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Longest Himalayan glacier melting away at rapid pace - Jan 1, 2012

NEPAL TOURISM NEWS
Longest Himalayan glacier melting away at rapid pace

Ngozumpa glacier in Nepal is melting away at a rapid pace and retreating at its edges because of global warming.

The Nepalese Himalayas have been warming considerably more than the global mean temperature in recent decades.

Glaciers in most of the region are showing signs of shrinking, thinning, and retreating, which is giving way to a lot of melt water.

On Ngozumpa, some of this water is seen to pool on the surface and then drain away via a series of streams and caverns to the snout of the glacier, the BBC reported.

There, around 25km from the mountain, a colossal lake is growing behind a heap of dumped rock fragments.

This lake, called Spillway, is likely to be about 6km long, 1km wide and 100m deep.

The concern is that this huge mass of water could ultimately infringe the debris dam and hurtle down the valley, sweeping away the Sherpa villages in its path.

According to the scientists, although the threat is not immediate, but it is a situation that requires monitoring.

One of the researchers at work on Ngozumpa is Ulyana Horodyskyj, from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado in Boulder, US.

In of the incidences, her cameras captured a supraglacial lake losing more than 100,000 cubic metres of water in just two days. Within five days, the lake had recovered half the volume, fed by waters from higher up the glacier.

"Say I came the week before and the week after a lake drained - it would seem like nothing had happened because the lake level would appear to be the same," Horodyskyj said.

"But my timelapse photography tells me that something has happened - 40 Olympic-size swimming pools just got sent down the glacier," she added.
 
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