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Ringing the Bell of Disaster: constantly melting of glaciers in the Himalayas

  Himalayan glaciers have lost billion tonnes of snow from the year 2000 to 2016. The quantity of melting ice is twice as much as the melted snow from 1975 to 2000.

–By Karamveer Kamal(Editor-In-Chief)

The increasing warm temperatures have melted about one fourth of the Himalayan glaciers in the last 40 years. After the Antarctic and Arctic, the world’s third largest ice reserves are found in the Himalayan Mountains. The first complete study of this remote area shows that the Himalayan glacier has lost billion tonnes of its snow from 2000 to 2016. The quantity of melting ice is twice the amount of melted snow from 1975 to 2000.

The scientists  of the ‘Lamont-Doharti Earth Observatory’ of Columbia University and ‘Joshua Marer’, the chief author of this study, urged that this is the first comprehensive study of Himalayan glaciers in the period of forty years. The new study has been published in ‘Science Advance’ magazine. ‘

The data shows that the temperature of this region has increased by one degree Celsius constantly. The co-author of this study, Jorge Schaffer, says that the relentless growth of one degree Celsius is a major reason of melting ice in the Himalayan Glacier..

Ice damage in the Himalayan glaciers is also associated with the rise of temperature which  is revealed by the pictures taken by satellites. American H-9 Hexagon military satellites took pictures of this area between 1973 and 1980. After the pictures taken by these satellites , scientists changed these pictures into 3D models. These models are compared with recent pictures by state-of-the-art satellites. This helped scientists an opportunity to study as many as 650 glaciers in the last 40 years.

Significantly, compared to Greenland, there is very little study of the Himalayan glaciers as it is one of the most dangerous areas in the world. According to Marer, it is very difficult to research here as per some geographical and political reason. The Himalayan ranges are about 1500 miles long.

 The snow of this region is the source of the Ganga, Brahmaputra, Indus and other vast rivers. In this study, adjacent ranges like Pamir and Hindukush have not been included, but new studies show that even in these areas ,ice are also melting like this.

The melting of the ice means that water flows will increase as compared to static glaciers, which will result in floods. Apart from this, many new lakes will be created and those lakes can also give birth to accidental floods. More than 60 people were killed in a similar flood that took place in May 2012 in villages surrounding Pokhara in Nepal.

Duncan Quincy, the British glacier scientist working in the Himalayas, said that the rapid melting of glaciers is an immense matter of worry  because majority of people depend on the general water flow of the glaciers for hydroelectricity and irrigation. Quincy is doing a research project named ‘Everdril’ in ‘Khumbu Glacier’ of Nepal. Under the project, the glacier drills up to a great depth and the temperature of the ice is monitored. The research data shows that the glacier is getting warmer than inside. Quincy said that it is possible that a large amount of ice has reached at the point of melting.

Philippe Wester, a scientist from the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development, located in Kathmandu, says that the global warming  will turn mountains of ice into mountains of rocks within a century. 

A five-year study on the glaciers of the Himalayas states that if the annual reduction in emissions of mineral fuels is not corrected by 2100, the Himalayas will lose 66 percent of its snow. 350 researchers have contributed in this study. A Columbia University Scientist ,Schaffer said that Asia is facing a major disaster situation due to the fierce heat and decreasing flow of water from the Himalayas. 


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