Spy Satellite Images Uncover Staggering Mount Everest Ice Loss

livescience.com | 1/15/2020 | Mindy Weisberger
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SAN FRANCISCO — The glaciers surrounding Mount Everest have lost far more ice than once thought, declassified spy satellite photos have revealed.

Using these decades-old images — along with recently-collected data — researchers generated digital surface-elevation models of the glaciers, creating a highly detailed record of melt. From 1962 to 2018, the glaciers along Mount Everest's flanks had shrunk significantly from the top down, according to research presented on Dec. 13, 2019, here at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

1950s - US - Intelligence - Officials - Plan

During the late 1950s, U.S. intelligence officials devised a plan to take to the skies to peek behind the Iron Curtain and spy on the Soviet Union. A secret satellite surveillance mission, code-named Corona, launched in 1960 and ended in 1972, according to the CIA website. This joint effort, helmed by the CIA, the U.S. Air Force and private industry experts, collected photographs of locations across Eastern Europe and Asia.

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Time - Images - Mission - Photos - Views

By the time these images were declassified, in 1995, the mission had amassed more than 800,000 photos. These included numerous views of the Himalayas, offering scientists an unprecedented glimpse of how the region's glaciers had changed over time, said Tobias Bolch, a lecturer for remote sensing with the School of Geography and Sustainable Development at the University of St. Andrews in the United Kingdom.

Bolch and his colleagues combined analysis of these satellite...
(Excerpt) Read more at: livescience.com
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