Two glaciers in Nepal to disappear: research

Two glaciers in Nepal that shrank at an accelerated rate in the past 10 years compared to preceding decades will inevitably disappear from rising temperatures as no fresh snow supply is expected for them, a new research by Japan's Nagoya University says.

According to Wednesday's Republica daily, the masses of the Yala glacier of Langtang Himal in central Nepal and the AX010 glacier of Shorong Himal in the Khumbu region shrank annually by 0. 8 meters and 0.81 meters respectively in the 2000s, which was a significant acceleration from the 0.68 and 0.72 meters of shrinkage per year between 1970 and 1990, said findings of the research published in a journal of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States on Tuesday.

"If the trend since the 1990s continues for the Yala and AX010 glaciers, the disappearance of these glaciers is inevitable because they are about to lose their accumulation areas, thus, no snow supply is expected for these glaciers," says the research conducted by Koji Fujita and Takayuki Nuimura.

The researchers also found that while the shrinking of glaciers has accelerated in humid environments, the opposite is true for those in arid environments. The shrinking of Rikha Samba glacier located in the Kaligandaki Hidden Valley slowed from 0.57 meters per year between 1970 and 1990 to 0.48 meters per year in the 2000s.

"A comparison of the mass balance results and annual precipitation reveals that glacier wastage has been accelerated in humid environments but suppressed in an arid environment," the research says.

Apart from environment, altitude also appears to play a role in the lifespan of glaciers, the researchers say. Rikha Samba is located at an altitude of 5,700 meters where loss of mass from melting could be compensated to some extent by collection of snowfall.

The Yala glacier and AX010, on the other hand, are located at lower altitudes of 5,400 meters and 5,200 meters respectively.

[Source: Xinhua, Katmandu, 03Aug11]

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