US: A new study by scientists at the Universities of California and Potsdam has found that half of the glaciers in the Karakoram range, in the northwestern Himlaya, are advancing and that global warming is not the deciding factor in whether a glacier survives or melts.
It further challenges claims made in a 2007 report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that the glaciers would be gone by 2035.
Dr Bodo Bookhagen, Dirk Scherler and Manfred Strecker studied 286 glaciers between the Hindu Kush on the Afghan-Pakistan border to Bhutan, taking in six areas. They used remoter sensing images to track frontal changes and surface velocities of glaciers in the greater Himalaya between 2000 and 2008.
Their report, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, found the key factor affecting their advance or retreat is the amount of debris – rocks and mud – strewn on their surface, not the general nature of climate change.
“Our study shows that there is no uniform response of Himalayan glaciers to climate change and highlights the importance of debris cover for understanding glacier retreat, an effect that has so far been neglected in predictions of future water availability or global sea level,” the authors concluded.
Source: Hindustan Times