HIMALAYAS: ICE LOSS SPEEDS UP
21st June 2019
Last modified on December 19th, 2019
Images from Cold War US spy satellites in the 1970s have revealed the dramatic extent of ice loss in glaciers in mountain range.
Scientists compared photographs taken by a US reconnaissance programme with recent spacecraft observations.
They found that melting in the region has doubled over the last 4 decades.
The study shows that since 2000, glaciers heights have been shrinking by an average of 0.5m per year.
About 13% of the ice seen in 1975 disappeared by 2000.
In the next 16 years, another 15% of the original glaciers vanished.
The researchers say that climate change is the main cause.
“From this study, we really see the clearest picture yet of how Himalayan glaciers have changed,” Joshua Maurer, from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in New York, told the BBC.
The full research is published in the journal Science Advances.
Data from the study was obtained from the U.S. KH-9 Hexagon satellites.
The researchers accessed the images, which had been scanned by the U.S. Geological Survey, through the agency’s Earth Explorer portal.
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