The Vertical Nepal team has managed to collect a snow sample from the summit of Ama Dablam.
THINNING MOUNTAIN GLACIERS Dr. Natalie Kehrwald, University of Venice:
"Glaciers around the world are retreating. The majority of this retreat occurs at the toes, the lowest elevations, of glaciers, where the glaciers then tend to melt upslope. However, my research shows that glaciers are also thinning, or losing mass from their upper surfaces, at elevations as high as 6000 meters above sea level. Such documented thinning occurs on Naimona’nyi in the central Himalaya and also on Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, but the geographic extent of this thinning is unknown. I am trying to collect as many high elevation snow and ice samples as possible to determine where else this thinning may occur.
Glaciers are valuable reservoirs of freshwater. It is difficult to determine the volume of stored freshwater in glaciers using satellite techniques and it is essential to have “boots on the ground” samples in order to determine where and if glaciers are thinning. If the volume of water changes, people cannot plan ahead for determining the amount of freshwater for future agriculture, etc. For example, Naimona’nyi is the headwaters of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Ganges rivers that supply fresh water to half a billion people.
I am able to test if glaciers are thinning by examining concentrations of specific isotopes in the snow and ice. It is necessary to have a vertical profile either through a snow pit or by getting ice samples from a crevasse. This profile lets me see who the concentrations change through time (depth). "