Friday, December 24, 2010

Global warming cause of glacial melting and glacial floods

People in the Himalayas and other mountain areas must prepare for a tough and unpredictable future due to the rapid melting of glaciers caused by climate change, according to a new UN report.

Glaciers in Patagonia and in Alaska have been losing mass faster and for longer than glaciers in other parts of the world, according to the new report compiled by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in partnership with scientists world-wide including at the Norwegian Polar Institute and Norut Alta.

The third fastest rate of loss is among glaciers in the North West United States and South West Canada followed by ones in the high mountains of Asia including the Hindu Kush of the Himalayas, the Arctic and the Andes.

Overall Europe’s glaciers have been putting on mass since the mid-1970s but this trend switched in around the year 2000.

Glacier cumulative mass balance. Most mountain glaciers are losing mass, and the overall rate of mass loss has increased in the last decade. For the last decade the highest mass loss per unit area has been observed in the European Alps, Patagonia, Alaska, and north-western USA/south-western Canada.

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