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Climate Change Is Melting Everest

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From the Alps to the Andes, ice at high elevations is disappearing rapidly. On Everest, the effects of a warming planet are likely to manifest in two ways that affect climbers. First, the Khumbu Glacier will shrink, and parts of it could possibly become impassable for climbers. Someday, even Base Camp may have to be moved from its current location on the glacier to another spot nearby.

Second, the Khumbu Icefall between Base Camp and Camp I may see a higher frequency of rock and ice avalanches—like the one that killed 16 Sherpas in 2014. The Icefall naturally migrates downhill between three and four feet per day, but that could accelerate as temperatures rise. Earth’s average surface temperature has gone up by more than 1.5 degrees since the late 1800s, and two-thirds of that warming has taken place since 1975

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that if you increase the temperature where ice is normally frozen to the bedrock, the hold is going to be weakened and become increasingly unstable and the ice is more likely to detach from the bedrock,” says Duncan Quincey, professor of geomorphology at the University of Leeds, in the UK. He is supervising the research of Owen King and Scott Watson, the Ph.D. students who will spend a few weeks on the glacier this spring. “In places like the Icefall we’ve seen these tragic accidents, and I think it’s fair to say it’s symptomatic of high-elevation warming.”

Is it time to panic yet?

Let's just say I wouldn't want to be downhill or downriver.

It's tough enough living in Florida. 

You said it, brother!  Zika virus, alligator-eating pythons, Florida Man ...

I'm not sure which is worst. 

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