This Jan. 3 1976 photo made by the National Reconnaissance Office shows Mount Everest at center. This and other once-classified Cold War era spy satellite images are showing scientists that glaciers on the Himalayas are now melting about twice as fast as they used to. (National Reconnaissance Office via AP)

Big melt up high: Himalayan glaciers ice loss doubling

June 19, 2019 - 2:02 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — Cold War-era spy satellite images are showing scientists that glaciers on the Himalayas are now melting about twice as fast as they used to.

The Asian mountain range, which includes Mount Everest, has been losing ice at a rate of about 1% a year since 2000, according to a study Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.

Using 3D satellite images, researchers calculate that the Himalayas have been losing about 8.3 billion tons (7.5 billion metric tons) of ice a year, compared 4.3 billion tons (3.9 billion metric tons) a year between 1975 and 2000.

The loss of the ice means current and future disruptions of water supplies for the hundreds of millions of people in the region who rely on it for hydropower, agriculture, and drinking.

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