Home Glaciers Climate change is rapidly melting glaciers, altering water supplies to major rivers, study finds

Climate change is rapidly melting glaciers, altering water supplies to major rivers, study finds

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The study was led by Dr Mohd. Farooq Azam, Assistant Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Indore (Representative image). | Photo credit: iStock images

Highlights

  • Climate change is rapidly melting Himalayan glaciers, new study
  • The study, which was led by an assistant professor at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Indore, suggested a tiered approach for policymakers

New Delhi: A recent study warned that climate change is causing the rapid melting of snow and glaciers in the Himalayan range. The “Himalayan-Karakoram Glacihydrology” study, published in the journal SCIENCE, stated that melting glaciers have altered the water supply of rivers such as the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra in the Himalaya-Karakoram (HK) ranges.

The HK mountain ranges in Southeast Asia, often referred to as Asia’s water tower or the third pole, are considered to be one of the most glacial mountain ranges on the planet. It should be noted that nearly 1 billion people depend in part on these glaciers for water.

Over 250 academic research papers studied for the project

The study was led by Dr Mohd. Farooq Azam, assistant professor at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Indore. To conduct the study, the professor and his team collected the results of more than 250 academic research papers focusing on global warming, changing precipitation and shrinking glaciers.

Azam said, “The Himalayan river basins cover an area of ​​2.75 million km2 and have the largest irrigated area of ​​577,000 km2 and the largest installed hydropower capacity in the world of 26,432 MW. Melting glaciers meet the water needs of more than a billion people in the region that will be affected when much of the mass of glacial ice melts throughout this century and gradually stops providing the amount of water required. “

The impact of climate change more crucial for the Indus basin

He added that meltwater from glaciers and the impacts of climate change on glaciers have proven to be more crucial for the Indus basin than for the Ganges and Brahmaputra basins, which depend on monsoon rains and are affected by changes in precipitation.

According to the study, policy makers should analyze the current scenario and assess future changes in rivers to ensure sustainable management of water resources for agriculture, hydropower, drinking water, sanitation and situations dangerous.

The study suggested a multi-level approach to dealing with the crisis. He said: “Level 1 includes an extensive observational network that places fully automatic weather stations on selected glaciers. They also suggest developing comparison projects to examine glacier area and volumes, glacier dynamics, permafrost thaw, and snow and ice sublimation. -2 recommendations implement knowledge of these studies into detailed models of glacial hydrology in order to reduce the uncertainty of projections of future change. “