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Mount Everest shrinking and both poles melting

Scientists are making the trek to the top of the world's tallest mountain. The 30-year affects of global warming are also going to be measured. The article below is from Channel News Asia.

BEIJING : China plans to send a scientific team to Mount Everest this year to remeasure the height of its peak and track the impact of global warming, state media said on Tuesday.

The team, jointly organised by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping (SBSM), will work on the world's highest mountain from March 20 to June 20, China Central Television reported.

It will be China's fourth such expedition following others in 1959, 1966 and 1975.

This time, the scientists will focus on the damage caused to the area by global warming over the past 30 years, CCTV said.

Mount Everest, which straddles the border of Nepal and Chinese-controlled Tibet, is believed to have shrunk by as much as 1.3 metres due to global warming and the melting of glaciers, it said.

The mountain's official height is currently 8,848 metres.

Chinese state media last year reported that a staggering seven percent of the country's glaciers are vanishing annually under the sweltering sun, including those covering Everest.

Leading glacier expert Yan Tandong said that as many as 64 percent of China's glaciers may be gone by 2050 if current trends continue. - AFP

The makeup of the world is a-changin', rather rapidly I might add. This is in contrasts to the numerous reports that claim climate change is gradual and deliberate. The changes that occur when the polar caps and glaciers melt are quite drastic. The world's ocean currents control the climate of most highly populated areas. When the freshwater from the caps flows into the oceans, this changes the currents. The affects of this can change Western Europe to an Arctic atmosphere.

I found another article that talks about the warm temperatures in typically cold environments, in Russia.

MOSCOW - As snow and ice melt away into puddles of dirty water months earlier than usual, Russians are asking what’s happened to their once-dreaded winter.

“Temperatures have been eight to nine degrees (Celsius) higher than normal,” said Roman Vilfant, head of Russia’s Gidromettsentr weather monitoring center.

The Izvestia daily reported that St Petersburg’s river Neva, normally locked under ice until spring, had broken its banks and reached the walls of the world-famous Hermitage art gallery.

March has appeared in mid-winter,” said the tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda, alongside a story about an ice sculpture exhibition being cancelled when the exhibits melted.

The ferocious conditions of a Russian winter suffered by invading armies under Napoleon and Hitler have made the country’s winters legendary and earned them the nickname “General Winter” among military historians.

But Vilfant said winters in Russia had grown milder in recent years, and no longer fit the old stereotype.

For the last 20 or 30 years winter in the Moscow region has been getting warmer. Compared to the 1900-1960 period, average temperatures have increased by three degrees C and more ... It is now closer to the idea of a European winter,” he said.

“It is hard to give a single explanation for this, although you can link it to global warming. However, summers have not been getting warmer, they are the same as they were in the middle of the last century.”

The same thing seems to be ocurring around the South Pole, where ices sheets are thinning at an alarming rate. Again, this is going to displace the climate status quo that has been in place for thousands of years.

Antarctica, Warming, Looks Ever More Vulnerable
Published: January 25, 2005

OVER THE ABBOTT ICE SHELF, Antarctica - From an airplane at 500 feet, all that is visible here is a vast white emptiness. Ahead, a chalky plain stretches as far as the eye can see, the monotony broken only by a few gentle rises and the wrinkles created when new sheets of ice form.

Under the surface of that ice, though, profound and potentially troubling changes are taking place, and at a quickened pace. With temperatures climbing in parts of Antarctica in recent years, melt water seems to be penetrating deeper and deeper into ice crevices, weakening immense and seemingly impregnable formations that have developed over thousands of years.

As a result, huge glaciers in this and other remote areas of Antarctica are thinning and ice shelves the size of American states are either disintegrating or retreating - all possible indications of global warming. Scientists from the British Antarctic Survey reported in December that in some parts of the Antarctic Peninsula hundreds of miles from here, large growths of grass are appearing in places that until recently were hidden under a frozen cloak.

"The evidence is piling up; everything fits," Dr. Robert Thomas, a glaciologist from NASA who is the lead author of a recent paper on accelerating sea-level rise, said as the Chilean Navy plane flew over the sea ice here on an unusually clear day late in November. "Around the Amundsen Sea, we have surveyed a half dozen glaciers. All are thinning, in some cases quite rapidly, and in each case, the ice shelf is also thinning." [...]

For most parts of Antarctica, reliable records go back less than 50 years, and data from satellites and overflights like the ones going on here have been collected over only the past decade or so. But that research, plus striking changes that are visible to the naked eye, all point toward the disturbance of climate patterns thought to have been in place for thousands of years.