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Receding glaciers in the Himalayas and other parts of the world likely will have an impact on the fresh water available from these sources, and also on their historic role as a natural barrier between land areas, according to geologist Jeff Kargel. Kargel is international coordinator of the Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) project, which involves scientific collaborators in 23 countries analyzing and comparing NASA satellite imagery with other glaciological records.

“Glaciers in most areas of the world are known to be receding,” said Kargel, adding that accelerating average global termperatures could directly impact glacial retreat. “But glaciers in the Himalaya are wasting at alarming and accelerating rates, as indicated by comparisons of satellite and historic data, and as shown by widespread, rapid growth of lakes on the glacier surfaces.”