lørdag 11. januar 2020

More plants are growing around Everest -- and the consequences could be serious

Grasses, shrubs and mosses are growing and expanding around Mount Everest and across the Himalayan region as the area continues to experience the consequences of global warming, researchers have found. Scientists from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom used satellite data to establish increases in subnival vegetation -- plants that grow between the tree line and the snow line -- in the Himalayas.

Using NASA Landsat satellite data from 1993 to 2018, remote sensing scientists measured "small but significant" increases in vegetation cover across four height brackets between 4,150 and 6,000 meters (13,615-19,685 feet) above sea level.Researchers warn that "urgent research" is needed to understand the consequences of the increase in vegetation. "There are now more areas that are covered in plants than there were in 1993," Karen Anderson, a remote sensing scientist who led the research, told CNN.

Around Mount Everest, there was a significant increase in vegetation across all height brackets, the research team found. While it is still too early to tell what impact this new growth could have on the region, "urgent research" on the potential effects is needed, Anderson told CNN. "We don't know what the impact is -- it may be that plants trap snow and might cause it to melt more slowly. It might be that the plants cause the snow to melt more quickly," she added.