Science mystery: Himalayan glaciers are growing despite global warming

Published: Monday, April 16 2012 6:18 p.m. MDT

In this July 19, 2011 file photograph, Indian army soldiers returning from border posts get a briefing at the Siachen Glacier base camp, in Indian Kashmir on the border with Pakistan.

Channi Anand, Associated Press

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A new study published Sunday in the scientific journal Nature Geoscience reveals that some glaciers in the Himalayan mountain system are actually gaining ice mass — a significant departure from the worldwide trend of accelerated melting rates for glaciers and ice caps that is generally attributed to global warming.

The International Business Times reported Monday, "New satellite images and data have proved that some glaciers on the Karakoram mountain range, a part of the Himalayas (that borders India, Pakistan and China), have gained ice mass. … Though baffled by this defying phenomenon of climate change observed on the Karakoram glaciers, scientists say that heavily debris-covered glaciers such as those on the Karakoram mountain range have lower retreat rates."

Reuters reporter Nina Chestney wrote Monday, "With global average temperature rising, glaciers, ice caps and ice sheets melt and shed water, which contributes to the increase of sea levels, threatening the populations of low-lying nations and islands. … The Himalayas hold the planet's largest body of ice outside the polar caps and feed many of the world's great rivers, including the Ganges and Brahmaputra, on which hundreds of millions of people depend."

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