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3/28/2007

Himalayan Glacier Melting Observed From Space

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Global Warming Alert
Photo Left: An EO view of the glaciers that sit along the Himalayas.

The Himalaya, the "Roof of the World", source of the seven largest rivers of Asia are, like other mountain chains, suffering the effects of global warming. To assess the extent of melting of its 33 000 km2 of glaciers, scientists have been using a process they have been pioneering for some years.

Satellite-imagery derived glacier surface topographies obtained at intervals of a few years were adjusted and compared. Calculations indicated that 915 km2 of Himalayan glaciers of the test region, Spiti/Lahaul (Himachal Pradesh, India) thinned by an annual average of 0.85 m between 1999 and 2004.

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The causes of climate change, its intensity and the future effects on mankind are far from settled, say a growing number of climate scientists.
Photo: Two Tibetan woman stand at the foot of the 7190 metre Nojing Kangtsang glacier. Although the melting of Tibet's glaciers threatens to have dire global repercussions, climate change remains a vague concept to the people of this Himalayan region. The global warming debate continues, with climatologists claiming sunspot activity was to blame for Greenland's freezing over in the 17th century. (Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images)



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