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Climate change resilience at 5260 meters above sea level

Mazlan Othman, the Director of the ISC’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP), reached the summit of the Gokyo Peak in the Himalayas to find a debris-covered glacier, with distinctive climate-resistant qualities.

Mazlan Othman on the top of Gyoko-Ri
Date
27.09.2019
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“I trekked to Gyoko-Ri in the Khumbu region of Nepal, west of the Ngozumpa glacier, in September 2019. The longest glacier in Nepal, Ngozumpa, is a debris-covered glacier which behaves differently from a clean type glacier – like the Franz Josef Glacier in New Zealand.

A team of scientists who studied the glacier in 2016 found ice many hundreds of meters thick beneath the debris. While the debris makes the glacier disappointing to look at, it actually protects the glacier from melting at its terminus, perhaps making it less susceptible to rising temperatures.

More studies are needed to ascertain the role of debris in the evolution of the glacier.”

The Himalayas are home to the third largest deposit of ice and snow in the world. However, their glaciers are rapidly melting, and satellite imageries show the ice loss accelerating.

Studies show that most Central and Eastern Himalaya glaciers could disappear by 2035.

Ngozumpa
Ngozumpa glacier - the longest glacier in the Himalayas
Ngozumpa glacier - the longest glacier in the Himalayas