Climate change has hastened glacial melting, home to some of the world’s tallest peaks, including Mount Everest, according to a latest study. It says the melting of Himalayan glaciers has doubled since the start of the 21st century due to rising temperatures, losing over a vertical foot and half of ice each year and potentially threatening water supply for hundreds.
The analysis, spanning 40 years of satellite observations across India, China, Nepal and Bhutan, indicates that climate change is eating the Himalayan glaciers
Among others, the phenomena associated with retreating glaciers threaten regional water security. Dark debris cover, as per a survey, absorbs solar radiation rather than deflecting it and therefore often increases a glacier’s rate of retreat. In a recent study on the state of more than 250 glaciers in the Suru River basin in northern India, scientists found an increase in debris cover of almost 62% from 1971 to 2017.
Even environmental experts have attributed the Nanda Devi glacial in Uttarkhand melt to global warming. Glacier retreat and permafrost thaw are projected to decrease the stability of mountain slopes and increase the number and area of glacier lakes, according to the latest assessment reports of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Based on the studies, it is almost an inevitable conclusion that glacier melt is set to accelerate in the Himalayas as a result of climate change in times ahead. It has severe consequences for the livelihood of those populations living downstream.
According to the researches, air temperatures will continue to increase and precipitation will become unpredictable. The consequences of glacier melt are enormous, and one can only make assumptions about the disastrous it will bring about to the region. One such tragedy has just unfolded in Uttarkhand.
There is a need to mitigate the impact of climate change and subsequent glacier melt on the lives of the people of the region including Jammu and Kashmir. There is no alternative and for the people to adapt to the climate change and its ramifications. The governments—centre and the local— must start planning now about the measures needed and not wait for the natural hazard to take place. There is also need to improving forest cover and other means to absorb the carbon dioxide emissions which leads to increase in the temperatures. The consequences of failures are grave and as such all measures should be taken to save lives.