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Karakoram Glaciers Defy Trends, Actually Grow In Size
The scientists who conducted the study used satellite imagery collected from 1999 through 2008 to compare the land surface elevation over that period of time. Their observations indicate that the mass of the glaciers in the Karakoram continues to grow, even as others in the nearby Himalaya Mountains and around the world are actually in retreat.
Critics of the study are quick to point out that this method of research hasn't proven to be reliable just yet. There are a number of factors that can interfere with the imagery including cloud cover and the amount of snow on the ground. They say that the only way to be sure that the glaciers are growing is to visit them in person and take measurements by hand. That isn't easy in a place like the Karakoram, which is amongst the most remote and unexplored regions on the planet.
Located along the borders of China, India and Pakistan, the Karakoram runs about 310 miles in length and features some of the tallest mountains on the planet, including the infamous K2, which is second only to Everest in height. The high concentration of peaks in a relatively small area has made the mountain range nearly impassable at points and has hindered exploration over the years. That rugged terrain would make it very challenging to get an accurate measure of the glaciers there, which is necessary in order to verify the findings in this study.
[Photo credit: Guilhem Vellut via WikiMedia Common]