Mount Everest could be glacier-free before the end of the century

Mount Everest could be glacier-free before the end of the century

A recent study published in the journal 'The Cryosphere' predicts that the majority of the ice covering Mount Everest will vanish before the turn of the next century.

Climatologists have spent the spring warning the leaders of the world that ice shelves and glaciers in Antarctica and Greenland are declining at a rapid pace. But according to the New York Times, continental glaciers, like the one on Mount Everest, may be the first to disappear completely.

A recent study was published in the journal The Cryosphere, and it showed just how quickly glaciers are retreating across the Himalayas. According to lead author Joseph Shea, a glacier hydrologist at the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development in Nepal, the findings of the study are “quite frightening.”

The study found that moderate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions could result in a 70 percent loss of ice cover on Mount Everest by the end of the century. If greenhouse gas emissions continue at the rate they’re going today, up to 99 percent of ice cover could disappear by 2100.

Dr. Shea and his colleagues used complex climate models to predict how glacier melt might play out over the rest of the century. The model accounted for factors like temperature, precipitation, accumulation, and redistribution. They included measurements from the field and remote sensing data from the Dudh Koshi basin over the last 50 years.

The model accounted for the input to glaciers from average snowfall levels and predictions, as well as the way the snow and ice redistributes itself along the steep mountainsides. The researchers ran their model across eight separate greenhouse gas emissions scenarios, ranging from moderate reductions to none whatsoever.

The study’s results found that even if significant efforts were taken to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted, much of Everest’s glacial cover would still disappear by the turn of the next century.

While an ice-free Mount Everest would certainly reduce the risk of avalanches and deadly storms for mountaineers and locals, the larger trend indicates that the world may be facing bigger problems than expected.

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