Changing Glaciology of Himalayas is Pushing India Towards Water Crisis amid Climate Change
Melting glaciers, erratic and unpredictable weather conditions, changing rainfall patterns and increasing temperatures are affecting the people and wildlife of the region.
The impacts of climate change in the Himalayas are frighteningly real. The Himalayas is one of the world’s most sensitive hotspots to global climate change, with impacts manifesting at a particularly rapid rate. Changing glaciology of Himalayas amid climate change is pushing India towards water crisis, a study said.
There are 32,392 glaciers in the Himalayas; together, they are part of intricate geographic and climate systems. These glaciers feed some of the region’s most important river systems, directly and indirectly supplying billions of people with water, energy, and incomes.
Published in the journal Science, the study revealed that climate change in the Himalayas poses a serious threat to the source of these great rivers with dire and far-reaching impacts on biodiversity, food, water and energy security.
An estimated 2 billion people rely on waters from Himalayan glaciers for drinking, energy, agriculture and more. The Himalayan mountain range is also a biodiversity hotspot, home to a vast range of flora and fauna, including species such as snow leopards, Bengal tigers and one-horned rhinos.
Clearly, the Himalayan glaciers are an essential part of life for the eight surrounding countries. As various studies have shown that glaciers in the Himalayas are melting at an alarming rate, the consequences of this melt could be disastrous.
The Himalayas in India and beyond have come under close attention in recent years. One study found that if carbon emissions are not cut drastically, around two-thirds of glaciers in the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region could disappear.
Glaciers in the Himalayas lost billions of tons of ice between 2000 and 2016, double the amount lost between 1975 and 2000. The study also suggested that vulnerable nations must move rapidly to build resilience to these impacts and adapt to the changing climate.