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Himalayan glaciers are expanding instead of shrinking

Oct 15, 2014 15:45 IST

Scientists’ in their study of the Karakoram region of the Himalayas revealed that the glaciers of the region were stable and is expanding at the time when the glaciers across the world are melting. The team said that in the region snowfall is increasing instead of decreasing. ‘

In their study, the scientists discovered an explanation for this stability and said that precipitation is increasing across the Himalayas; most of this moisture drops in the summer – except in Karakoram, the region where the snow dominates the scene. The study was reported in Discovery news on 13 October 2014.


Karakoram is a home to K2 the second-highest peak on earth and is a chain of snowy peaks along the border of India, Pakistan and China.

Study Process
Study researcher Sarah Kapnick, a postdoctoral researcher in atmospheric and ocean sciences at Princeton University explained the process that was studied to find the reason behind this stability.

During the study, Kapnick and her colleagues’ collected data on recent precipitation and temperatures from Pakistan Meteorological Department and other sources, including satellite data. To track changes in three regions of the Himalayas between 1861 and 2100: the Karakoram, the central Himalayas, and the southeast Himalayas which included part of the Tibetan Plateau, they combined the collected information with climate models. While studying they found that a new model that simulates climate down to an area of 965 square miles (2500 square kilometers) and matched the observed temperature and precipitation cycles seen in the Karakoram.

They claimed that the model that is used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to simulate what will happen if the world continues to emit greenhouse gases at current rates was unable to capture these seasonal cycles.

The reason for unnoticing the seasonal cycles was that the IPCC and other climate models are lower-resolution and they captured climate change over areas no finer than about 17027 square miles (44100 square km).

The study was published in April 2012 issue of the journal Nature Geoscience and was reported in Discovery news on 13 October 2014.

 

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