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Mount Everest's Ice Is Melting

Glaciers in the Everest region have shrunk by 13 percent in the last 50 years
Related: Climate Change, Earth


Mount Everest is the second peak from the left. (Pavel Novak)

Earth's global thaw has reached Mount Everest, the world's tallest peak, researchers said today (May 14) at the Meeting of the Americas in Cancun, Mexico.

Glaciers in the Mount Everest region have shrunk by 13 percent in the last 50 years and the snowline has shifted upward by 590 feet, Sudeep Thakuri, a graduate student at the University of Milan in Italy, said in a statement. Located in the Himalaya Mountains on the border between China and Nepal, Everest's summit is 29,029 feet above sea level.

Thakuri and his colleagues tracked changes to glaciers, temperatures and precipitation at Everest and the surrounding Sagarmatha National Park. There, glaciers have retreated an average of 1,300 feet since 1962, the team found. More recently, precipitation (both snow and rain) has dropped by 3.9 inches and temperatures have risen 1 degree Fahrenheit since 1992.

The researchers suspect that the glacial melting in the Everest region is due to global warming, but they have not yet established a firm connection between the mountains' changes and climate change, Thakuri said in the statement.

While Everest isn't the only Himalayan region seeing the effects of climate change, not all of the region's glaciers are melting. The Karakoram Mountains, on the China-India-Pakistan border, are holding steady and may even be growing. But shrinking glaciers in the rest of the Himalayas have drawn significant global attention, because the glaciers provide water and power for roughly 1.5 billion people.

Email Becky Oskin or follow her @beckyoskin. Follow LiveScience @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on LiveScience.com.

Copyright 2013 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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socraticknight

great! the melting glaciers might uncover another machu pichu, or some other advanced culture.

May 16 2013 at 12:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to socraticknight's comment
jejozi

You don't know much about glaciers, do you. But that would be elitist of you if you did, this being junk science, and all.

May 16 2013 at 6:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mr.D

" because the glaciers provide water and power for roughly 1.5 billion people."
So, what happens when 1.5 billion people don't have enough energy or water ?

May 15 2013 at 11:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mr.D's comment
jejozi

War...ugh...good gawd, y'all.

May 16 2013 at 6:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
a2948

Should make for easier climbing.

May 15 2013 at 9:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tom

"The researchers suspect that the glacial melting in the Everest region is due to global warming, but they have not yet established a firm connection between the mountains' changes and climate change, Thakuri said in the statement."

May 15 2013 at 9:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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