Climate models haven’t been able to reproduce the phenomenon, which is keeping Karakoram mountain range glaciers from melting like most of the world’s other glaciers, the study found.
“While most glaciers are retreating as a result of global warming, the glaciers of the Karakoram range in South Asia are stable or even growing,” Hayley Fowler, the study’s co-author and professor at Newcastle University, said in a statement.
Karakoram is one of the most heavily-glaciated areas of the world outside the poles, and boasts the world’s second- and third-largest non-polar glaciers. It’s also home to the world’s second-largest peak, K2 — Vertical Limit, anyone?
The study found that ‘anomalous cooling’ over Karakoram could have an impact on river flows, which are heavily dependent on ice melt. The call it the “Karakoram vortex.”
“Most climate models suggest warming over the whole region in summer as well as in winter,” Fowler said. “However, our study has shown that large-scale circulation is controlling regional variability in atmospheric temperatures, with recent cooling of summer temperatures.”
“This suggests that climate models do not reproduce this feature well,” Fowler said.