September 9, 2010

Glaciers On Mount Ararat Are Shrinking

Glaciers atop snow-capped Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey have shrunk 30 percent in surface area over the last 3 decades, a researcher said Wednesday.

Geologist Mehmet Akif Sarikaya, an assistant professor at Istanbul's Fatih University, told AFP: "We used satellite images to analyze the response of glaciers at the summit of Mount Ararat to climate change."

"The glacier surface area decreased from 3.04 square miles in 1976 to 5.5 square 2.09 square miles in 2008, a loss of about 17 acres a year," said Sarikaya, who also lectures at the University of Omaha, Nebraska.

Temperature changes might eventually wipe out the ice fields, warned Sarikaya. "We sought the reasons for the melting and found that the temperature had increased by 0.05 degrees Fahrenheit per year" during the period studied, he said.

Increased precipitation and sunshine might have also contributed to the glacial melting, he added.

Previous research has found accelerating glacier erosion in the European Alps and South American Andes, stating global warming caused by man attributed to the loss.

Mount Ararat is believed to be the final resting place of Noah's Ark, which settled on the mountain top after God flooded the Earth because of corruption that plagued the world. Once the waters receded, the Ark came to rest on a mountain that believers contend is Mount Ararat, the country's highest peak at 16,853 feet.

Many expeditions have scoured the mountain in search of the lost Ark, without any convincing results so far. Sarikaya declined to comment on whether the melting of the glaciers would provide opportunities in the quest for the biblical ship's remains.

Image Courtesy Andrew Behesnilian - Wikipedia