One of the most worrying consequences of climate change is the decreasing amounts of snow. At the end of winters, snow melts and thus brings water to billions people during the drier seasons.
Thus the snow of the Himalayas brings water to nearly 1.5 billion people, a quarter of Mankind. As climate change increases dramatically in Asia, there is less and less snow, and thus water.
Today’s article will bring you data on this fact and how the phenomenon is increasing. I wanted to investigate this after Al Gore’s speech in Poznan.
Here is a short extract of this speech:
We cannot negotiate with the consequences of unrestrained dumping of 70 million tons of global warming pollution into the thin shelf atmosphere surrounding our planet every 24 hours.
Scientists have for several years now warned us that we are moving dangerously close to several so-called tipping points that could within less than 10 years make it impossible to avoid irretrievable damage to the planet’s habitability for human civilization unless we act quickly.
As many of you here know full well, in virtually all of the mountain ranges of this planet, the glaciers are now melting rapidly in the Alps in the Andes in the Rockies and most ominously in the Himalayas which contain number 100 times as much ice and snow of all of the mountains here in Europe.
The leading Chinese scientist who studies ice, professor Yao Tandong calls the Tibetan plateau the water tower of Asia.
As you know it feeds the great rivers of Asia, the Indus, the Ganges, the Brahmaputra, the Salween and the Irawati, the Mekong, the Yangtze and the Yellow. 1.4 billion people depend for more than half of their drinking water on the rivers and spring systems that flow from the ice of the Tibetan plateau which is now melting at an alarming rate.
Here is a map of this region, which exemplifies well this :
Source: International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, ICIMOD (direct link)
Furthermore, a current exposition in several cities brings us more data. To Reuters UK :
The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), which organised the “Himalaya – Changing Landscapes” exhibit, aim to highlight the impact of climate change on the world’s highest mountain range.
“Warming in the Himalayan region has been much greater than the global average and the rising temperatures are leading to rapid melting of the glaciers,” said the Kathmandu-based ICIMOD, which studies the people and environment in the Hindu Kush-Himalaya regions.
(…) Experts say global temperature increased by an average of 0.74 degrees Celsius (33.3 Fahrenheit) over the past 100 years.
ICIMOD says the impact of climate change was especially evident in the region with the largest concentration of snow and ice outside the two poles.
The photographs, on display since late last week, show a striking visual impression of how climate change and glacial melting were affecting the region.
A 50-year-old photograph of the Imja glacier in the Everest region shows an impressive layer of ice and several ponds. But by 2008, those ponds grew and merged, forming the Imja lake which risks bursting its natural dam.
ICIMOD Director General Andreas Schild said the changes were alarming and need immediate action. “Scientific evidence shows that the effects of globalisation and climate change are being felt in even the most remote Himalayan environments,” he said.
“Signs are visible, but there is very little in-depth knowledge and data available from the Himalayan region.”
Another picture of Mount Ama Dablam showed the recession of more than a hundred metres of ice. Slopes once covered with ice are now barren rock.
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