May 15, 2013, 11:59 AM —
Image credit: Flickr/SISTAK
Take a good look at that picture of Mount Everest, the world's highest mountain at more than 29,000 feet. See all that snow and ice? You won't in a few decades if Earth's climate continues to warm.
Researchers say global warming has melted Mount Everest's glaciers by 13% over the past half-century.
The Los Angeles Times reports: "Rocks and natural debris previously covered by snow are appearing now as the snow line has retreated 590 feet, according to Sudeep Thakuri, a University of Milan scientist who led the research."
Thakuri presented his findings Tuesday at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in Cancun, Mexico.
Data from the Nepal Climate Observatory and that nation's Department of Hydrology and Meteorology show that, since 1992, average temperatures have risen nearly 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit. Further, in that same time period, precipitation has fallen 3.9 inches during pre-monsoon and winter months, Nepalese researchers say.
The melting of glacial ice from Everest and other Himalayan peaks (along with the drop in precipitation) is more than an aesthetic issue. From the Times:
"The Himalayan glaciers and ice caps are considered a water tower for Asia since they store and supply water downstream during the dry season,” said Thakuri. “Downstream populations are dependent on the melt water for agriculture, drinking and power production."
What's causing this change? As science website redOrbit.com explains:
The researchers believe the decline of snow and ice in the Everest region is from human-generated greenhouse gases altering climate change. ...The researchers were able to understand the extent of glacial change on Everest and the surrounding 713 square miles of the Sagarmatha National Park by compiling satellite imagery and topographic maps and reconstructing glacial history.
Sure, that sounds like scientific evidence. But let's not jump to conclusions. Did you know that it got below 40 degrees in upstate New York last night? In May! What do these "researchers" have to say about that? So much for global warming.*
* This is sarcasm.