February 05, Kathmandu: A study has shown that the melting of glaciers at the height of Mount Everest is happening at an alarming rate. A team of scientists and mountaineers, from Maine University, visited the glacier on Mount Everest in 2019 and collected samples from a 10-meter-long (about 32-foot) ice core. The study is published in the journal Climate and Atmospheric Science.

According to the study, the ice that takes decades to accumulate is melting every year, Which endangers mountaineers and those who depend on glaciers for drinking water and irrigation.

Nepal’s ‘South Cole’ glacier has lost 180 feet in thickness in the last 25 years. This means these glaciers are melting 80 times faster.It has taken two thousand years for these glaciers to become upper layers. The study team said that glaciers are melting due to warm air temperature, lack of humidity, and strong winds.

Research has shown that in 25 years, about 55 meters to 180 meters of ice melt. Glacier ice melting began in the 1950s but accelerated in the late 1990s. This transformation into ice means that glaciers can no longer reflect radiation from the sun, making their melting faster.

Due to the extreme risk of solar radiation, the melting or evaporation factor in this area can accelerate up to 20 times after the ice cover turns to ice. Other reasons for melting glaciers are low humidity and strong winds.

According to mountaineer Jangwo Sherpa, not only the amount of snow but also the quality of snow has decreased. The white snow that used to be like cotton now looks black due to pollution. While white snow reflects the heat of the sun, such black snow absorbs heat which causes the melting of snow to increase. Declining glaciers are sure to affect the entire ecosystem.

As a result, glaciers will have a huge impact on water-dependent people, and the current rate of melting will make climbing Mt. Everest even more challenging, as snow and ice cover will become thinner in the coming decades. Studies have shown.

The effects of climate change have not only reached the summit of the world’s highest mountain but have also changed the landscape of Mount Everest dramatically over the past two decades, according to researchers based on images from IceCore and weather stations and satellite data from South Cole.

Image: Mariusz Potoki

Significantly, the ice in the South Cole Glacier has lost its texture. Researchers have also warned that melting glaciers could cause rocks to appear in the coming decades. As a result, it is projected to be even more difficult and dangerous to climb Mt. Everest.

“Climate change is causing mountain temperatures to rise and the glaciers to continue to recede, as well as the summit of Mount Everest,” said Marius Potoki, a glaciochemist involved in the research.

‘In fact, global warming has made it difficult to climb Mt. Everest. Mingma David Sherpa, who has climbed 14 peaks above 8,000 meters, said, “Khumbu Icefall is melting fast due to global warming.”Unfortunately, since the first successful attempt to climb Mt. Everest in 1953, garbage has started to accumulate. mountaineers throw garbage in the mountains.

Mount Everest includes dead bodies, food containers, cans, oxygen cylinders, cooking gas, tarpaulins, human excrement, etc. Even though Mount Everest still looks good from a distance, it is becoming less attractive to climbers due to the garbage accumulated here.

Image: Dirk Colliner / National Geographic

30 tons of garbage in Mount Everest

According to the Everest Arohan Association, about 11 tons of garbage have been picked up from Everest in recent years, but there are still about 30 tons of garbage left in the mountains.

South Cole, or Camp 4, is the highest camp on Mount Everest at 8,000 meters (26,240 feet). Where there is so much garbage including oxygen cylinders, food packaging, ropes, tents there is a pile of garbage. At that height, high winds have scattered tents and garbage everywhere.

“Mount Everest is not in good shape, and it’s our fault,” said Paul Meweski.”Our main mission is to study whether the highest glaciers on Earth are affected by man-made climate change,” Meweski said in a statement. “Mount Everest has changed a lot since the 1990s.”

Sanu Sherpa is the third Nepali to climb all 14 peaks above 8,000 meters.” As the amount of snow in the mountains decreases, the main victims are Sherpas,” he said, “who depend on the mountains.”Then there is the matter of thinking about the fate of other communities living in different parts of the world. In his view, due to global warming, the life of many people dependent on the mountains seems to be difficult due to extreme heat.

Everest is having some major effects. For those who only see Mt. Everest for climbing Mt. Everest, the recent changes could send bad news. According to Meweski and his co-author Mariusz Potocki, the rapid fall in glaciers could be seen as less snow and ice.

Lhakpa Gelbu Sherpa, who has climbed Mt. Everest 10 times from the north (Tibet) and 6 times from the south (Nepal), said, “There is a lot of snow on the Tibet side up to Camp 2. After Camp 2, you will probably find snow and you should walk on a black rock. The snow level in Nepal is decreasing every year. From Camp 4, you will find rocks, ”Sherpa told to mteversttoday.com .

If the South Cole Glacier is receding, it could eventually become a problem for all those who depend on it for water.