With estimated thinning rates of nearly two metre per year, glaciers on Mount Everest such as South Col Glacier, which is located at the highest point in the world, the ice on Mount Everest has been thinning at an alarming rate, a latest study has found.

What does the study say?

  1. This study addresses a key question from the 2019 National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Everest Expedition on whether glaciers at the highest point on earth are experiencing the impacts of climate change.
  2. The Mount Everest region has indeed been losing ice significantly since the late 1990s, it was revealed in an article published in the Nature Portfolio journal 'Climate and Atmospheric Research'.
  3. The Himalayas are called the third pole as it is the repository of the highest volume of ice outside the two poles.
  4. The Everest Expedition, the single most comprehensive scientific expedition to Everest, conducted trailblazing research on glaciers and the alpine environment.
  5. The multidisciplinary team comprised scientists from eight countries, including 17 Nepali researchers. Three of the co-authors of this study were from the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).
  6. Based in Kathmandu, Nepal, ICIMOD is a regional intergovernmental learning and knowledge sharing centre for Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan.
  7. The findings are based on data from a 10-metre-long ice core obtained from South Col Glacier at an elevation of 8,020 metres above sea level (masl), as well as meteorological observations from the two highest automatic weather stations in the world located on the southern slopes of Mount Everest at 7,945 masl and 8,430 masl.
  8. South Col Glacier lies on the main climbing route of Mount Everest on its southern ridges.  South Col Glacier lies at one of the sunniest spots in the world. Melting here can be up to 20 times faster when snow cover disappears, and the bare glacier ice is exposed.