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Source: The post is based on the article “Scientists solve the curious case of Himalayan glaciers resisting global warming” published in PIB on 18th July 2022.
What is the News?
Researchers have made great progress in finding out why a few areas of glaciers in the Karakoram Range are defying the global trend of glaciers losing mass and resisting glacial melt caused by climate change.
Himalayan glaciers are of utmost importance, particularly for the millions of people who live downstream and depend on these perennial rivers for their daily water demands.
However, under the effects of global warming, they are rapidly disappearing and in the ensuing decades, suffocating demand on the water supplies is unavoidable.
On the other hand, the glaciers in central Karakoram have surprisingly remained the same or even slightly risen during the past few decades.
This behaviour seems to be confined to a very small region with only the Kunlun ranges being another example of showing similar trends in the whole Himalayas.
How have glaciers in the Karakoram range remained the same?
Researchers have claimed that the recent revival of western disturbance has been instrumental in triggering and sustaining ‘Karakoram Anomaly’.
The study has found that Western Disturbances are the primary feeder of snowfall for the Karakoram region during winters.
For instance, WDs constitute about around 65% of the total seasonal snowfall volume and about 53% of the total seasonal precipitation, easily making them the most important source of moisture.
Moreover, the precipitation intensity of WDs impacting Karakoram has increased by around 10% in the last two decades which only enhances their role in sustaining the regional anomaly.
What is the significance of this study?
Previous studies have highlighted the role of temperature in establishing and sustaining the anomaly over the years. This is for the first time that the impact of precipitation in feeding the anomaly has been highlighted.