Karakoram glaciers buck global trend by getting thicker

A glacier in Karakoram. Photo / Thinkstock
A glacier in Karakoram. Photo / Thinkstock

As glaciers around the world recede - some in Asia are bucking the trend and getting thicker.

A team of French scientists has used satellite images of glaciers in the Karakoram Range, west of the Himalayas, to show several glaciers are gaining mass, BBC News reports.

The scientists, from the National Centre for Scientific Research and the University of Grenoble, compared two models of land surface deviation, one from 1999 and another from 2008.

While glaciers around the world are melting, including those in the nearby Himalayas, the glaciers in the 5615 sq km Karakoram region have increased marginally, although some glaciers had much larger gains than others.

Lead researcher Julie Gardelle told BBC News acquiring elevation models was not as easy as it sounds, with clear skies and reduced snow cover required.

Ms Gardelle was not sure of the reason for the gains, although it is known in other parts of the world climate change can create extra precipitation, which in cold conditions can get added to the mass of ice.

"Right now we believe that it could be due to a very specific regional climate over Karakoram because there have been meteorological measurements showing increased winter precipitation; but that's just a guess at this stage," she told BBC News.

- HERALD ONLINE

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 23 Nov 2014 19:10:58 Processing Time: 475ms