This satellite image shows the Imja Glacier and an area of the Himalaya mountain range in northeastern Nepal, about 8 km south of Mount Everest.
The Himalayas are home to the world’s highest peak, Mt Everest (about 8850 m), and dozens of other smaller peaks over 7000 m high. These peaks are covered permanently with snow.
The range houses thousands of glaciers, including the Imja glacier in the upper-central part of this image. Studies show an increase in the rate of glacial retreat for Imja and many other glaciers in the region – and in the world.
Glaciers are the largest reservoirs of freshwater on our planet, and their melting or growing is one of the best indicators of climate change. Satellite radar data can help monitor changes in glacier mass and, subsequently, their contribution to rising sea levels.
Glacial runoff from the Himalayas has a direct effect on the nearby rivers such as the Indus and Ganges and is very important for lower-lying regions where there is a very large human population.
At the foot of the Imja glacier is the Imja lake, pictured in the upper-left. Melt-water makes this one of the fastest growing lakes in the Himalayas and a threat to downstream communities.