Himalayan Glaciers Growing Despite Global Warming

Apr 17th, 2012 | By | Category: Climatic Changes in Himalayas, Ecosystem Functions, Information and Communication, News, Research

Telegraph UK: Glaciers in parts of the greater Himalayas are growing despite the worldwide trend of ice melting due to warmer temperatures, a study has found.

In the Karakoram mountain range on the border of Pakistan and China, glaciers have defied global warming to become marginally larger over a decade, researchers said.

The French scientists produced three dimensional maps of the range, which is separated from the Himalayas but usually considered part of the same chain, between 1999 and 2008.

Their findings suggest the region is contravening the global pattern of glacier shrinkage, which is taking place elsewhere in the Himalayas and around the planet.

The impact of global warming in the region has been controversial since an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report wrongly claimed in 2007 that glaciers in most of the greater Himalayan range could vanish by 2035.

The research, published in the Nature Geoscience journal, comes a month after a study which suggested the rate of ice loss in the Himalayas was being overestimated due to inadequate monitoring methods.

Julie Gardelle, at CNRS-Université Grenoble, who led the project, said the reason for the exception was unclear but could be related to regional variation in temperature.

She told The Guardian: “In our warming world, there are regions of the Earth where, for a few years or decades, the atmosphere is not warming or is even cooling. “So it is not really a big surprise that there are some regions where the temperature is not rising and the Karakoram may be one of those.”

In a comment piece in the same journal Graham Cogley, a Canadian researcher who previously challenged the 2007 IPCC report, said making sense of the differing glacial size figures produced by different scientific techniques would “keep glaciologists busy for some time”.

By Nick Collins, Science Correspondent

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