We've been hearing plenty of damning facts in recent years about how everything from our industry to transportation has caused enough to pollution to literally change the planet's climate via Global Warming. This includes such startling news as the Arctic growing green, more extreme rainfall and even starvation of our very own species. And now we're seeing that even Mt. Everest -- the world's tallest peak -- is possibly being adversely affected by climate change.
Researchers who congregated in Cancun, Mexico for the Meeting of the Americas on Tuesday, May 14 have turned up the devastating -- not to mention outright frightening -- news that glaciers in the region of Mt. Everest have seen a 13 percent decline over the last five decades.
The snowline in the Mt. Everest region (located in the Himalayas between China and Nepal) has also drifted upward by nearly 600 feet (180 meters), according to a statement by University of Milan in Italy graduate student Sudeep Thakuri, as relayed by LiveScience.
Along with his colleagues, Thakuri has been tracking glaciers in the Mt. Everest region for some time, as well as those residing in nearby Sagarmatha National Park where there's been a retreating of glaciers by 1,300 feet (400 m) since 1962.
"More recently, precipitation (both snow and rain) has dropped by 3.9 inches (100 millimeters) and temperatures have risen 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.6 degrees Celsius) since 1992," LiveScience says.
Though Global Warming is of course suspect for causing the changes to the Mt. Everest region, Thakuri and his colleagues make it clear in their statement that there has yet to be any actual connection made. This has much to do with the fact that, fortunately, not all of the mountains in the Mt. Everest region are seeing the same degree of change.
It turns out that some of the mountains in the Mt. Everest region -- such as the Karakoram Mountains, which reside on the China-India-Pakistan border -- are not only maintaining their glaciers, but also seeing growth.
Especially because glaciers throughout the rest of the Himalayas are seeing such a decline at all, though, the concern is not only about the environmental impact but also the fact that these glaciers provide both water and power to 1.5 billion people, according to LiveScience. It is for this reason that the decline has become a global issue, whether Global Warming is to blame or not.
Like what you're reading? Follow @ProfKlickberg.