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News about glacier melting is largely dire. However, a new scientific report released on Thursday February 9th, finally has a glimmer of something positive. It states that while the glaciers on the Himalayan Mountains are melting, they are doing so, at a much slower pace than had been previously believed.
The bearer of good news was John Wahr, a researcher at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He and his team conducted their study of the giant range of mountains using measurements for the changes to ice mass for all glaciers greater than 100 square kilometers. The data recorded by NASA satellite, Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment or GRACE spanned from 2003-2010 and covered even the most remote ice packs.
What they discovered was that the amount of annual glacier loss on the Himalayan and Karakoram ranges was not as dire as had been calculated by prior researchers - In fact, it was substantially less - About 4 billion tons annually, as opposed to the current perception of 50 billion tons.
Why the large disparity? John Wahr believes it may be due to the fact that the past projections were based on a few hundred glaciers that can be observed from the ground. However, the data from GRACE is the compilation of more than 200,000 glaciers or Earth's entire ice cap.
The good news is that the Himalayan range will not be barren by 2035 as has been predicted by the pessimists. The bad news though is that glaciers from the Antarctica and Greenland are melting at a rapid pace and pose a big danger to sea levels in the near future. Given that the first 11 years of 2000 rank among the warmest 13 in the last 135 years, this is not surprising. Global warming is definitely an issue we have to contend with soon but, it is nice to some encouraging news.