English | Dzongkha Monday, July 22, 2019

One-third of Himalayan glaciers will melt by 2100:ICIMOD

Sherub Dorji ,Thimphu
Feb 13, 2019

In what is an alarming report, over 30 per cent of glaciers in the Hindu Kush Himalaya region could melt by the end of this century. A comprehensive study of the Hindu Kush Himalaya region, also known as the world’s “third pole”, by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), revealed recently.

The Hindu Kush Himalayan is one of the greatest mountain systems in the world, covering across eight countries, including Bhutan.

They contain 40 per cent of the world’s fresh water, the tallest mountains on Earth, home to 55,000 glaciers, and the source of seven of Asia’s greatest rivers. But the most precious resource is disappearing one drop at a time.

The region’s glaciers is a critical water source to some 240 million mountain dwellers and the 1.65 billion others living in the river valleys below.

Even the most ambitious Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees by the end of this century wouldn’t be enough as the Hindu Kush Himalayan region would be 0.7 degrees warmer than the global average.

“If we continue with what we have been doing, that will end up with two-thirds of the glaciers, around 60 per cent of the glaciers melting down and disappearing,” Dr Arun Bhakta Shrestha, the Editor of The HKH Assessment, said.

The Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment is the first and most authoritative study of its kind to provide an assessment of one of the world’s most significant, yet often overlooked mountain regions.

“We would like to make it not only one-time assessment. We also call it assessment monitoring. We will keep track of the changes, hopefully in five years time we will come up with another assessment which will also give us what has been the changes,” Dr Arun Bhakta Shrestha said.

The study also found that there has been a significant increase in the number of wet days and extreme rain events recorded over the western Himalaya.

In the eastern Himalaya, the total amount of rain did not change much and the number of rainy days decreased, which meant a higher amount of rainfall in a shorter period of time.

What is more alarming for Bhutan is that the central Himalayan range, where Bhutan lie, will see a rise in temperature higher than the Hindu Kush Himalaya region average.

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