According to the study, human-induced climate change is the cause for the rapid melting of South Col Glacier, and the glacial ice may disappear by the middle of the century
According to research published in the Nature Portfolio Journal of Climate and Atmospheric Science, ice that took nearly 2000 years to develop at the world’s highest glacier has started to melt at an alarming rate.
To study ice loss, the researchers extracted the world’s highest ice core from South Col Glacier (SCG), located at an elevation of 8,020 metres, as well as numerous additional measures utilising weather stations, satellite photos, and records.
It is projected that the ice in the SCG is depleting at a rate of roughly two metres each year, with around 55 metres of ice thickness lost in the previous 25 years. This rate indicates that the ice is thinning 80 times faster than almost 2000 years it took to form.
According to research, warmer temperatures, strong winds, and changes in humidity contributed to the rate of decline. But, human-caused climate change is the primary cause of the South Col Glacier’s ice loss. Changes over Everest have been most significant since the late 1990s, but the shifts caused by a warmer climate occurred since the 1950s.
They also stated that the loss of snow cover is critical. The glacier originally made up of snowpack or a combination of snow and ice is now primarily made up of ice. Because the glacier has turned to ice, it can no longer reflect the sun’s radiation, accelerating its melting.
Sublimation happens when ice is exposed to sunlight. The direct change of snow to vapour will accelerate, exposing more of the ice beneath. That implies that now that glacier ice has been exposed, several decades of accumulation may be lost every year.
The Effects of Glacial Ice Loss
The Himalayan mountain range provides drinking water to millions of people. Losing glacial ice might drastically reduce their ability to deliver water for drinking and irrigation.
Climbers may face incredible difficulty since future expeditions to the peak may encounter more exposed bedrock and ice, making it more challenging to climb.
Another issue to be concerned about is the increased likelihood of dangerous avalanches.