Annual Report 2015: Knowledge generation and use

Scientists Find Everest Glaciers on Verge of Vanishing by 2100

Glaciers in the Everest region could lose over 90 percent of their mass by 2100, an ICIMOD team learned when researchers integrated field observations of ice thickness and glacier mass balance with remote sensing, weather station data, and historical records. The scientists used a gridded model to track how the 400 km2 of glaciers in the Dudh Koshi basin, home to Everest and other towering peaks, change daily and could change under future scenarios.

The study covered a range of climate possibilities, from worst-case hot and dry conditions to more conservative scenarios. In all scenarios, the glaciers continued to melt, losing from 70 to 99 per cent of their mass. Even increased precipitation couldn’t make up for the accelerating shrinkage, partly because rising temperatures over the course of this century are likely to push up the snowline, exposing more of the glaciers to higher temperatures and reducing the snow accumulation that could help rebuild the mass.

The findings drew attention from global media, including the Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Guardian.