The world’s most extreme winter is just around the corner and if you’re planning a trip to the Himalayan region, be sure to prepare to take it very, very seriously.
As of February 2018, temperatures in the regions of Ladakh, Sikkim and Uttarakhand are forecast to drop by around five degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) in the coming months.
And that’s without even mentioning the effects of the monsoon rains, which are expected to dump up to 20-25 inches (49-73 centimeters) of snow in a few days.
While the Himalaya is the most northerly of the four continents, it’s not the only place where winter has arrived.
According to NASA, there are four main regions where winter is expected to hit the continent in the next few years.
According to NASA’s Climate Prediction Center, the Indian Himalayans will see an average winter temperature of 10 degrees Celsius (-29 Fahrenheit) over the next two months.
Meanwhile, the Himalas of Nepal and Bhutan are expected be able to handle an average of 11 degrees Celsius, or 29.6 Fahrenheit.
The difference between these two extremes, according to NASA scientists, is the presence of water ice on the Himalays surface.
Water ice is ice that forms when cold air warms up and freezes on top of glaciers.
As it cools down, it freezes and can form snowfall.
Water ice can be found along the Tibetan Plateau, the South Pole, the Bering Strait, and the Antarctic Peninsula, according NASA.
While there is water ice, it is also snow, which can be seen on the Tibetan plateau, as well as snowfall along the Himales border with Nepal.
If the snow falls over an area where it is not snowing, the water ice could be formed.
“The water ice formed on the glaciers is typically very thin, so it’s very difficult to see,” said Tom Vassallo, a NASA climate scientist.
“But there are also large glaciers that are melting, which will eventually become ice in a snow field.”NASA scientists said the same thing happened on the Borneo islands.
The ice formed in the ice fields, but was too thin to see, Vassallo said.
So if the snow doesn’t fall over a region where it’s too cold, what’s to stop water ice from forming there as well?
According to the Weather Underground, the weather system can change dramatically in a matter of hours.
NASA’s satellite images of the Indian Ocean have also shown that ice can melt and form snow in the wintertime, with the vast majority of snow falling in the South Pacific and Central Pacific.
Snow on the icefields is also known to form when water freezes on ice, which means the ice is vulnerable to thawing and releasing water into the atmosphere.
In the winter, the ice can form and freeze quickly, but it is very fragile and can break up if released into the air.
Vassallo said this is the reason why water ice should be kept out of the Himalatchee.
The Himalayan ice fields are very sensitive to temperature changes and can melt to a thickness of about 0.7-1.3 meters (3-6 feet), so it is best not to use them as a vehicle for storing snow.
“If you do use it for storage, it can melt very fast,” Vassalo said.
“Also, it will absorb moisture from the atmosphere, which increases the chance of freezing.
In winter, it has the potential to melt into ice in snowfields.”
If you are planning a winter trip to a region with snow, consider this.
If you plan to camp in a campground, don’t expect the snow to last long.
Vassalla said you should expect to camp for several days in the snow field, and if it’s just a few minutes away from the road, then it will likely stay warm enough to camp.
“I would advise that people avoid any winter camps and campsites in areas where it has been freezing outside for several weeks,” Vasallo said.
“If there is a snowfield nearby, it could be a good idea to leave that area and camp on the ground.”