Leonardo DiCaprio posted an environmental warning about the Himalayas on Instagram. In his post, he references a Guardian article by Patrick Barkham that reports on grass growing around Mount Everest.
In his post, DiCaprio shared in the caption, ” Shrubs and grasses are springing up around Mount Everest and across the Himalayas, one of the most rapidly heating regions of the planet. The impact on water supplies of the small but significant increase in vegetation is unknown but could increase flooding in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region, which supplies 1.4 billion people with water. The melting of Himalayan glaciers has doubled since the turn of the century and research has suggested that its ecosystems are highly vulnerable to climate-induced shifts in vegetation. Studies of increased vegetation in the Arctic found that they delivered a warming effect in the surrounding landscape, with the plants absorbing more light and warming the soil. But Dr Karen Anderson from the Environment and Sustainability Institute says more vegetation might not increase warming and flooding. A previous study in the Tibet region found that the water in the plants, that is evaporated through their leaf surface, became a cooling influence. (Via The @Guardian)”
Research on the area has found that vegetation has replaced glaciers at 6,000 meters above sea level. Dr. Karen Anderson told the Guardian of the changes, “That would be bad news for the Himalayas. The subnival zone is where seasonal snow is held and if it is warmer you will get flashy hydrology – quicker melt rates and an increased risk of flooding.” Originally, the area of the Himalayas being studied was too cold for plants to grow. That assumption is changing because of landscape and ecosystem changes that have brought plants. And those changes are because of climate change.
See DiCaprio’s post:
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