Global Warming's Impact on Mt. Everest

Over the past 50 years Mt. Everest has been shrinking. Chinese researchers at Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hunan University of Science and Technology have observed that the glaciers around the world’s highest peak are getting warmer, and have shrunk remarkably. This has resulted in an increased inflow of water in the lakes and rivers down stream. The positive effect of this has resulted in an improvement in the ecological environment of the area, as well as increased forest coverage around the area.

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However, a report released by the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research states that the retreating of the glaciers has caused an increase in natural disasters due to rising temperatures and increased human activity. The loss of glaciers is the most prominent in the Himalayan Mountains, and southeastern Tibet. The type of disasters that occur in the area include snow storms, landslides, and torrential floods. Researchers suggest an increase in these disasters.

2014 Avalanche, Image Source:
A positive impact of the melting of these glaciers has resulted in an increase in the number and area of lakes on the Tibetan plateau. The number of lakes that exceed the one square kilometer area mark increased from 1,081 in 1970s to 1,236 in 2010. 80% of the lakes have also experienced an increase in size over these years.

Gurudongmar Lake located at an altitude of 17,100 feet on the Tibetan Plateau. Image Source:
Another positive impact has resulted in growth of forest area in this region. The forest area in the region has increased from 7.29 million hectares in 1997 to 14.72 million hectares in 2013. This can hugely be credited to the efforts and contributions of the forestry conservation and restoration.

Even though there are both positive and negative affects of global warming in the area, researchers are keenly watching Mount Everest, and the Tibetan Plateau to study the affects on the ongoing climate changes, and their impact the world we live.