Global warming is the rise of the average temperature of the Earth’s climate system. It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid of last century. The largest human influence has been emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. Climate model projections indicate that during the 21st century the global surface temperatures is likely to rise a further 1,7 ºC for their lowest emissions scenario and up to 4,8ºC for the highest emissions scenario. The scientific community anticipates dramatic consequences, with impacts differing from region to region but to include:

  • More frequent and severe weather (, storms, heat waves, wild fires, droughts, heavy rainfall, floods, heavy snowfall)
  • Higher death rates (especially children, the eldery and low income communities)
  • Dirtier air
  • Rising of sea level
  • Changing precipitation
  • Expansion of deserts in the subtropics
  • Retreat of glaciers, permafrost and sea ice
  • Ocean acidification
  • Higher wildlife extinction rates

Sixteen of the 17 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000. The probability that these changes could have occurred by chance is virtually zero. The rate of temperature rise in the ocean is accelerating at unprecedented levels and Humanity has been the problem. The thermal inertia of the oceans mean that climate can take centuries or even thousands of years to adjust to changes. There is no doubt- climate change promise a frightening future, and after a century worth of pollution into the air it is too late to turn back the clock. The good news is that by aggressively reducing our global emissions we can still avoid a lot of the severe consequences that climate change would otherwise bring.

Recently scientists have warned that bacteria and viruses that have lain dormant for thousands of years are at risk of being exposed as a result of global warming. Climate change is melting permafrost that has been frozen for centuries and this could have a serious impact on ancient viruses preserved within. Frozen permafrost soil is a good place for bacteria to remain alive for long periods of time. Pathogenic bacteria and viruses- some of which have caused global epidemics in the past- could be exposed in a dangerous move that can spell disaster.

Mirpuri Foundation as part of its efforts and initiatives to increase the public awareness for the Global Warming saga, organized in April 2017 an expedition to the glaciers in the Himalayas and Everest in particular.

Press here for the full report on the 2017 Mirpuri Foundation Everest Expedition. The expedition, lead by Paulo Mirpuri, Mirpuri Foundation Founder and President, progressed thru the Khumbu Valley up hill thru the highest mountains, peaks and glaciers on Earth up to the Khumbu Ice fall at close to 6.000 meters in Everest. Based on observation and  reports from Mountaineers and from the Sherpas that live in the region for centuries it was confirmed  strong evidence of glaciers retraction and melting as well as significant climate changes over the last 20 years. The Abbot of Tengboche Monastery tells of the Sherpas coming from Eastern Tibet at a time when “the glaciers were much bigger, and Khumbu was covered with snow”. Hence, their first settlements were down near Lukla. As the snow and ice gradually melted, people gradually founded villages at Khumjung and Pangboche.

It is now well known by the scientists that Antarctica has been losing about 134 billion metric tons of ice per year since 2002. However it is less known what is happening in other Glaciers and this Mirpuri Foundation Everest Expedition was very important to evidence that the problem is not limited to certain zones of the globe but it is indeed a systemic problem that needs urgent attention. During the expedition we found a small observation  center near Namche Bazar with photos from the Ama Dablam, Imja Valley and Cholo Tsho taken from the slopes above Dingboche in 1955 and 2007 where it is evident the dramatic loss of ice. Another photo of the Everest massif showed change in the snow and ice at higher altitudes as well as increase in the number of crevasses which is maybe linked to climate changes. Of great concern is the new Glacial Lake Formation- small melt-water ponds within the Imja glacier that Fritz Muller photographed in 1956 began to merge and form a lake in the mid 1970’s. By 2006, the lake was 1 sq km in size with an average depth of 42 meters, and contained more than 35 million cubic meters of water. The Imja Glacier is retreating at a rate of 74 meters per years. During the past six years, 24 new lakes have appeared within the Dudh Kosi basin, 12 of which are thought to be potentially dangerous. Because of the unconsolidated nature of the lake’s terminal moraine dam, the risk of a glacial lake outburst flood is very high.

Mirpuri Foundation has been very active not only in increasing the public awareness about Global Warming and Climate Change but also promoting initiatives that could contribute to stop it.

Reducing your own carbon footprint is a good start- conserve energy as part of your daily routing and decisions as a consumer- buy the most energy efficient refrigerators, washers and dryers. When you buy a car, look for one with the highest gas mileage and lowest emissions. Voice your support for climate friendly policies with transiting from dirty fossil fuels to clean power as a top priority.

At the Paris climate summit in 2015, lobbied also by the Mirpuri Foundation, 195 countries signed a historic agreement to reduce their carbon emissions, with the goal of limiting future warming. It was a big step in the right direction but it is important to remember the equally vital contributions that can be made by individual citizens.