Observations of winter ablation on glaciers in the Mount Everest region in 2020–2021
journal contributionposted on 2021-07-15, 10:54 authored by Mauri Pelto, Prajjwal Panday, Tom Matthews, Jon Maurer, L Baker Perry
Recent observations of rising snow lines and reduced snow-covered areas on glaciers during the October 2020–January 2021 period in the Nepal–China region of Mount Everest in Landsat and Sentinel imagery highlight observations that significant ablation has occurred in recent years on many Himalayan glaciers in the post-monsoon and early winter periods. For the first time, we now have weather stations providing real-time data in the Mount Everest region that may sufficiently transect the post-monsoon snow line elevation region. These sensors have been placed by the Rolex National Geographic Perpetual Planet expedition. Combining in situ weather records and remote sensing data provides a unique opportunity to examine the impact of the warm and dry conditions during the 2020 post-monsoon period through to the 2020/2021 winter on glaciers in the Mount Everest region. The ablation season extended through January 2021. Winter (DJF) ERA5 reanalysis temperature reconstructions for Everest Base Camp (5315 m) for the 1950–February 2021 period indicate that six days in the January 10–15 period in 2021 fell in the top 1% of all winter days since 1950, with January 13, January 14, and January 12, being the first, second, and third warmest winter days in the 72-year period. This has also led to the highest freezing levels in winter for the 1950–2021 period, with the January 12–14 period being the only period in winter with a freezing level above 6000 m.
- Social Sciences and Humanities
- Geography and Environment