Crime: Himalaya glaciers are melting twice as fast as last century - - PressFrom - US
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CrimeHimalaya glaciers are melting twice as fast as last century

21:36  20 june  2019
21:36  20 june  2019 Source:   cnn.com

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Himalaya glaciers are melting twice as fast as last century© PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/AFP/Getty Images This picture taken on November 22, 2018 shows a general view of the Imja glacial lake controlled exit channel in the Everest region of the Solukhumbu district, some 140km northeast of Kathmandu. - Formed in the shadow of Mount Everest, the turquoise depths of Nepal's Imja glacial lake would be a breathtaking miracle of nature to behold -- were they not a portent of catastrophic floods. (Photo by Prakash MATHEMA / AFP) / TO GO WITH Climate-energy-UN-COP24-Nepal, FOCUS by Paavan MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)

Climate change is eating away Himalayan glaciers at a dramatic rate, a new study has revealed.

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Spanning 2,000 kilometers and harboring some 600 billion tons of ice, Himalayan glaciers supply around 800 million people with water for irrigation, hydropower and drinking.

But they have been losing almost half a meter of ice each year since the start of this century -- double the amount of melting that occurred between 1975 and 2000 -- according to the Columbia University researchers behind the study.

Recently, the glaciers have lost around 8 billion tons of water a year -- the equivalent of 3.2 million Olympic-size swimming pools, say the researchers. And that could potentially threaten water supplies for hundreds of millions of people across parts of Asia.

Himalaya glaciers are melting twice as fast as last century© PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/AFP/Getty Images TO GO WITH UN-climate-warming-Himalayas, FEATURE by Claire Cozens This photograph taken on December 4, 2009 shows a glacier in the Everest region some 140 km (87 miles) northeast of Kathmandu. The Himalayan glaciers provide water for more than a billion people in Asia, but experts say they are melting at an alarming rate, threatening to bring drought to large swathes of the continent within decades. AFP PHOTO/Prakash MATHEMA (Photo credit should read PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)

As the ice melts it forms large glacial lakes, which are already impacting local communities, according to lead author Joshua Maurer.

Glaciers, goodbye? Himalayan ice melt has doubled in recent years, old spy images confirm

Glaciers, goodbye? Himalayan ice melt has doubled in recent years, old spy images confirm Picture 3 million swimming pools full of water. That's how much ice melts from glaciers in the Himalayas each year, and climate change is the primary cause. Even more concerning is that the ice melt has doubled in recent years: Himalayan glaciers have been losing the equivalent of more than a foot and half of ice each year since 2000 – which is double the amount of melting that took place from 1975 to 2000. “This is the clearest picture yet of how fast Himalayan glaciers are melting over this time interval and why,” said study lead author Joshua Maurer, a Ph.D.

"[They] can collapse and result in these huge outburst floods. And these are devastating for downstream communities," he said.

Short-term, experts predict more of this flooding, but less ice in the glaciers could ultimately lead to drought.

The researchers reviewed 40 years of satellite observations across India, China, Nepal and Bhutan and found that Himalayan glaciers have been retreating rapidly since 2000 due to an average 1 degree Celsius temperature rise in the region.

"[This is] one of the clearest pictures that we've seen yet of how fast [Himalayan] glaciers are losing ice over [this] interval," Maurer told CNN.

"Atmospheric warming appears to really be the dominant driver of ice loss," he said, adding that Himalayan glaciers may have lost as much as a quarter of their enormous mass over the past four decades.

Read more: What is climate change? Your questions answered

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Jeffrey Kargel, of The Planetary Science Institute, in Arizona, who didn't work on the study, said the paper was "an excellent contribution to our rapidly and fabulously growing knowledge of Himalayan glaciation."

This study, published in the journal Science Advances, is the latest to highlight how rising temperatures present a growing threat to people living in glacial regions.

A report published in April warned that most glaciers in Central Europe, Western Canada and the United States could vanish by second half of this century under current ice loss rates.

Earlier this year a study warned that a third of the ice in the Hindu Kush Himalaya region, home to the world's highest peaks, Mount Everest and K2, could melt by the end of this century.

"In the short-term, such rapid melt rates will mean summer floods become more frequent as river discharge is increased, but the long-term prospect is one of drought as the glacier reservoir becomes depleted," Duncan Quincey, a professor at the University of Leeds who specializes in glaciology and did not carry out the research, told CNN.

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Chris Rapley, professor of climate science at University College London, who is not connected to this study, told CNN that ice loss is "already undermining the viability of small communities in the Himalayas as they suffer ever more serious water shortages."

According to Rapley, water shortages in the Himalayas could trigger mass migration -- a "daunting" prospect.

"Better for all of us to accelerate to net zero as a matter of the highest priority," he said.

Net zero means the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere is no more than the amount taken out.

Read: What would life be like in a zero-carbon country?

Joerg Schaefer, co-author of the study and research professor at Columbia's Earth Observatory, said the only way to slow down the melting was by "cooling the planet."

He said that target set by the 2015 Paris Agreement to keep global temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, would see continued melting that presented a "pretty devastating scenario for Himalayan glaciers."

"This study gives you a pretty clear picture of what will happen there in the next 50 years. If [melting] goes on like that, it will be devastating," he said.

Read More

Old spy images reveal Himalayan glaciers are melting fast.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Cold War era spy satellite images are showing scientists that glaciers on the Himalayas are now melting about twice as fast as they used to. The Asian mountain range, which includes Mount Everest, has been losing ice at a rate of about 1% a year since 2000, according to a study Wednesday in the journal Science Advances . "The amount of ice (lost) is scary but what is much more scary is the doubling of the melt rate," said Josh Maurer, a glacier researcher at Columbia University's Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory and lead author of the study.

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