NE glaciers may vanish by 2100 if warming unchecked, finds study
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.
Full report on www.toi.in