Mount Everest’s glaciers are on track to shrink 70% to 99% this century, according to a study last week in the journal The Cryosphere.
“The biggest result here is that the glaciers in the basin, we find them to be more sensitive to temperature than anyone expected before,” said lead author Joseph Shea of Kathmandu’s International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, who called the study “the first detailed modelling study of all glaciers in the Dudh Koshi basin in the Everest region of Nepal.”
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The 70% estimate for glacier loss was associated with a modest scenario for carbon emissions, “in which the world actually undertakes significant greenhouse gas reductions over the course of this century,” the Washington Post reports. “The result persisted even in climate model scenarios that included more regional precipitation, a factor that can help add mass to glaciers (especially if it comes in the form of snow).”
Shea said his team’s findings for Everest might not apply to glaciers elsewhere in the Himalayas.