Friday, February 26, 2021
Home Environment NASA Satellite Reveals More Plants are Growing Around Everest

NASA Satellite Reveals More Plants are Growing Around Everest

According to the researchers, snow falls and melts here seasonally, and they don't know what impact changing subnival vegetation will have on this aspect of the water cycle - which is vital because this region (known as 'Asia's water towers') feeds the ten largest rivers in Asia

Researchers have found that plant life is growing and expanding around Mount Everest and across the Himalayan region as the area continues to experience the consequences of global warming.

According to the study, published in the journal Global Change Biology, the research team from University of Exeter in UK, used satellite data to measure the extent of subnival vegetation – plants growing between the treeline and snowline – in this vast area.

Little is known about these remote, hard-to-reach ecosystems, made up of short-stature plants (predominantly grasses and shrubs) and seasonal snow, but the study revealed they cover between five and 15 times the area of permanent glaciers and snow.

Using data from 1993 to 2018 from NASA’s Landsat satellites, researchers measured small but significant increases in subnival vegetation cover across four height brackets from 4,150-6,000 metres above sea level.

“These large-scale studies using decades of satellite data are computationally intensive because the file sizes are huge. We can now do this relatively easily on the cloud by using Google Earth Engine, a new and powerful tool freely available to anyone, anywhere,” said study researcher Dominic Fawcett, who coded the image processing.

The Hindu Kush Himalayan region extends across all or part of eight countries, from Afghanistan in the west to Myanmar in the east. More than 1.4 billion people depend on water from catchments emanating here.

According to the study, results varied at different heights and locations, with the strongest trend in increased vegetation cover in the bracket 5,000-5,500m.

Also Read: 70 Lakh Women Screened for Breast Cancer Under Ayushman Bharat: Smriti Irani

Around Mount Everest, the team found a significant increase in vegetation in all four height brackets. Conditions at the top of this height range have generally been considered to be close to the limit of where plants can grow.

Though the study doesn’t examine the causes of the change, the findings are consistent with modelling that shows a decline in “temperature-limited areas” (where temperatures are too low for plants to grow) across the Himalayan region due to global warming.

Other research has suggested Himalayan ecosystems are highly vulnerable to climate-induced vegetation shifts.

“A lot of research has been done on ice melting in the Himalayan region, including a study that showed how the rate of ice loss doubled between 2000 and 2016,” said researcher Karen Anderson.

“It’s important to monitor and understand ice loss in major mountain systems, but subnival ecosystems cover a much larger area than permanent snow and ice and we know very little about them and how they moderate water supply,” Anderson added.

According to the researchers, snow falls and melts here seasonally, and they don’t know what impact changing subnival vegetation will have on this aspect of the water cycle – which is vital because this region (known as ‘Asia’s water towers’) feeds the ten largest rivers in Asia.

Researcher Anderson said “some really detailed fieldwork” and further validation of these findings is now required to understand how plants in this high-altitude zone interact with soil and snow. (IANS)

STAY CONNECTED

19,120FansLike
362FollowersFollow
1,773FollowersFollow

Most Popular

68 Percent Women Feel Insecured Due To Rejections Based On Beauty

According to a recent survey, nine out of ten women in India feel they are judged and rejected based on their looks during the...

Five Things To Be Mindful Of Before Buying A House In 2021

Owning a home is something all of us have dreamt of at some point in time in our lives. At the very outset, the...

An Agreement To Boost Online Jewellery Retail

To provide impetus to Indian gem and jewelry sellers on the global e-marketplace and explore potential business collaborations for sectoral growth, the Gem and...

Work on India’s First-Ever Cable-Styled Bridge Called “Anji” Goes on in Full Swing!

Work on India's first cable-styled bridge, also called the Anji bridge, is going on in full swing in Jammu and Kashmir's Raesi district, and...

Almost 10% of The Total Agricultural Produce Go To Waste in India, Says IARI Director

The Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), which helps to increase the production of agricultural produce in the country through its research, is now working...

Vaccination Centres Expect Manifold Rise in The Number of People To Take Their Jibe For Phase-3!

After the announcement of phase three vaccination which is set to begin from March 1 in the country, the vaccination centres are expecting a...

Report: WFH Is Causing Eye And Ear Problems Among Young Adults

Doctors in the Gurugram district say online classes and work from home due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is causing eye and ear problems...

Bollywood Adds Spice To Film Titles

Bollywood never misses a chance to sensationalize, to gran a few extra eyeballs. This year, makers seem to have hit the idea of quirky...

Recent Comments