My Bookmarks on Science & Technology, Climate Change, Astrobiology, Genetics, Evolution

July 18, 2010 – Original Source: Telegraph, UK

Glaciers on Mount Everest are shrinking, according to startling new photographs.

The 1921 photograph taken by George Mallory of the Rongbuk Glacier and the northern slope of Mount Everest in the distance, Tibet Autonomous Region Photo: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The two pictures show an “alarming” retreat in ice over more than 80 years.

The first was taken in 1921 by British mountaineer George Mallory, who later died trying to conquer Everest.

The Asia Society commissioned the same picture to be taken of the main Rongbuk glacier on the northern slope of Mount Everest in Tibet in 2007.

The new picture by mountaineer David Breashears show that the glacier is shrunk and withered.

A spokesman for the Asia Society said the picture was proof the ice is melting because of climate change, threatening water sources in highly populated areas of India and China.

“The photographs reveal a startling truth: the ice of the Himalaya is disappearing,” he said. “They reveal an alarming loss in ice mass.”

Mr Breashears retraced the steps of the 1921 British Mount Everest Reconnaissance Expedition Team, using photos taken then by surveyor and photographer Maj Edward Wheeler and amateur photographer George Mallory, who later died attempting to reach the Everest summit in 1924.

The series of photos, on display at an exhibition in New York, show how changes in temperature could be affecting the wider environment.

The issue of melting glaciers in the Himalaya is controversial following ‘glaciergate’. The United Nations science body the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was forced to apologise after mistakenly claiming the Himalayan glaciers could all disappear by 2035.

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