Rising temperatures severely damaging Mt. Everest
Wednesday, April 27, 2016, 11:35 AM - Blanketed with snow and flanked by glaciers, Mount Everest has been admired for its beauty and towering height for centuries.
But research shows that rising temperatures are impacting Everest's glaciers so rapidly that the mountain will soon become very different from its well-known snow-covered visage.
As Everest's Khumbu glacier shrinks, parts of it might become impossible to pass for climbers, Outside Online reports. There will also be an increase in the number of rock and ice avalanches, similar to the devastating avalanche in 2014.
Melting glaciers won't only impact climbers. As the rate of melt increases during the warmer months, larger bodies of meltwater are beginning to pool on the surface of the Khumbu and Rongbuk glaciers, along Everest's south and north sides, respectively.
The ponds are now merging into smaller lakes. As Outside Online notes, upcoming research finds that the ponds on the lower part of the Khumbu Glacier grew by 84 percent from 2009 to 2015.
The study, co-authored by Duncan Quincey, professor of geomorphology at the University of Leeds, and Ph.D. candidates Owen King, that some of these meltwater lakes are deep and wide enough to warrant the use of boats.
"Across the Eastern area of the Himalaya there are more and more [lakes] developing,” Quincey tells Outside Online. “It’s a positive feedback cycle: a small pond absorbs more radiation than it would if it was rock, and that heats the water, which melts more ice, and the pond gets bigger.”
If a side on one of the glacier's lakes collapses, water and debris will pummel the villages of the Khumbu Valley. Though Quincey and Watson don't foresee this event taking place in the near future, they stress the need for acknowledgement, as this type of environmental catastrophe has happened in the past.
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