Glacier changes at the top of the world: Over 70 percent of glacier volume in Everest region could be lost by 2100

May 27, 2015, European Geosciences Union
Instruments used to study the Mera Glacier region of the Dudh Kosi basin. Credit: Patrick Wagnon

If greenhouse-gas emissions continue to rise, glaciers in the Everest region of the Himalayas could experience dramatic change in the decades to come. A team of researchers in Nepal, France and the Netherlands have found Everest glaciers could be very sensitive to future warming, and that sustained ice loss through the 21st century is likely. The research is published today (27 May) in The Cryosphere, an open access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).

"The signal of future glacier change in the region is clear: continued and possibly accelerated mass loss from glaciers is likely given the projected increase in temperatures," says Joseph Shea, a glacier hydrologist at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Kathmandu, Nepal, and leader of the study.

The glacier model used by Shea and his team shows that glacier volume could be reduced between 70% and 99% by 2100. The results depend on how much greenhouse-gas emissions continue to rise, and on how this will affect , snowfall and rainfall in the area."Our results indicate that these glaciers may be highly sensitive to changes in temperature, and that increases in precipitation are not enough to offset the increased melt," says Shea. Increased temperatures will not only increase the rates of snow and ice melt, but can also result in a change of precipitation from snow to rain at critical elevations, where glaciers are concentrated. Together, these act to reduce glacier growth and increase the area exposed to melt.

Glaciers in High Mountain Asia, a region that includes the Himalayas, contain the largest volume of ice outside the polar regions. The team studied glaciers in the Dudh Kosi basin in the Nepal Himalaya, which is home to some of the world's highest mountain peaks, including Mt Everest, and to over 400 square kilometres of glacier area. "Apart from the significance of the region, glaciers in the Dudh Kosi basin contribute meltwater to the Kosi River, and glacier changes will affect river flows downstream," says Shea.

Changes in glacier volume can impact the availability of water, with consequences for agriculture and hydropower generation. While increased glacier melt initially increases water flows, ongoing retreat leads to reduced meltwater from the glaciers during the warmer months, with greatest impact for the local populations before the monsoon when rainfall is scarce. Glacier retreat can also result in the formation and growth of lakes dammed by glacial debris. Avalanches and earthquakes can breach the dams, causing catastrophic floods that can result in river flows 100 times greater than normal in the Kosi basin.

To find out how glaciers in the region will evolve in the future, the team started by using field observations and data from local weather stations to calibrate and test a model of glacier change over the past 50 years. "To examine the sensitivity of modelled glaciers to future climate change, we then applied eight temperature and precipitation scenarios to the historical temperature and precipitation data and tracked how glacier areas and volumes responded," says study co-author Walter Immerzeel of Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

Part of the glacier response is due to changes in the freezing level, the elevation where mean monthly temperatures are 0°C. "The freezing level currently varies between 3200 m in January and 5500 m in August. Based on historical temperature measurements and projected warming to the year 2100, this could increase by 800-1200m," says Immerzeel. "Such an increase would not only reduce snow accumulations over the glaciers, but would also expose over 90% of the current glacierized area to melt in the warmer months."

The researchers caution, however, that the results published in The Cryosphere should be seen as a first approximation to how Himalayan glaciers will react to increasing temperatures in the region. Patrick Wagnon, a visiting scientist at ICIMOD and glaciologist at the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement in Grenoble, France, says: "Our estimates need to be taken very cautiously, as considerable uncertainties remain." For example, the model simplifies glacier movements, which impact how respond to increases in temperature and precipitation.

But the researchers stress in the paper that "the signal of future glacier change in the region is clear and compelling" and that decreases in ice thickness and extent are expected for "even the most conservative climate change scenario."

Explore further: Western Canada to lose 70 percent of glaciers by 2100

More information: Shea, J. M., Immerzeel, W. W., Wagnon, P., Vincent, C., and Bajracharya, S.: Modelling glacier change in the Everest region, Nepal Himalaya, The Cryosphere, 9, 1105-1128, DOI: 10.5194/tc-9-1105-2015, 2015. http://www.the-cryosphere.net/9/1105/2015/tc-9-1105-2015.html

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47 comments

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Intuition
1.9 / 5 (17) May 27, 2015
Typical doom and gloom garbage. It's not happening.
denglish
2.1 / 5 (15) May 27, 2015
The polar ice refused to go away, so now we're picking on the glaciers?

Give us your money...or the Earth gets it.
antigoracle
2.1 / 5 (15) May 27, 2015
More fodder for the ignorant hungry AGW Chicken Littles... the sky is melting...the sky is melting...
http://wattsupwit...apestry/
leetennant
4.2 / 5 (20) May 27, 2015
Nothing like yelling "No it's not!" at every science article you read to make a really compelling comment. Oddly enough, all these multiple lines of evidence exist because it is happening.

Temperatures are rising, ice is melting, the permafrost is thawing and it will have an impact on glaciers - just like it's had a significant impact on polar ice. We call this reality.
ROBTHEGOB
2.2 / 5 (13) May 28, 2015
The Earth may be heating up, but it is not being caused by human activity. Our fossil fuel burning etc. is of little real consequence. It is the activity of the sun and the motions of the planets (including the Earth itself) that is causing it. We cannot control it; just move to higher ground and enjoy the view.
HeloMenelo
3.3 / 5 (12) May 28, 2015
Seems like gorillas last few braincells just melted away... so too his sockpuppets, perhaps a rat brain transplant should bring more intelligent answers from those hollow skulls ? :D
gkam
1.6 / 5 (14) May 28, 2015
Menelo, can you stay on the subject? These taunts do no good.

(even if I agree with them)

Thanks.
Earthman
3.6 / 5 (14) May 28, 2015
The polar ice refused to go away, so now we're picking on the glaciers?

Give us your money...or the Earth gets it.


Right, it's all in my imagination. You people are insane.

https://www.youtu...1GAODT8I
sdrfz
1 / 5 (7) May 28, 2015
Nothing like yelling "No it's not!" at every science article you read to make a really compelling comment. Oddly enough, all these multiple lines of evidence exist because it is happening.


But there's no real evidence in this article. The authors of this study used a climate model, and they can put whatever assumptions they want into their little computer program. It doesn't mean those assumptions are accurate. I could write a computer program that says AGW is a fantasy, but I wouldn't get any funding for doing that.
HeloMenelo
3.8 / 5 (13) May 28, 2015
sorry gkam, not gonna happen, having too much fun, if a person post one or 2 dumb answers that is understandable, but keep at it and they will receive that special attention they deserve ;)

One either cares about the planet, or side with the dumb trolls wanting to destroy it, and that will be exposed, i did not vote on your comment but usually you get a good score.
thermodynamics
5 / 5 (9) May 28, 2015
sorry gkam, not gonna happen, having too much fun, if a person post one or 2 dumb answers that is understandable, but keep at it and they will receive that special attention they deserve ;)

One either cares about the planet, or side with the dumb trolls wanting to destroy it, and that will be exposed, i did not vote on your comment but usually you get a good score.


I, for one, like your rejoinders. Keep up the good work and keep me smiling...
gkam
2.9 / 5 (17) May 28, 2015
I yield.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (11) May 28, 2015
I, for one, like your rejoinders.
@Gkam
I do as well: from Helo to Ira
sometimes it takes hyperbole, satire and parody in commentary to get the point across

take for instance robthegob above:
despite being shown facts as well as given studies that directly refute her post with not only scientific evidence, but measured and observed evidence (not models), she still clings to the fallacy that humans don't have an effect on the environment
http://www.bgc.mp...IJMS.pdf

or take sdrfz's comments:
despite the FACTS that we've actually proven, or that models have been improving as well as the predictions of previous models are well within the error bars and thus are accurate, she still argues that models are not helpful or accurate
http://www.skepti...iate.htm

they need to be treated as they truly are: whiny children chastised for their refusal to accept knowledge and remain stupid
RealityCheck
1.3 / 5 (13) May 28, 2015
Hi denglish.
The polar ice refused to go away, so now we're picking on the glaciers?
How many times have I explained that we are in transitional period of Chaotic System FLUX between previous 'nodes' (temporal and geographical) and evolving 'nodes'. The patterns of currents and other heat transport mechanisms/media involve moving heat around. Like if wind current patterns changed around your house, some rooms would be cooler while some warmer in a different pattern than before. Similarly, at different times during this transition, heat from one region which melts Mountain Glaciers might chaotically be shifted to melt Polar ice. Also keep in mind the currents which bring waters from Arctic into Atlantic would COOL Atlantic because these waters were COOLED by the ice melting into the ocean rather than staying intact and insulating the water from further cooling by cold Arctic air.

It's more complicated than your troll mind thinks, denglish. Give it a rest, mate. :)
Maggnus
4.7 / 5 (12) May 29, 2015
Typical doom and gloom garbage. It's not happening.
Nanananaananaa I can't hear you, not looking, can't make me nananaanana
Maggnus
4.7 / 5 (12) May 29, 2015
The polar ice refused to go away, so now we're picking on the glaciers?

Give us your money...or the Earth gets it.
Sliding back into the first level of denial I see. Leetennant has it exactly right; shouting "no it's not" at every article just sounds stupid.
Maggnus
4.7 / 5 (12) May 29, 2015
The Earth may be heating up, but it is not being caused by human activity. Our fossil fuel burning etc. is of little real consequence. It is the activity of the sun and the motions of the planets (including the Earth itself) that is causing it. We cannot control it; just move to higher ground and enjoy the view.
Ah, the second level of denialism - it's happening, but it's not humans. 15 points!
HeloMenelo
3.4 / 5 (10) May 29, 2015
The polar ice refused to go away, so now we're picking on the glaciers?

Give us your money...or the Earth gets it.
Sliding back into the first level of denial I see. Leetennant has it exactly right; shouting "no it's not" at every article just sounds stupid.


Stupid is what they pride themselves doing best, competing so vigorously for 1 ratings and bannanas, keeps me smiling and the world witnessing it makes it hilarious.. :D
gkam
1.6 / 5 (13) May 29, 2015
While you folk trade insults, much of Asia is losing the source of its WATER!!

Stop the silly bantering and start seeing what happens when a billion people lose their source of water.

antigoracle
1.6 / 5 (7) May 29, 2015
Ah, the second level of denialism - it's happening, but it's not humans. 15 points!

Ah, the first and only level of AGW Cultism - they tell me it's happening and it's humans. 0 points!
HeloMenelo
3 / 5 (8) May 29, 2015
Monkey wants a bannana... here monkey monkey....
gkam
1.8 / 5 (14) May 29, 2015
Once again, people:
While you folk trade insults, much of Asia is losing the source of its WATER!!

Stop the silly bantering and start seeing what happens when a billion people lose their source of water.
denglish
1 / 5 (7) May 30, 2015
The polar ice refused to go away, so now we're picking on the glaciers?

Give us your money...or the Earth gets it.


Right, it's all in my imagination. You people are insane.

https://www.youtu...1GAODT8I

In 2007, Al Gore said the polar ice would be gone in 5 years.

What happened?
denglish
1 / 5 (6) May 30, 2015
The polar ice refused to go away, so now we're picking on the glaciers?

Give us your money...or the Earth gets it.
Sliding back into the first level of denial I see. Leetennant has it exactly right; shouting "no it's not" at every article just sounds stupid.

How come the polar ice didn't disappear in 2012?

https://www.youtu...oIw4bvzI

denglish
1 / 5 (7) May 30, 2015
Temperatures are rising, ice is melting, the permafrost is thawing and it will have an impact on glaciers - just like it's had a significant impact on polar ice. We call this reality.

Why is the Antarctic ice growing? Is the Antarctic not a polar region?

Here is reality:

Earth has cyclical change patterns. This is clear. It is also clear that we don't know why.

Humans are trying to profit from it by blaming it on other humans.

No-one argues against a clean planet. The concern is that the issue has been politicized to the extent that the masses are footing the tab on a contrived invoice (with no oversight re: where that money goes), and economies are being crippled by groups in whose interest that crippling lies.

Meanwhile, we come onto forums and ignorantly eviscerate each other.
gkam
3 / 5 (16) May 30, 2015
"Humans are trying to profit from it by blaming it on other humans."
------------------------------------

Is that what you would do?

Then, why would you want to assume a professional scientist would lie, threatening his very professional existence?
denglish
1 / 5 (7) May 30, 2015
Then, why would you want to assume a professional scientist would lie, threatening his very professional existence?

Excellent question.

I don't think they're lieing. I think that the question of climate change is so complex that many possibilities haven't been explored. We definitely don't have enough temporal data points to work with.

When Gore made this issue a flash-point, and the global governments allied with him, the scientists were faced with a problem. Express a moderate view, and lose grants. Side with the those ready to extort, and be paid.

Human nature. We decide on a winner, and go that way.
gkam
3.1 / 5 (17) May 30, 2015
I disagree. We have many points in many disciplines. It is not just Climate Science which is cognizant of the effects of Climate Change, it is all of the disciplines, a fact left out by Deniers.

Marine scientists are concerned about temperature changes and the lowering of the pH of the oceans. Other scientists are concerned at the spread of tropical diseases with the changing climate, already seen. Other see the environments of wild life changing too fast for evolution to keep up. We see the coming Great Extinction, in which we are a major part.

I suggest you take off your political blinders and see the truth.
denglish
1 / 5 (7) May 30, 2015
I suggest you take off your political blinders and see the truth.


No-one denies that the earth undergoes climate change.

The truth is what is being questioned.

Unfortunately, there has been a very large money and power grab coming from the AGW side. This makes them extremely suspect.
gkam
3 / 5 (16) May 30, 2015
"Unfortunately, there has been a very large money and power grab coming from the AGW side. "
------------------------------

WHAT??

Do you think this is some kind of game? Those of us with degrees in this field know better. Go get an education!
antigoracle
1 / 5 (6) May 30, 2015
Only the ignorant AGW Chicken Littles would fall for this lie.
http://wattsupwit...y-state/

The globe has been cooling for the past 18 years and is expected to continue.
gkam
2.3 / 5 (12) May 30, 2015
I see this is just political prejudice for those with political monikers. It is a silly game of screaming across the playground.

Some of the rest of us may have actual degrees in this field.
gkam
1.8 / 5 (10) May 30, 2015
For those with political prejudice and no education in this field:

http://ecowatch.c...e-shelf/
Maggnus
5 / 5 (10) May 30, 2015
The polar ice refused to go away, so now we're picking on the glaciers?

Give us your money...or the Earth gets it.


Right, it's all in my imagination. You people are insane.

https://www.youtu...1GAODT8I

In 2007, Al Gore said the polar ice would be gone in 5 years.

What happened?


No, he said that if the warming rate in the Arctic continued unchecked as it was doing in 2005, then the arctic could be ice free as soon as 2012. So what happened was that a politician seeking to make a point about a subject he believed passionately in, overstated the case.

This is just another "There is no global warming because AL GORE!". Thanks, 15 points.
Maggnus
5 / 5 (10) May 30, 2015
The polar ice refused to go away, so now we're picking on the glaciers?

Give us your money...or the Earth gets it.
Sliding back into the first level of denial I see. Leetennant has it exactly right; shouting "no it's not" at every article just sounds stupid.

How come the polar ice didn't disappear in 2012?

https://www.youtu...oIw4bvzI ^



I see you don't like Al Gore. Maybe you should consider voting for someone else then.

Oh, wait, he isn't running for anything. You could not vote fro Hillary then. Well, assuming she gets the nod.

Your denialism is well rooted in political conspiratism. No science to back you, no observations, no papers, nothing but a overwhelming desire for it to not be so.
denglish
1 / 5 (8) May 30, 2015
"Unfortunately, there has been a very large money and power grab coming from the AGW side. "
------------------------------

WHAT??

Do you think this is some kind of game? Those of us with degrees in this field know better. Go get an education!

You have no idea how California was raped by AB32.

So what happened was that a politician seeking to make a point about a subject he believed passionately in, overstated the case.

"Overstated the case"

Was that overstatement justification for robbing citizens and corporations out of billions of dollars?

Those of us with degrees in this field know better.

Stop lying about your education. Its poor form.

no observations

https://www.googl...idley-ip
RealityCheck
1.9 / 5 (9) May 30, 2015
Hi denglish. :)

The ice cover is subject to more than just overall global warming in any season/decade. It is also subject to the chaotic shifts which have been in evidence lately in the form/effect of 'excursion' from normal polar vortex/jetstream patterns bringing extreme unusual events elsewhere. Not only that; while ice may be there, it may be less contiguous and more 'soft' than before, so saying the ice is there doesn't really reflect the nature/condition of that ice.

As for science not exploring alternative scenarios/causes, and that models ignore ancient climate change events, it's well known that, just as a 'nuclear winter' brought on by mass nuclear war detonations lifting material into stratosphere and cooling planet for years, the global continuous mass volcanism epochs and frequent/massive asteroid hit epochs too, would have done this to even greater degree/effect.

Also mass/uninterrupted biological epochs have changed climate.

Now it's human activity/politics.
gkam
3 / 5 (14) May 30, 2015
denglish, what is your problem with others and education and experience? It is where many of us get our opinions, not from political prejudice.

I earned a Master of Science in this field, thanks. From where did you get your opinion?
Maggnus
5 / 5 (8) May 31, 2015
no observations

https://www.googl...idley-ip
Oh, I'm sorry, I meant there were no observations that supported your denialism. There are plenty of observations, of course, and you've linked to a few. Notice how they universally show warming?

So you agree then I take it? Given what you linked to I mean.
HeloMenelo
3.4 / 5 (10) May 31, 2015
I suggest you take off your political blinders and see the truth.


No-one denies that the earth undergoes climate change.

The truth is what is being questioned.

Unfortunately, there has been a very large money and power grab coming from the AGW side. This makes them extremely suspect.

..lol powergrab... man this buffoon really taking the cake, little monkey, you want to talk power grab eh.... ? ? You want to see who relentlessly pollutes and destroy the earth on an unimaginable scale, That is misusing all it's power and for over a 100 years, pouring 100s off billions of tons of toxins into the atmosphere and polluting our oceans which is big OIL.... the only straws you're grabbing at here is you're little dong little donglish monkey... ;)
HeloMenelo
3.2 / 5 (9) May 31, 2015
Only the ignorant AGW Chicken Littles would fall for this lie.
http://wattsupwit...y-state/

The globe has been cooling for the past 18 years and is expected to continue.


Nope, you're brain has been heating up for the past 18 years and is expected to continue, meanwhile the globe has been heating up as well, proven by
Emperical Scientific Evidence, You monkey, your sockpuppets and greedy oil is based on fraud, and you have never been able to prove any of your points coming up with monkeysciencesites doing monkey science. And yes those 1 out of 5's backing it up quite neatly.. ;) :D
Mike_Massen
3.7 / 5 (12) May 31, 2015
Intuition claims
. It's not happening.
You have been shown before you are incorrect, glaciers are melting, temps are rising, evidence is everywhere, eg Temps
http://images.rem...ies.html

Large ice melts
http://sciencenor...-out-sea

@denglish, what pejorative should we apply to those that STILL trot out obfuscation and refuse to learn ?

Should we call them liars, cheats or idiots or paid flunkies, should we provide some relevant operant conditioning so they take their garbage elsewhere or how do we get them to be honest denglish ?
Mike_Massen
3.7 / 5 (12) May 31, 2015
ROBTHEGOB claims
The Earth may be heating up, but it is not being caused by human activity
No !
You are either immensely ignorant or lying or just plain easily robotically manipulated by propaganda, try science, start with simple stuff, start with heat flow re radiative transfer
https://en.wikipe...transfer

And then get a grasp on this
http://en.wikiped..._forcing

ROBTHEGOB states
Our fossil fuel burning etc. is of little real consequence. It is the activity of the sun and the motions of the planets (including the Earth itself) that is causing it. We cannot control it; just move to higher ground and enjoy the view.
Sol's output is on the low side & has been for long enough to not be the cause of warming, it certainly is NOT the cause of immense heat transferred to the oceans - the immense specific heat of water hasn't been factored in by AGW deniers - they don't understand Physics and prove it so very often :-(
meBigGuy
3.8 / 5 (10) May 31, 2015
I keep trying to explain one simple concept to the idiots.

Put a glass of icewater into a thermally isolated chamber.

Slowly put heat into the chamber.

The chamber (and the water) will not start to get warmer until all the ice melts. Now, is that system all the while getting warmer, even though the temperature of the water and the air are not becoming higher? Theoretically the surface of the water could even become covered in thin ice while the system is warming.

How do the idiots explain any way in which constant water temperatures and constant air temperatures can be considered *evidence* that warming is not occuring?
Mike_Massen
3.4 / 5 (10) Jun 01, 2015
meBigGuy offered
I keep trying to explain one simple concept to the idiots.
The chamber (and the water) will not start to get warmer until all the ice melts. Now, is that system all the while getting warmer, even though the temperature of the water and the air are not becoming higher?
Although correct that's for close thermal contact, problem we have on Earth's scale is wide disparate sporadic heat transfer, affected by currents; ocean & air. Idle anti-science (bulk badly uneducated) AGW deniers CANNOT appreciate NH greatest land mass, North pole ice mostly surrounded by land, whereas SH mostly ocean & South pole land surrounded by water

meBigGuy lamented
How do the idiots explain any way in which constant water temperatures and constant air temperatures can be considered evidence that warming is not occuring?
Because they refuse to accept or even Learn Specific Heat & especially "latent heat of fusion" which is the key to your comment & I sympathize !
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (9) Jun 01, 2015
I keep trying to explain one simple concept to the idiots.

At this point I can only come to the conclusion that they aren't idiots but are paid to posion comment sites/internet forums so that real discussion ceases. No one can be actively reading science sites (i.e. be _interested_ in science) and be so willfully ignorant/unable to understand what is being reported by scientists.

So something doesn't mesh in their psychological profile between what they are doing (being on science sites) and the content of what they post.
RealityCheck
2.7 / 5 (12) Jun 01, 2015
Hi antialias. :)
At this point I can only come to the conclusion that they aren't idiots but are paid to posion comment sites/internet forums so that real discussion ceases. No one can be actively reading science sites (i.e. be _interested_ in science) and be so willfully ignorant/unable to understand what is being reported by scientists.

So something doesn't mesh in their psychological profile between what they are doing (being on science sites) and the content of what they post.
Actually it's a combination of paid shills operating the fossil Industry-Lobby incite/supported lying websites PLUS those suckers who, for whatever reasons of stupidity/gullibility and/or religious/political/egotistical biases, fall for their propaganda. Either way, their deniers/shilling status is self-evident with their every post. Just the price humanity pays for breeding/tolerating such abuses of intellect/power for selfish ends against humanity's longterm interests. C'est la vie.

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