Himalayan glacier melting rapidly

The summit of Cho Oyu, as seen from Gokyo.

A Himalayan glacier, on Ngozumpa, is affected by global warming. A trivial case as it sounds but but in this area it is worrying because the melting of Ngozumpa’s ice expands a huge lake which it sides are unstable. There is no risk of breakage … for now.

The Himalayan glacier Ngozumpa descend of Cho Oyu, the sixth highest mountain in the world (8201 m). So in the Himalayas, global warming is responsible for the melting of ice. Lakes are formed on the surface of Ngozumpa and streams flowing inside. Any released water results in a large lake at the base of the glacier. This lake is held back by a moraine, that is to say by a stack of fragments of granitic rocks. It could eventually be 6 km long, 1 km wide and 100 m deep. Water retention could then cause the rupture of the moraine and flow into the valley, causing catastrophic damage.

Scientists are carefully studying this glacier to understand all the processes involved and to take precautionary measures. Some results are surprising and show how the volume of water involved are enormous. An example is provided by Ulyana Horodyskyj, University of Colorado at Boulder, in a BBC article. This time a lake located on the glacier has lost 100,000 m3 of water in two days and it took the lake five days to recover half. Therefore it is possible to get an idea of ​​the amount of water that feed the main lake every day of the summer.

Despite these impressive figures, the main lake is expected to about twenty years to fill completely, but given the difficulties of access in the region must start now.

Abdullah Al Abbadi

Source: Z News India,


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