I wonder if Rajenda Pachauri will call this “voodoo science“? A previous study by the UC Santa Barbara found that the Karakoram glaciers are mostly stagnating, possibly due to debris, the author said then that:
“There is no ‘stereotypical’ Himalayan glacier,” said Bookhagen. “This is in clear contrast to the IPCC reports that lumps all Himalayan glaciers together.”
In the study this week, Stephan Harrison, associate professor in quaternary science at the U.K.’s University of Exeter, said the new research had showed there is “considerable variability” in the global climate and in how glaciers respond to it.
False Alarm: Some Himalayan Glaciers Are Growing
Nina Chestney, Reuters
Some glaciers in the Himalayas mountain range have gained a small amount of mass between 1999 and 2008, new research shows, bucking the global trend of glacial decline. The study published on Sunday in the Nature Geoscience journal also said the Karakoram mountain range in the Himalayas has contributed less to sea level rise than previously thought.
As global average temperature rise, glaciers, ice caps and ice sheets melt and shed water, which contributes to the increase of sea levels, threatening the populations of low-lying nations and islands.
The research at France’s University of Grenoble estimates that the Karakoram glaciers have gained around 0.11 to 0.22 metres per year between 1999 and 2008.
“Our conclusion that Karakoram glaciers had a small mass gain at the beginning of the 21st century indicates that those central/eastern glaciers are not representative of the whole (Himalayas),” the experts at the university said.
The study appears to confirm earlier research that had suggested the Karakoram glaciers have not followed the global trend of glacial decline over the past three decades. The mountain range’s remoteness had made it hard to confirm its behaviour.
The Karakoram mountain range spans the borders between India, China and Pakistan and is covered by 19,950 square kilometres of glaciers. It is home to the second highest mountain in the world, K2.
“We suggest that the sea-level-rise contribution for this region during the first decade of the 21st century should be revised from +0.04 mm per year to -0.006 mm per year sea-level equivalent,” the study said.
The Himalayas hold the planet’s largest body of ice outside the polar caps and feed many of the world’s great rivers, including the Ganges and Brahmaputra, on which hundreds of millions of people depend.
The world’s glaciers, ice caps and ice sheets have shed around 4,200 cubic kilometres from 2003 to 2010, experts suggest, which is enough to raise sea levels by 12 mm over that period.
Stephan Harrison, associate professor in quaternary science at the U.K.’s University of Exeter, said the new research had showed there is “considerable variability” in the global climate and in how glaciers respond to it.
The Karakoram glaciers are also unusual because they are covered with thick layers of rock debris, which means their patterns of melting and mass gain are driven by changes in that debris as well as in the climate.
Much of their mass gain also comes from avalanches from the mountains towering around them, Harrison said.
A separate study in February found that Himalayan glaciers and ice caps as a whole were losing mass less quickly than once feared, offering some respite to a region already feeling the effects of global warming.