The Himalayas from space, Bhutan, 2000.
© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society
Neighbouring Mount Everest, Earth's highest mountain, Bhutan has peaks of between 5,000 and 7,000 metres (16,000-23,000 ft) high. They are permanently capped with snow, which extends down valleys in long glacier tongues. Because of weather patterns on each side of the range and differences in topography, the glaciers on each side are distinctly different from one another and may react very differently to climate change. Understanding how glaciers evolve is important because they are the proverbial "canary in the coal mine". Along with polar ice, they are the things most sensitive to global warming. As well as indicating climate change, melting glaciers can cause catastrophic floods, making it essential to monitor them regularly.