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Deciphering the Karakoram Anomaly



  Feb 15, 2024

Karakoram Anomaly



1. What is the Karakoram Anomaly?

The Karakoram Anomaly refers to the phenomenon where glaciers in the central Karakoram region of the Himalayas are either stable or advancing, in contrast to the widespread glacial retreat observed globally due to global warming.

2. Why are the Karakoram glaciers not melting like others?

Recent research attributes this anomaly to the revival of western disturbances (WDs), which have increased precipitation, particularly snowfall, in the region. This enhanced precipitation during the accumulation period is crucial for sustaining the glaciers.

3. How important are Himalayan glaciers?

Himalayan glaciers are vitally important as they provide water resources for millions of people living downstream. These glaciers feed perennial rivers that are essential for irrigation, drinking water, and hydroelectricity in the region.

4. What role do western disturbances play in this anomaly?

Western disturbances are weather patterns originating from the Mediterranean region that bring significant winter precipitation to the Himalayas. They are the primary source of snowfall for the region during winters, significantly impacting the seasonal snowfall volume and total seasonal precipitation.

5. How has the precipitation pattern changed due to WDs?

The study found that the precipitation intensity of WDs impacting the Karakoram has increased by around 10% in the last two decades. This increase in precipitation, especially snowfall from WDs, has been a major factor in sustaining the Karakoram Anomaly.

6. What does this anomaly mean for the future of Himalayan glaciers?

While the Karakoram Anomaly offers a glimmer of hope, it is localized to a specific region. The future of Himalayan glaciers, including those in the Karakoram, will depend on the broader impacts of global warming and the behavior of western disturbances. Understanding and monitoring these patterns is essential for predicting future changes and managing water resources.

7. Can the Karakoram Anomaly help in fighting global warming?

The Karakoram Anomaly itself does not mitigate global warming but provides valuable insights into how certain climatic and geographic factors can influence glacier dynamics. Studying these exceptions can help scientists develop more accurate models for predicting glacier and climate change globally.

SRIRAM’s


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