Climate change is causing the highest glacier on Mount Everest to melt at a rapid pace, a new study has found. Researchers led by the University of Maine found that the South Col Glacier has lost more than 180ft (54m) of thickness in the last 25 years. The glacier, which sits around 7,906m (25,938 ft) above sea-level, is thinning 80 times faster than it first took the ice to form on the surface.
The rate of decline has been blamed on warming temperatures and strong winds. Scientists leading the study found that since the 1990s, ice that took around 2,000 years to form has melted away. They also noted that the glacier's thick snowpack has been eroded, exposing the underlying black ice to the sun and accelerating the melting process. Dr Mariusz Potocki, one of the study's lead researchers, said that the findings suggested "that the South Col Glacier may be on the way out - it may already be a 'relic' from an older, colder, time".