Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Himalayan glaciers melting at rapid rate because of climate change

Himalayan glaciers that feed seven of Asia's great rivers: the Ganga, Indus, Barahmaputra, Salween, Mekong, Yangtze and Huang Ho are melting at alarming rate because of climate change. If this trend continues large number of these glaciers will disappear by 2035.

Himalayas are second largest concentration of glaciers in the world, just behind polar caps. Glaciers around the world have some 70 & of world's freshwater frozen in them, which is the fact that can't be ignored so easily. And Himalayan glaciers are retreating faster than anywhere in the world. Given the vast number of population that depend on these rivers it is easy to see negative impact this melting will have not only in water supply in many Asian countries, but also on biodiversity, since these are extremely sensitive ecosystems.

One of the glaciers melting at the fastest rate is
gigantic Gangotri glacier that supplies 70 per cent of the Ganga flow during the dry season. Recent study carried out by the India's Department of Science and Technology has found that the Gangotri glacier is shrinking at a rate of 17 m per year because of increased impact of global warming and climate change. Situation isn't much better with many other glaciers, for instance neighboring glacier Pindari is also melting very fast at speed of about 9.5 m per year.

Gangotri glacier is shrinking at a rate of 17 m per year

And as the global warming continues strengthening its impact freshwater supply problem will also strengthen in many countries of the South Asia, which has potential to become widespread water shortage.
Ganga basin alone has population equal to whole Europe. Water shortage will not be the sole problem, to expect are also droughts, flash floods, and landslides. Disaster in making...

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