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Himalayan Glaciers Are Melting Faster Than Ever Before, Scientists Warn

© AP Photo / Channi AnandThis Feb. 1, 2005 file photo shows an aerial view of the Siachen Glacier
This Feb. 1, 2005 file photo shows an aerial view of the Siachen Glacier - Sputnik India, 1920, 21.06.2023
The Himalayan region provides fresh water to 16 countries with 12 rivers originating from the mountain and it is estimated that it supports the lives of two billion people.
International scientists have said that glaciers at the world’s highest peaks are melting at an unprecedented rate and "we may lose up to 80 percent of their volume if Earth continues to get hotter".
On Tuesday, scientists said that if glaciers melt at the predicted rate, it will cause dangerous flooding and water shortages for the nearly 2 billion people who depend on the rivers that originate in the mountainous region.
"Changes to the glaciers, snow, and permafrost of the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region driven by global heating are “unprecedented and largely irreversible”, a report by the Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (Icimod) has said.
The Himalayan glaciers have, in fact, disappeared 65 percent faster since 2010 than in the preceeding decade, it states.

“The glaciers of the HKH are a major component of the Earth system. With two billion people in Asia reliant on the water that glaciers and snow here hold, the consequences of losing this cryosphere are too vast to contemplate,” said Izabella Koziell, Icimod’s deputy director general.

"Things are happening quickly,” said Miriam Jackson, a cryosphere researcher at Icimod and one of the report's authors.
Dr Sunita Chaudhary, an ecosystems researcher and a co-author of the report, said that by 2100, a quarter of the plants, animals, and other life forms found only in the region could be “wiped out".
A glacier sits on a mountaintop on the way to remote Kharnak village in the cold desert region of Ladakh, India, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022. - Sputnik India, 1920, 23.03.2023
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