Climate Change

Himalayan glaciers are melting double fast since 2000

The third pole has been losing 8 bn tonne ice every year during 2000-2016. Blame global warming

Published: Thursday 20 June 2019

Himalayan glaciers, often called the third pole are losing their ice fast. In fact, double as fast since the turn of the century than the 25 years prior to that, according to a new study.

Researchers from Columbia University claimed that the glaciers have lost more than a quarter of their ice in the last four decades. They sifted through declassified US spy satellite images from the mid-1970s and took help of modern satellite data and looked at 650 glaciers and four-decade record of ice along the 2,000 kilometers mountain chain.

The study, published in Science Advances journal claims, the Himalayas lose an average of 4 billion tonne ice from 1975-2000. After 2000, however, the glaciers started melting twice as fast, losing about 8 billionn tonnes, every year up to 2016. That much ice can fill 3.2 million Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Lower-level glaciers have been shrinking 5 metres height annually since 2000.

Researchers blamed global warming caused by human activities mainly for the drastic melting. The glaciers are shrinking at similar rates all along the mountain chain, indicating a common cause. Temperatures in the region have risen by an average 1 degree Celsius between 1975-2000 and 2000-2016.

Melting glaciers will affect great rivers that flow through China, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. This, in turn, will have a serious impact for billions depending on these rivers in recent future.

To stop this temperature rise and to cool the planet, slowing down greenhouse gas emissions won’t be enough. Current conditions will have to reversed, which will be the greatest challenge for the human race in the coming years.

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