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Himalayan glaciers may be melting even in the winters, says a new study

In late winter 2020, glaciologist Sudip Thakuri visited Kalinchowk, a peak in the Himalayas around 144 km west of Kathmandu. He was surprised by what he saw. The destination, popular among Kathmandu residents seeking a sight of snow-covered mountains, was not as thickly blanketed in white as in previous years.

Later that winter he visited Nepal’s Makalu-Barun region, located southwest of the Everest area. Thakuri, who is dean of the faculty of science and technology at Mid-West University in Nepal, noticed a similar lack of snow.

According to recent observations published in the journal Remote Sensing, the first, second and third-warmest winter days in 72 years in Nepal’s Everest region were recorded in the winter of 2020-’21.

“We find that the January 10 to January 15 period fell in the top 1% of all winter days since 1950 and this appears exceptional when viewed in a multi-decadal context,” said Prajjwal Panday, one of the members of the research team.

The researchers used historical observations and data modelling (known as ‘reanalysis’) to estimate winter temperatures in the region between 1950 and 2018, and real-time data for the years after 2019, when weather stations were installed.

What is reanalysis?

Unusually warm winter

On January 12, the maximum daily temperature recorded at Everest Base Camp was 4.9 degrees Celsius….

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