Ground Report | New Delhi: Glacier ice on mountain tops is disappearing; A new study has found that ice on mountain top glaciers has decreased significantly in tropical regions of all four hemispheres. In less than the last 50 years, this area of ice has decreased by 93 percent.
The study, published online recently in the journal Global and Planetary Change, found a glacier near Puncak Jaya in Papua New Guinea has lost about 93 percent of the ice in a 38-year period from 1980 to 2018. Between 1986 and 2017, the area covered by glaciers at the top of Kilimanjaro in Africa decreased by about 71 percent.
Glacier ice on mountain tops
The data shows that these glaciers are disappearing due to climate change . These glaciers have long been a source of water for the people living nearby. This indicates that those glaciers have lost more than half their ice in recent years.
The study compared changes in the area covered by glaciers in four regions. Including Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, the Andes in Peru and Bolivia, the Tibetan Plateau and the Himalayas of Central and South Asia, and ice areas in Papua, New Guinea, Indonesia
Lonnie Thompson has led expeditions to all of these glaciers and explored the ice from each. Cores are long columns of ice that serve as a time frame for the climate of regions from centuries to millennia.
As snow falls on a glacier each year, layers of ice are formed that preserve the ice’s chemistry trap. Researchers can study those layers and determine what was present in the atmosphere at the time the ice formed.
Ice share decreased by 46 percent from 1976 to 2020
Analysis by researchers at the University of Colorado showed that from 1970 to 2003 the area of glacier ice at the top of that mountain had decreased by about 19 percent. The second-largest tropical glacier area is the surface area of the Quelcaya Ice Cap, where the ice share decreased by 46 percent from 1976 to 2020.
Around the time of Thompson’s first mission, NASA launched the first version of its Landsat mission. Landsat is a collection of satellites that take pictures of the Earth’s surface and have been operating in various forms since 1972. It provides the longest continuous space-based data or record of Earth, ice and water.
We have ice core records of these mountains and detailed images of glaciers in Landsat, “If we combine those two data sets, we clearly see what’s going on there,” Thompson said. (Glacier ice on mountain tops)
Ice may no longer be persistent at higher altitudes
Glaciers in tropical areas respond more rapidly to climate change. Since they are present in the hottest regions of the world. They can only survive at very high altitudes where the climate is cold. Before the Earth’s atmosphere warms, it falls in the form of ice. Now, much of it falls as rain, causing the existing snow to melt even faster.
Christopher Schuman, associate research professor at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, said the ice may no longer be persistent at higher altitudes. The area of melting ice is greatly reduced by warm air, while still falling a certain amount of snow at very high altitudes cools the atmosphere sufficiently, but maintaining this area of ice up to that dimension It’s not easy.
This can have a profound effect on the people living near those glaciers that are melting in large quantities. The study details the story of a community living near the ice-covered area of Quelcaya and the aftermath of a flood caused by heavy snow falling from a glacier into a nearby lake. The flood destroyed the fields where the farming family had spent years cultivating and frightened the family so much that they were forced to start a new life in the city.