• Saturday, June 25, 2022

ASIA

Nepal mulls shifting Everest base camp due to melting glacier

A May 3, 2021 photograph showing expedition tents at Everest Base Camp in the Mount Everest region of Solukhumbu district of Nepal. (Photo by PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP via Getty Images)

By: PTI

THE Nepal government is contemplating shifting the base camp of Mount Everest as global warming and human activity are making the current location unsafe, a senior official said here on Friday.

The current base camp, situated at an altitude of 5,364-metre on the Khumbu glacier where over 1,500 people gather every climbing season, is becoming unsafe due to the rapidly thinning glacier owing to the impact of global warming, Nepal’s tourism department director Surya Prasad Upadhyaya said.        During an informal meeting of the department, officials have discussed shifting the base camp of Mt Everest — the world’s highest peak — from the present location, he said.

However, no decision to this effect has been taken so far and the new location has also not been identified, he said.   The matter just came up during an informal discussion during a meeting of the department and it has not yet been decided, Upadhyaya added.      Several researches conducted from time to time have warned that the glaciers close to the Everest summit are thinning at an alarming rate.      Glaciers in the Himalayas make a significant contribution to water resources for millions of people in South Asia.

In February, researchers in Nepal warned that the highest glacier on the top of Mount Everest could disappear by the middle of this century as the 2,000-year-old ice cap on the world’s tallest mountain is thinning at an alarming rate.

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) here had said that Everest has been losing ice significantly since the late 1990s, citing a latest research report.

The Everest Expedition, the single most comprehensive Scientific Expedition to Everest, conducted trailblazing research on glaciers and the alpine environment, the ICIMOD said. A recent article published in the Nature Portfolio journal reported that the ice on Everest has been thinning at an alarming rate.

It has been estimated that the ice in the South Cole glacier located at an elevation of 8,020 metres is thinning at a rate of nearly two-mitre per year, the report said.

In December 2002, China and Nepal announced that the world’s highest peak is now taller by 86 centimetres after they remeasured Mt Everest at 8,848.86 metres, over six decades after India conducted the previous measurement in 1954.

The revised height of Mt Everest put an end to the decades-long dispute between the two neighbours on the height of the world’s tallest mountain that straddles their shared border.    The exact height of Mt Everest had been contested ever since a group of British surveyors in India declared the height of Peak XV, as it was initially called, to be 8,778 metres in 1847.

Mt Everest stands on the border between China and Nepal and mountaineers climb it from both the sides.

Mt Everest is known as Sagarmatha in Nepal while in China it is called Mt Qomolangma, the Tibetan name for the world’s highest peak.

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