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Retreating Himalayan Glaciers May Vanish by Year 2035

November 14, 2008
A Pakistani man wa...PASSU GLACIER IN THE UPPER HUNZU REGION OF NORTH-WEST HIMALAYAS

New data collected by scientists at the Jawaharlal Nehru University has shown that glaciers in the Himalayas are retreating faster than anywhere else in the world. Together with those on the neighbouring Tibetan mountain plateau, the Himalayan glaciers make up the largest body of ice outside the Polar regions. That is why, they are called the “Water Towers of Asia.” If the present rate continues, a large number of them may disappear by 2035 because of climate change, warn Indian and foreign environmentalists and geologists.

  • The Himalayan glaciers occupy about 17 per cent of the total mountainous range, while an additional 30 to 40 per cent area has seasonal snow cover.

  • They are broadly divided into three-river basins of the Indus, Ganga and Barahmaputra. The Indus basin has the largest number of glaciers (3,538), followed by the Ganga basin (1,020) and the Barahmaputra (662).
  • Together they feed seven of Asia’s great rivers: the Ganga, Indus, Barahmaputra, Salween, Mekong, Yangtze and Huang Ho.
  • The Glacial melt has started affecting freshwater flows with dramatic adverse effects on the biodiversity, and people and livelihoods, with a possible long-term implication on regional food security.
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