04-22-2012, 04:13 PM
Good news for pakistan, Himalayan glaciers might be GROWING
OTTAWA - Some glaciers are going against the global warming grain and are actually growing, new research has shown.
Looking at satellite images snapped between 1999 and 2008, scientists studying the Karakoram mountains — a range in the Himalayas on the border of China and Pakistan — discovered the massive sheets of compacted snow and ice have either held steady or grown.
It's all about location, one expert says.
"You are beyond the monsoons when you get to the Karakoram, so they get their precipitation from almost European sources," Bruce F. Molnia, a research geologist with the United States Geological Survey, told QMI Agency.
Molnia, who was not part of this study, researches glaciers and often works in the nearby Hindu Kush range, where glaciers are retreating.
"We are talking about glaciers with different sizes, at different elevations at different latitudes, in different temperature environments - all of those are unique factors that need to be examined."
Molnia said most glaciers in North America are shrinking, including those in Canada, but he says those are in temperate regions - areas where it usually rises above freezing.
The geologist points out; however, that temperature plays only one part in the life of glaciers.
"We have about a dozen healthy actively advancing glaciers in Alaska, a couple of them originate in Canada, several of them have been growing continuously for more than 200 years," Molnia said.
He noted global warming arguments are being oversimplified and all of the Earth's ice is not steadily melting.
"Less than 20,000 years ago, the global ocean was more than 400 feet lower than it is today, and the reason for that was, the glaciers covered northern North America, Europe, and in order to produce those glaciers, the water came from the ocean."
"About six thousand years ago (the sea level) reached about the level it is today, and it has fluctuated ever since."
The findings on the Karakoram glaciers are published in the journal Nature Geoscience.
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