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Showing posts from January, 2011

Glacier melting in the Himalaya

Glacier melting in the Himalayas is currently occurring at rates as high as 50 feet per year. As a result, the icy base camp where Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay started their ascent of Mount Everest in 1953 is covered in mud. It would take an extra two hours today for climbers to reach the glacier where the first ascent of Mount Everest began 53 years ago.

As a result of global warming, Nepal’s annual average temperature has risen by about one degree Fahrenheit. But the temperature in the Himalayas is increasing twice as fast,causing rapid glacial melting. Sagarmatha National Park, where Everest is located, is an area of exceptional natural beauty with dramatic mountains, glaciers, and deep valleys.

But climate change seriously threatens the park’s ecosystems. Glacial melting will eventually leave Sagarmatha National Park snowless, and will destroy the habitats of the endangered species in the park, such as the snow leopard and the lesser panda. …

How has Mount Everest tourism affected Nepal?

Everest and the EnvironmentThe Mount Everest rush started after Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay made it to the top in 1953. Before that, Khumbu's environmental state was far healthier. But with thousands of pairs of feet pounding its footpaths for decades, many believe that Sagarmatha needs a rest.Global climate change alone has affected Everest's geography, as some of its glaciers have retreated as much as three miles (4.8 km) in the past 20 years [source: McDougall]. If the glaciers continue to recede, it could endanger the local Sherpas who have already experienced flooding from the melting ice. For more detailed information about this, read Is global warming destroying Mount Everest?.
Barry C. Bishop/Getty Images
Discarded oxygen tanks litter the slopes of Mount Everest. Human activity is the source for the most visible damage being done to the area. Although Khumbu is protected as the Sagarmatha National Park, challenges remain for curbing waste left behind on the tr…