Today’s BBC News reports on an important development in Nepal, one which should be a warning to us all (Nepal drains dangerous Everest lake).
Nepal’s army has just completed lowering Lake Imja by 10 ft. This is because it was in danger of flooding downstream settlements with over 50,000 people.
Lake Imja, near Mount Everest (Sagarmatha) at 16,400 ft altitude, is one of thousands of such glacial lakes in the Himalayas. Many of the lakes are filling fast because of accelerated melting of glaciers due to rising temperatures.
The Himalaya region has been described as the third pole of the earth. It is melting, just as the Arctic and Antarctic are.
Lake Imja is a good example of that melting. It is a new lake, composed of glacial meltwater blocked by a terminal moraine. In 1962, it was 7.5 acres, and is now over 260.
I can only guess at the enormous cost of the six-month project, not just in dollars, but in terms of using up limited Nepali resources. It has been necessary to save lives, but sherpas in the region say there are many more lakes that endanger communities.