Melting Glaciers & Killer Lakes

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Of the roughly 198,000 glaciers on the planet, more than a quarter are found in the Himalayas of Nepal. But even this frigid expanse of ice and snow—“Nepal”, home to nine of the world’s 10 highest peaks—is reeling from climate change. Many Himalayan glaciers are receding—and a new study of 32 glaciers around Mount Everest has found that those terminating in lakes have lost more ice mass than landlocked glaciers. That’s a worrying trend because many glacial lakes send disastrous floods hurtling down valleys.

Himalayan glaciers are losing ice mass because of decreased snowfall and higher average air temperatures that melt existing ice.

Himalayan glaciers are losing ice mass because of decreased snowfall and higher average air temperatures that melt existing ice. Those landscapes are primed for lake development. The more the melt water lakes swell, the bigger the lakes which may increase the risk of catastrophic nature calamities. Disasters in which a glacial lake bursts spilling millions of cubic meters of water on the local villages have occurred before flooding and destroying houses, bridges and hydroelectric plant. The Nepalese Government last year drained part of one of the fastest-growing glacier lakes-“Imja Tsho”. A recent study found that the glaciers melting into lakes had lost 32% more ice mass per year than land-terminating glaciers. The lake-terminating glaciers had also lost more height and area than the landlocked glaciers.

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