SCIENCE

Himalayan glaciers will melt within the next 100 years: new study worries the world

In the Himalayan mountain ranges, ice is melting at an unprecedented rate and, if nothing changes, more than 80% of the accumulated ice will be melted by the end of this century. This will be true if current climate policies are not drastically revised to prevent the exponential increase in temperatures and greenhouse gases.

This report was published on Tuesday 20 June 2023 by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), an intergovernmental scientific agency based in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The consequences of this massive melting, if it occurs, will be that the likelihood of flash floods and avalanches will increase and the availability of water for nearly 2 billion people will be compromised.

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Himalayan ice has its years numbered: study says less than 100
In the Himalayan mountain ranges, ice is melting at an unprecedented rate and, if nothing changes, more than 80% of the accumulated ice will be melted by the end of this century. This will be true if current climate policies are not drastically revised to avoid the exponential increase in temperatures and greenhouse gases.
Getty Images
Himalayan ice has its years numbered: study says less than 100
This report was published on Tuesday 20 June 2023 by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), an intergovernmental scientific agency based in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Getty Images
Himalayan ice has its years numbered: study says less than 100
If the temperature increases steadily by 1.5 to 2° compared to the pre-industrial climate, glaciers in the entire region will experience a loss of 30% to 50% of their volume by 2100, according to the report. If, on the other hand, warming is 3 degrees (and if the world does not do something now, it will), the Eastern Himalayas, of which Nepal and Bhutan are part, will lose up to 75% of its glaciers. With a warming of 4 degrees, the percentage rises to 80%.
Getty Images
Himalayan ice has its years numbered: study says less than 100
Another very recent study showed that on Mount Everest, the equivalent of two thousand years of ice has been lost in the last thirty years alone. In addition, ICIMOD analyses also claim that more than two hundred glacial lakes in this region are considered to be at risk and even the cause of future hazards, and that the region could experience a significant peak in flooding by the end of the century.
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Himalayan ice has its years numbered: study says less than 100
Philippus Wester, environmental scientist and ICIMOD contributor, lead author of the report, argues that: "We are losing glaciers and will lose them within 100 years. It is happening much faster than we thought'.
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Himalayan ice has its years numbered: study says less than 100
The Hindu Kush Himalayas branch out for 3500 km between Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan. These glaciers provide water to ten of the world's most important river systems, such as the Ganges, Indus, Yellow, Mekong and Irrawaddy. They also indirectly provide billions of people with food, energy, clean air and income. The ice and snow of the Hindu Kush Himalaya ranges are an important source of water for these rivers, which flow through sixteen Asian countries and provide water to 240 million people in the mountains and another 1.65 billion downstream.
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26/02/2024
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