NE glaciers may van­ish by 2100 if warm­ing unchecked, finds study


The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES NATION - Amit.Bhat­tacharya @times­ temp rise (more likely sce­nario) Hindu Kush-Hi­malayas

New Delhi: More than a third of the glaciers in the Hindu Kush Hi­malayan (HKH) moun­tain range, the “wa­ter tower” of Asia, will van­ish by the end of this cen­tury even if global warm­ing is con­tained at1.50Cel­sius in the best case sce­nario, warns a re­port com­piled by 210 ex­perts.

The find­ings are par­tic­u­larly dire for In­dia’s north-east­ern re­gion. The study says the east­ern Hi­malayas could face a near-to­tal loss of glaciers, around 95%, if global warm­ing goes unchecked. Even in the best sce­nario (of 1.50 C warm­ing), the re­gion is likely to lose 64% of its glaciers by year 2100, it says.

The glaciers in the HKH re­gion, span­ning eight coun­tries from Afghanistan to Myan­mar, have the big­gest store of ice out­side the poles. The re­gion, some­times re­ferred to as the “third pole”, sup­plies wa­ter to nearly 2 bil­lion peo­ple.

“This is the cli­mate cri­sis you haven’t heard of,” said Philip­pus Wester of the In­ter­na­tional Cen­tre for In­te­grated Moun­tain Devel­op­ment, who led the study that says even if car­bon emis­sions are dra­mat­i­cally cut un­der the most am­bi­tious goals of the Paris cli­mate ac­cord, 36% of the glaciers in the re­gion will have gone by 2100.

For In­dia, one of the most alarm­ing find­ing is on the glaciers in east Hi­malayas that feed north­east In­dia. “Based on a com­pi­la­tion of area change stud­ies, east­ern Hi­malaya glaciers have tended to shrink faster than glaciers in cen­tral or western Hi­malaya,” it says. On the other hand, in a sur­pris­ing find­ing, the study in­di­cates that the western Hi­malayas — in­clud­ing J&K, Hi­machal Pradesh and Ut­tarak­hand — may see an increase in glacier mass be­cause the re­gion, along with the Karako­ram, has a higher prob­a­bil­ity of snow­fall.

“This find­ing runs counter to many ex­pec­ta­tions in the sci­en­tific com­mu­nity, and more re­search is needed to un­der­stand the rea­sons for this and its po­ten­tial fu­ture im­pli­ca­tions,” the study cau­tioned.

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