Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Melting Glaciers Flood Pastures

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Melting Glaciers Flood Pastures

Article excerpt

The Earth is warming, and glaciers are shrinking. But not all meltwater causes sea-level rise. In Tibet, as measurements taken by an international team of re-searchers reveal, much of the meltwater remains on land. The consequences aren't good, however: Lakes without an outlet can overflow, flooding valuable pastureland.

Glaciers are important indicators of climate change. Global warming causes mountain glaciers to melt, which, apart from the shrinking of the Greenlandic and Antarctic ice sheets, is regarded as one of the main causes of the present global sea-level rise. Tibet's glaciers are also losing mass clearly, as scientists from the universities of Zurich, Tubingen, and Dresden reveal using satellite-based laser measurements. Over the last decade, the research team has detected a "clear loss in mass of around 16 gigatons a year in around 80% of the Tibetan glaciers," says Tobias Bolch, a glaciologist from the University of Zurich--that's more than four times the volume of water in Lake Zurich and around 6% of the total loss in mass of all the glaciers on Earth. …

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