UCLA scientists refute existing view of widespread melting of Himalayan glaciers. According to them, the researchers did not account for the previously significant differences in the nature of glaciers, which are melting due to uneven, and in some cases non-existent. The key to understanding the differences — clastic rocks — stone "garbage", covering some glaciers.
Study of the behavior of glaciers is of great practical importance, since the melting of Himalayan glaciers affect water supply for millions of people living in South and Central Asia.
According to experts, the key role played by the melting of glaciers global warming. Bukhagen Bodo (Bodo Bookhagen), Associate Professor of Geography, University of California, said based on this technique insufficient.
"With the new remote sensing and satellite imagery analysis, we found that a layer of rock debris covering glaciers in some areas — an important factor influencing their behavior — said Bodo Bukhagen. — This well-known factor is almost completely ignored previous researchers Himalayas." Bodo Bukhagen study his group opposes the IPCC report (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), in which the Himalayan glaciers are considered as a whole.
"There is a typical Himalayan glacier — says Bukhagen. — This is in contrast to our study the IPCC position." According to him, part of the glacier is covered with clastic rocks, and the "lid" has a thickness of 1.5 cm prevents the ice from melting. Such coverage is typical of glaciers located near the high mountains, from which small stones and roll down to the glacier.
The authors found that half of the studied glaciers in the Karakoram region are stable or even increasing. In the Western, Central and Eastern Himalayas they did back at up to 8 meters per year (in the Western Himalayas).
Thus, the glaciers in the Himalayas affect not only the air temperature and precipitation, but also a layer of stone "garbage." Therefore, glaciers do not give the same even predictable reactions to changes in the external environment.
A key finding of the study is that the Western Himalayas, including the Indus catchment and regions in northern Pakistan and northwestern India, depend on the number of drop-down for the season of snow and meltwater. At the same time, the Central Himalayas — Western India and Nepal, where there is little snow fields and many mountain glaciers, more dependent on the monsoon rains. The water level in the rivers is crucial for the maintenance of agriculture, hydropower, drinking water. If the monsoon is weak, the central part of Nepal will have to use only the water coming from the seasonal melting of glaciers and the small amount of meltwater.
"The retreat of the glaciers, and therefore, the reduction of seasonal water storage in the region, has a big impact on the lives of millions of people in the lower section of the river, — commented Bukhagen. — In developing a strategy for the Himalayas to consider climatic and topographic differences. No solution for the whole region, there may be only different local strategies for future water shortages. Given the mountainous geography of Asia, you should carefully evaluate the political difficulties that will accompany the conclusion of future agreements on the supply of water. "