Coldest glacier ice in Khumbu region measured at just -3.3 degree Celsius

Published On: June 11, 2019 06:30 PM NPT By: RSS

KATHMANDU, June 11: The temperature of coldest glacier ice in Nepal has been measured at -3.3 degree Celsius and this finding challenge the existing belief that this might be up to -10 degree Celsius.

The latest study based on the Hot Water Drilling method has put the temperatures of ice of glaciers in Khumbu region at -1 to -3.3 degree Celsius. During the study conducted by the Himalayan Research Center in collaboration with the UK-based Leeds University, the coldest ice was measured was just -3.3°C, near to Everest Base Camp.

It is said this is warmer than we might expect for a glacier at this elevation. Information about this was shared at a programme here today. The complete two-year-study (spanning from April 2016 to April 2018) came up with the finding that most of the ice is warmer than the air temperature and this means that further warming will accelerate the glacier melt. A total 27 boreholes into the Khumbu Glacier were drilled to measure ice temperatures.

The finding is that boreholes at the lower sites (1 and 5) did not refreeze, revealing that ice is warm and already at the melting point. During the study it was found that 56% of the ablation area of Khumbu Glacier comprises warm ice, and even the coldest ice is only 3.3°C lower than the melting point.

According to researchers, there is evidence to suggest that the ice is warming, at a rate of around 0.5°C per decade. Besides, floods and droughts are likely to become more common, and glacial lake growth (and hazard) will increase in coming decades.

According to Center's chair Dr Dhananjay Regmi, this was the ever-first measurement of ice temperatures in the high mountainous region. This sort of research has so far been conducted in other sites in the world: Antarctica and Arctic region. The study was said to be costlier as measurement instruments worth of Rs 300 million were used in it and they all were transported to the research site via helicopters and 30 scientists (20 from abroad and 10 from Nepal) had their active participation in the extensive research. Besides, other many groups contributed to the research project.

Duncan Quincey of Leeds University confirmed the coldest ice in the depth of 192 meters was measured at just -3.3 degree Celsius. As the Centre said it has been involved in the research along the Himalayan region since the past two decades. Dr Regmi said the findings came as a warning that glaciers may start melting at any time, may be before the expected time.

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