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Mount Everest getting warmer and glaciers shrinking, research suggests

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Global warming has led to melting of glaciers around Mt Everest, which might lead to a increase in severe disasters.
Mt. Everest Mt. Everest File Photo
Mount Everest is getting warmer over the past 50 years with the glaciers around the world’s highest peak shrinking ‘remarkably’, according to a Chinese research.

The glaciers in 8,844-metre-high Mt Everest, known as Mt Qomolangma in Tibet, have been shrinking ‘remarkably’ which leads to swelling glacial lakes and rivers downstream, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hunan University of Science and Technology and Mount Qomolangma Snow Leopard Conservation Centre said in a report said.

At the same time, the ecological environment in the area is getting better with increased forest coverage around the Everest.

Last month a report released by Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research said Tibet regarded as the roof of the world faced grim scenario as its glaciers were retreating and natural disasters were on the rise due to rising temperatures and increasing human activity.

The glacier on the Tibetan plateau has been backing off since the 20th century due to rising temperature and at a faster speed since 1990s, a scientific evaluation report published by the Institute said.

Glacier loss in the Tibetan plateau is most prominent in the Himalayan Mountains and the southeastern Tibet, whereas glacier stays relevantly stable, even progressing, in the Karakoram and Western Kunlun region due to increasing precipitation, the report said.

Natural disasters are on the rise on the Tibetan plateau region due to global warming and increased human activity. Disasters including snow disasters, landslides and torrential floods are expected to increase and fires will be more difficult to prevent and extinguish, it said.

On the positive side, the number and area of lakes on the Tibetan plateau increased notably. The number of lakes exceeding one square kilometre climbed from 1,081 in the 1970s to 1,236 in 2010, and 80% of lakes in the region have been expanding.

The report also noted that the area and growing stock of forest on the plateau have increased significantly since 1998, from 7.29 million hectares in 1997 to 14.72 million hectares in 2013 and 2.09 billion cubic meters in 1997 to 2.26 billion cubic meters in 2013, respectively.

The increase is mainly attributed to efforts of forestry conservation and restoration, the report said.

With an average altitude of over 4,500 meters, the Tibetan plateau, known as the core of “The Third Pole,” is located within southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region.

Related read: All you need to know about Paris Climate Change Summit.

PTI