In an interesting paper published in Nature Geoscience this week, scientists studying the glaciers in the Karakoram mountain range along the Sino-Indian border suggest that the ice masses there are actually growing contrary to the ‘glacier waning’ phenomenon elsewhere in the world.
Based on satellite images, they say that some of the glaciers in the central Karakoram range, spread across China’s borders with India and Pakistan, are gaining thickness. The researchers measured thickness of the glaciers in more than 5,500 square kilometre are and compared them with previous satellite data. They have reported an ice thickness which when melted would yield 11 centimeters of water. Though not an enormous change, this reverse trend despite the scare of global warming is surprising and perhaps happy.
The researchers, however, have no clue yet on why this might be happening. Another group of scientists working in the Karakoram range had hinted in 2005 that the ice masses there might be growing. But it wasn’t clear then if the glaciers in the region were spreading to cover more area and making the ice thinner.
The Himalayan glaciers had hogged headlines in 2010 for the wrong reasons when an erroneous report by a working group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had predicted that they we would see the end of them by 2035. The IPCC was, however, quick to correct its stand.
Here’s wishing our glaciers more health!