Why Himalayan Karakoram Range glaciers are expanding, not melting mystery finally solved

A new research has resolved the " Karakoram anomaly ," where glaciers have remained stable and even increased in mass while many glaciers nearby have receded.

ANI| Last Updated: Oct 23, 2014, 13:11 PM IST
Why Himalayan Karakoram Range glaciers are expanding, not melting mystery finally solved

Washington: A new research has resolved the " Karakoram anomaly ," where glaciers have remained stable and even increased in mass while many glaciers nearby have receded.

The study from Princeton University found that the ice in the glaciers of the Karakoram Mountains, a range within the Himalayas, is sustained by a unique and localized seasonal pattern that keeps the mountain range relatively cold and dry during the summer.

Other Himalayan ranges and the Tibetan Plateau, where glaciers have increasingly receded as Earth's climate has warmed, receive most of their precipitation from heavy summer monsoons out of hot South and Southeast Asian nations such as India.

First author Sarah Kapnick said that a shortage of reliable observational data and the use of low-resolution computer models had obscured the subtleties of the Karakoram seasonal cycle and prevented scientists from unraveling the causes of the anomaly.

Jeff Dozier from University of California-Santa Barbara, who was not involved in the research, said that the " Karakoram Anomaly" has been a puzzle and this paper gives a credible explanation, adding that climate in the mountains is obviously affected strongly by the elevation, but most global climate models don't resolve the topography well enough.

Dozier added that so, the higher-resolution model is appropriate and about a billion people worldwide get their water resources from melting snow and many of these billion get their water from High Mountain Asia.

The study is published online in Nature Geoscience.