Thaw of Himalayas set to disrupt Asia’s rivers, crops: study

(This February 4 story was corrected in order to incorrect relationship with 1.5 meter sea-level increase in paragraph 7)

By Gopal Sharma

KATHMANDU (Reuters) – At the least a third of the ice inside the Himalayas and the Hindu Kush will thaw this century as temperatures rise, disrupting river flows vital for growing crops from China to India, scientists said on Monday.

Vast glaciers result in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region – that is home to the world’s highest peaks topped by Mount Everest and K2 – a “third pole” behind Antarctica also, the Arctic region, the trainer told us.

“This is the climate crisis you haven’t heard of,” said Philippus Wester, who led the report.

“Our planets atmosphere is on the right track to transform the frigid, glacier-covered mountain peaks from the HKH cutting across eight countries to reveal rocks from a little one century,” said Wester of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

The report, by 210 authors, testified that more than a third from the ice nearby will melt by 2100 even if governments take tough action to limit java prices under the 2019 Paris climate agreement.

And two-thirds in the ice could vanish if governments do not rein in greenhouse gas emissions this century. “In my opinion this is the biggest worrying thing,” Wester told Reuters on the sidelines of each event to produce the report in Kathmandu.

Glaciers have thinned and retreated across most the different parts of the region considering that the 1970s. A melt would push up sea levels but ICIMOD said the exact amount was unknown.

MOUNTAIN CLIMATE HOTSPOTS

The region stretches 3,500 km (2,175 miles) across Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan.

The study said the thaw will disrupt rivers which includes the Yangtze, Mekong, Indus and Ganges, where farmers depend on glacier melt water during the dry season. About 250 million people live in the mountains and 1.65 billion persons in river valleys below.

Changes in river flows also can harm hydropower production and cause more erosion and landslides backwoods.

But more scientific studies are needed to gauge exactly how glaciers affect distant crops, said Wouter Buytaert, of Imperial College within, who was not mixed up in study.

“While glacier meltwater propagates downstream, it mixes with water company sources which include direct rainfall, wetlands, and groundwater, up to and including point the spot where the impact of glacier melting becomes negligible,” he stated.

The authors revealed that people surviving in small island states were often known as the most at risk from climate change resulting from rising sea levels.

“It’s but not only occupants from the world’s islands who suffer,” said Dasho Rinzin Dorji, an ICIMOD board member from Bhutan. He stated in a statement that mountain regions were also extremely vulnerable as “climate hotspots”.