indicates that Himalayan glaciers are vulnerable to even minor atmospheric warming and will be especially sensitive to future global warming.
“The temperature ranges we measured from drill sites across Khumbu glaciers was warmer than we expected and hoped to find,” said Dr. Duncan Quincey of the School of Geography at Leeds University, who led the research team. “Warm ice is particularly vulnerable to climate change because even small increases in temperature can trigger melting,” Dr. Quincey said.
Internal temperature has impact on the volume of meltwater runoff which makes up a crucial part of the water supply for millions of people in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region.
Katie Miles of Aberystwyth University, the lead author of the glacial study, said that the Khumbu Glacier’s vulnerability may have serious consequences on the lifespan and amount of meltwater runoff in the coming decades.
However, she said it would be important to determine if other glaciers in the region also have similar internal characteristics.
The research team worked at the heights of up to 5,200 metres on the Khumbu Glacier using a car wash machine that produced a jet of hot water to drill boreholes as far as 190 metres into the glacial ice.
Participants at the dissemination meeting of the research result held in the capital on Monday stressed the need for generating awareness on resilience solutions to preserve the glaciers.
They sought urgent actions to fight climate change and other threats to the lives of the vulnerable people of the Everest region.
The Everdrill study was carried out by the Leeds University in collaboration with other Universities and the Himalayan Research Centre from 2016- 2019.
It was the first successful drill into Khumbu Glaciers in Nepal recording the temperatures deep below the surface layer.
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