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Nepal glaciers shrink by quarter in 30 yrs.: scientist

KATMANDU--Climate change has caused Nepal's Himalayan glaciers to shrink by nearly a quarter in just over 30 years, raising the risk of natural disasters in the ecologically fragile region, a scientist said Friday.

A new study by the Katmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) shows that the area covered by glaciers has decreased by 24 percent between 1977 and 2010.

Samjwal Ratna Bajracharya, lead author of the report, told AFP, “the shrinking of glaciers in Nepal is definitely connected to climate change, glacial melt is a huge indicator of rising temperatures.”

The Norway-funded research project led by ICIMOD took three years to complete, as scientists mapped satellite imagery from several decades to see the extent of ice loss in the region.

The fastest decline occurred between 1980 and 1990, Bajracharya said, adding that prior to the late 1970s, satellite imagery reflected little change in Nepal's glacial area.

He said the glacial melting is creating huge, expanding lakes that threaten to burst and devastate mountain communities living downstream.

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